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Thursday, 15 March 2012
Page: 3088

Mr HARTSUYKER (Cowper) (13:09): I rise to speak on the 64 amendments to the bill and to reflect on the importance of road safety. Representing, as I do, an area that has a huge amount of truck traffic going through it on the Pacific Highway, I am very focused as a local member on this issue. Our entire community is focused on the importance of safety in the heavy vehicle industry. But the question before us today is: how effective are these 64 amendments going to be in actually producing improvements in safety outcomes on the ground? How effective are these amendments going to be in delivering fewer accidents, delivering safer roads and ensuring that freight is able to travel along our highways in safety? There is great concern in the community that I represent that heavy vehicle accidents are all too frequent. Being on the Pacific Highway, which is currently being duplicated, I can say that those areas that are not duplicated present the highest risk—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. DGH Adams ): Order! The honourable member will address the amendments.

Mr HARTSUYKER: I am coming to that, Deputy Speaker.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The honourable member will address the amendments before the chair, not have a general debate on transport issues.

Mr HARTSUYKER: I am about to get onto—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member will address the amendments in detail before the House.

Mr HARTSUYKER: Thank you, Deputy Speaker, I will. I will draw the attention of the House to proposed clause 33, road transport collective agreements. The question arises: how effective are these agreements going to be in actually delivering real improvements in safety outcomes. The provision says:

(1) A road transport collective agreement is an agreement:

(a) between:

   (i) contractor drivers (the participating drivers) with whom a hirer or potential hirer proposes to contract for the provision of specified road transport services (the applicable services); and

   (ii) the hirer or potential hirer of the drivers (the participating hirer); and

(b) that specifies:

   (i) who the participating hirer is; and

   (ii) who the participating drivers are; and

   (iii) the basis on which the participating drivers became part of that group of drivers; and

(c) that specifies remuneration or related conditions (or both) for participating drivers who provide applicable services to the participating hirer.

Agreements such as this will ultimately result in a certain rate being struck. The question arises: if the rates that are a result of such agreements result in increased costs, is that going to provide for improved safety? That is what is not clear.

There is no evidence that this provision, proposed clause 33, is in any material way going to contribute to improved safety on our roads—and that is what the people that I represent are most interested in. The question people are asking is: are the 64 amendments going to actually result in a real outcome for people who use the Pacific Highway, for instance, or our other major highways or is it merely pandering to an industrial agenda? Certainly proposed clause 33 on road transport collective agreements and the relationship between the contract drivers and the hirers does not show the ways in which there is going to be an improved safety outcome. The people I represent who deal with heavy vehicles travelling through the main streets of their towns want to ensure that these vehicles travel safely and that the drivers are not overly fatigued.

The issue is: will these amendments result in less fatigue for drivers and in safer driving practices? We have no evidence of this. On this side of the House we believe that amendments brought to this House should be evidence based and not industrially driven, as these amendments seem to be. There seems to be a lack of reference in these amendments to safety, yet the government maintains that that is what these amendments are all about.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member is not addressing the detail of the amendments.

Mr HARTSUYKER: I think that clause 33 here—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member is not addressing the amendments and I ask him to come back to the amendments.

Mr HARTSUYKER: I refer you again to clause 33 and the relationship—

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: Mr Deputy Speaker, I raise a point of order. We are now in consideration in detail. We have resolved to deal with it—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Does the honourable member have a point of order?

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: Mr Deputy Speaker, my point of order is this: as we are in consideration in detail and have agreed to take the bill as a whole, the amendments expand the debate, not limit it. Members are perfectly entitled to debate every clause of the bill as well as the amendments. I would refer you to Practice and you will find it to be true.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The honourable member will resume her seat. There is no point of order. I call the honourable member for Hinkler.