Senate inquiry chair visits truck stop to hear drivers’ concerns
“COULD you imagine if we lost this amount of workers in a shopping centre, or in a public hospital with nurses killed or in a mine - wouldn’t the country be jumping? Imagine if we had some strange disease that killed 150 people? There would be millions of dollars spent, politicians falling all over themselves to try and get to the bottom of it. Why are they in retreat when we want to talk about a safe, responsible transport industry in Australia?”
It’s not often that a politician’s words resonate with members of the transport community, but that’s exactly what happened when Western Australian Senator Glenn Sterle met with truck drivers at the BP Archerfield in Brisbane recently.
Dressed in shorts and thongs, the chair of the Senate committee conducting the inquiry on the importance of a viable, safe, sustainable and efficient road transport industry looked and sounded just like one of the boys and listened to truckies’ concerns about road deaths, logbook issues, parking issues and sham contracting.
Driver Steven Corcoran, who has published an inquiry submission about the social and economic impact of road-related injury, trauma and dead, and who is running a Transport Inquiry podcast, spoke passionately about the impact of losing fellow drivers in crashes, while Robert Bell spoke about the unpracticality of the current laws.
Mr Sterle said one public inquiry meeting had already been held in Albury late last year and in March he would start touring the capital cities and regional centres to speak direct with operators.
“I want to hear from the men and women in the transport industry with the steering wheel in their hands and of course a couple of owners, employers, a vast array of transport operators on the good, the bad and the ugly,” he told Big Rigs.
“It’s now time to shine some very bright lights into some very dark corners of the industry.”
Mr Sterle said that while submissions had officially closed, he was encouraging the people to continue to come forward.
“The trucking industry is going to have a voice and it’s going to be a very loud voice,” he said.