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Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Page: 13604

Ms ROWLAND (Greenway) (13:57): I rise in support of the Transport Workers Union's safe rates campaign and reaffirm my commitment to the more than 1,000 professional truck drivers living in my electorate of Greenway. Earlier this week the safe rates summit heard from truck drivers from around Australia who told their stories about the pressures they face. According to the TWU's safe rates survey released this week, over 40 per cent of truck drivers are forced to break fatigue regulations and a quarter have said they drive at excessive speeds in order to make deadlines—not to mention the widespread use of drugs to stay awake and the pressures to drive their heavy vehicles in a dangerous manner.

My constituents have told me of the horrible stories facing truck drivers who are forced to drive long hauls with impossible deadlines, putting their lives at risk and the lives of every other road user. By introducing a system of safe rates we can make a real impact on road fatalities and help our truck drivers to make it home to their families.

I also note the highly misinformed views of the Leader of the Nationals, who made an argument in a recent edition of Australasian Transport News which essentially disputed the link between safe rates and safe roads. What nonsense! These highly out-of-touch comments run contrary to the views of the industry, academics and the truck drivers in my electorate. The nation's roads are shared by all Australians and it is in everyone's interest to ensure better safety on our roads. I am very pleased to be part of the push to ensure safe rates for our truck drivers and I acknowledge the introduction today of the Road Safety Remuneration Bill and thank the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure for all his hard work in this area.