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, 1 March 2012
Page: 2451

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (09:47): On behalf of the Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications I present the committee's Advisory report into the Road Safety Remuneration Bill 2011 and the Road Safety Remuneration (Consequential Amendments and Related Provisions) Bill 2011, incorporating a dissenting report, together with the minutes of proceedings.

In accordance with standing order 39(f) the report was made a parliamentary paper.

Ms BIRD: by leave—It is a great privilege to present the reports to the House. These are reports on the two bills that were referred to the committee on 24 November 2011. The bills were considered by the committee through the process of opening for submissions. We invited submissions from federal, state and territory government departments and organisations from the road transport and workplace relations industries across Australia. We released media statements on 15 December and 9 February with details of the inquiry. As a result, the committee received 29 submission, five supplementary submissions and 19 exhibits to the inquiry. For the interest of people who want to look at the report these are listed in appendices A and B.

Given that we had a relatively short time frame to take into account the possibility that the bills would be debated, the committee decided to hold a public hearing, which was held on 15 February 2012. The witnesses who appeared at that public hearing are listed in appendix C. Also attached to the report are copies of the bill, at appendices D and E. I acknowledge that there is a dissenting report to this particular report. I particularly want to thank all the members of my committee, including those who put in the dissenting report, for their participation in the process of this particular inquiry. I also acknowledge that the deputy chair of the committee, the member for Hinkler, is in the House at the moment.

The committee heard extensive evidence on the development of these bills, in particular on the issue of the evidence that exits between not only the rates of pay, which I know has been commented on by members of the House when looking at these issues, but also the conditions and the structures under which pay and remuneration are made for truck drivers. The majority of the committee were quite clear on the importance of safety on our roads and the importance of ensuring that we take all measures possible to improve safety for not only those who work on our roads—the truck drivers, who are directly affected by this bill—but also, more broadly, the communities in which they ply their trade by using the roads. They have every right to expect the best possible opportunity for safety maximisation on the roads. I note that my colleague the member for Fowler, who has been involved in these issues for a long time, is here with me today.

It is the view of the majority of the committee that whilst there are other regulatory and educational programs in place to improve road safety, and some of those come into fruition this year and next year, another aspect that should be considered and that this legislation seeks to address is the way that remuneration is structured and organised in the industry. That has the capacity to put unreasonable pressure on drivers and therefore affects safety.

I appreciate those who came and presented orally to the committee. We paid due attention to all of the evidence, written and verbal. There was however compelling evidence from truck drivers about the circumstances they face. I think their families in particular will welcome us taking action to improve safety for them on the roads. There was a deal of detail in the written submissions on some of the specifics of the bills. It was the case that some people, while they might have had concerns about the bills that are being introduced, wanted to make suggestions to improve them. The report documents all of that. It acknowledges that the bills are subject to a review process. It suggests that these issues should be looked at in that review process. At the end of the day, the majority of the committee were of the view that the recommendation to the House should be that the bills be passed.

I commend everybody who had anything to do with the inquiry on their energies and their efforts. I particularly thank the secretariat for their support in this process. I thank the secretary of our committee, Ms Julia Morris. In particular, I thank Ms Susan Dinon, who is in the chamber with us today, for her outstanding efforts on this inquiry. I also thank our other staff, Dr Kilian Perrem and Mr Peter Pullen, for their work.