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Trucking industry demands answers on important issues

By: Thanh Loan Nguyen
18 August, 2010

Feature of the week: The Australian Trucking Association has put more pressure on all major political parties by demanding answers to future plans concerning trucking industries in Australia for this coming Federal election.

With the economy shaping up to be a key election battleground, ATA Chief Executive, Stuart St Clair, said the major political parties should recognise the significant role trucking plays in Australia's economy.

"Trucking plays a key role in the Australian economy, and with the freight task set to double, the decisions made by the incoming government will have a massive impact on Australia's ability to stay competitive into the future.

"Any discussion about moving Australia forward, or standing up for real action, must include solid plans to make the trucking industry more efficient in meeting its growing freight task, as well as increasing safety on the nation's roads," said St Clair.

According to an executive summary assessed by the Roads and Traffic Authority, 75% of heavy truck drivers are involved in fatal crashes in NSW.

"Many of the road safety issues associated with heavy trucks are exacerbated by the structure of the industry, which is extremely competitive. This can lead to some drivers to driving long hours, exceeding speed limits, or not restraining their load properly, in an attempt to save time on deliveries," it said.

Nonetheless, the ATA maintains that the number of people killed in road accidents involving trucks fell 12 per cent between June 2004 and June 2009.

The ATA has compiled a wish list that the company believes would improve the efficiency and safety on Australia's roads which includes: more truck rest areas to manage driver fatigue and improve safety; promoting the use of safer trucks with greater capacity to move the growing freight task more efficiently; encouraging the voluntary use of telematics for management and compliance; support for voluntary industry codes of conduct; and implementing chain of responsibility legislation and fairer charges.

St Clair believes posting the responses by all parties will help the trucking community make a critical decision on who they want to govern our country. He says the questionnaire asks the leader on key issues such as safer roads, more effective regulation, fairer charges and a cleaner environment.

"By posing our questions to the parties, we are giving people in the trucking industry the facts about what is being promised. They will then be able to make up their own minds on which party offers the best deal for their business, their jobs and their livelihood.

"The safe systems approach makes these improvements by looking at safer roads, safer trucks, safer drivers and safer companies and customers. By using this approach when developing policy, political parties can take a genuine step toward improving the safety of Australia's roads," he said.

The parties' responses to the questionnaire is published on the Australian Trucking Association's website at http://www.atatruck.net.au/.

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