Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell meets Brisbane truck driver Frank Black on his trip from Brisbane to Canberra to promote the Safe Rates Summit findings.
Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell meets Brisbane truck driver Frank Black on his trip from Brisbane to Canberra to promote the Safe Rates Summit findings. Jacklyn Wagner

Mayor becomes prime mover in truck campaign

THE TRANSPORT Workers Union made a special stop in Lismore last week to hand a new road safety report directly to Mayor Jenny Dowell.

While road transport industry safety is a federal issue, Cr Dowell was keen to meet the TWU and add her support to its national campaign to reduce the 281 fatalities involving heavy vehicles last year, as detailed in the report.

“I’m here because many truck drivers live and work in our community and we all have to share the roads with heavy vehicles,” she said.

“We need to know that all truck drivers on our roads are working under safe conditions.

“The thought of a family losing a dad or another family member due to workplace pressures horrifies me.”

The report highlights a worsening safety crisis in the growing road transport industry detailing a 24 per cent increase in fatal crashes involving heavy rigid trucks, and a 6pc increase in articulated trucks.

TWU official Helen Bellette said the campaign aimed to localise and humanise the shocking statistics and that it was important that all politicians took up the case on behalf of their constituents.

“The TWU has been working for some time with governments at all levels in order to ensure there is a federal determination with minimum rates of pay for truck drivers,” she said.

“With 281 people being killed in our industry each year, it is important that drivers have full cost recovery, including pay for waiting times and fuel costs, so they are not forced into doing ‘one more load’ to make ends meet.”

Campaign truck driver Frank Black said it was not uncommon in his workplace to wait, unpaid, for up to five hours to get unloaded.

“We then have to make up that time ourselves,” he said explaining that company workers not driving trucks with company colours and logos often found themselves in that situation.

The campaign truck will continue across the country during the next few weeks stopping at major regional and metropolitan centres to raise awareness and support.


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