We've been heard: Safe Rates is law

AFTER decades of campaigning, the TWU has finally declared victory for the Safe Rates campaign, when the Road Safety Remuneration bill became law on March 20.

It has taken a convoy of hundreds to Canberra and a protest on James Ruse Dr, but our voices have been heard and we have a piece of legislation to prove it.

The passing of this bill is a significant milestone in the history of the TWU, it is the result of our long-term campaign and the message that we have been pushing vigorously over the last 10 years that there is a connection between rates of pay and road safety for truck drivers across Australia.

The safety crisis in the road transport industry has been well documented in the findings of numerous judicial and coronial determinations, academic studies, and government-commis

sioned inquiries.

In passing this bill, the Parliament has declared its support for, and acknowledgment of, that very same message - that there is a connection between rates of pay and the dangers that face truck drivers.

In passing this historic piece of legislation, the Parliament has lent its support to thousands of truck drivers caught up in the centre of this road safety crisis that claims an average of 330 lives per year across Australia.

Every day one in three trucks on our roads are carrying goods for major retailers like Coles. These drivers have their rates of pay dictated to them by the retail giants who determine everything from deadlines to rates of remuneration. They impose enormous pressure on the drivers, the results of which are only too obvious.

The Road Safety Remuneration Act 2012 will go a long way towards creating the kinds of better, safer working conditions the TWU has long campaigned for.

To all of you who fought so hard for this Act, I extend my warmest congratulations and thanks.

Today you should be standing tall and proud for putting yourselves at the forefront of this campaign.

With Safe Rates now law the responsibility to keep our truck drivers and roads safe falls squarely on the big players in the transport industry and their clients: the ball is in their court to deliver.

Big Rigs

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