Save Search

Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 15 March 2012
Page: 3091


Mr JOHN COBB (Calare) (13:23): Road safety is a big issue in both the electorates for which I have been the member: Parkes and Calare. Dubbo, which is the centre of Parkes, is one of the big commercial centres for trucking in New South Wales. Orange, in Calare, is fast becoming that. I am talking about road safety, which is a very big issue, in relation to these amendments. The RTA in New South Wales has said that as many trucks, if not more, travel on the Newell Highway, between Parkes and Dubbo, as travel up the Pacific Highway.

I am all for road safety and the coalition is all for road safety, particularly in relation to drivers. I can tell you that in my part of the world the trucking industry prides itself on doing everything it can on road safety. We have any number of owner-drivers in my part of the world. It seems to me that these amendments are very much aimed at groups of owner-drivers or at individual owner-drivers. In Orange we also have some of the biggest privately owned trucking companies in regional New South Wales. There are also some in Dubbo, and the member for Parkes is quite able to speak himself. It is an area that I have great knowledge of.

It seems to me that the Transport Workers Union is being very well represented by these amendments. It seems to me that the Transport Workers Union might almost have written some of them.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member will address the amendments.

Mr JOHN COBB: I am happy to do that, Deputy Speaker. Proposed clause 33(1) refers to groups of owner-drivers who make an agreement for the provision of specified road transport services. Are these not simply the dreaded AWAs, only sponsored by unions, sponsored by government and sponsored by those who will have the job of signing off on these things? The only difference is that the minister has to agree, as do the union, I assume, and the tribunal itself.

Given that the people I am talking about, the owner-drivers and the large companies, the large privately owned companies in particular, already take every care that they can in relation to driver safety, road safety and the whole gambit of it, I wonder what these amendments are actually aimed at doing, apart from keeping the Transport Workers Union happy and, pretty much, proclaiming the things that it wants rather than those things that are dedicated to road safety.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member will address the amendments before the chair.

Mr JOHN COBB: I will go back to proposed clause 33, which, again, refers to groups of owner-drivers who make an agreement for the provision of specified road transport services. It seems that the amendment broadens the scope of the sorts of conditions and matters that a group of independent contractors can seek in an approved agreement. This goes way beyond anything in the original intent of the bill, which would then have to be approved before taking effect. Once again, are these not the dreaded AWAs only approved by the minister, who does seem to have an amazing ability to effect in detail the scope of what happens between drivers and owners, or owner-drivers if it comes to that, on the ground? I honestly do not believe that this matter is about road safety. I believe that this is an industrial relations measure and that it is to do with the TWU.