According to the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), the trucking industry’s key priorities in the 2010 election campaign are more rest area funding and continued spending on roads.
These priorities were outlined by the ATA in its election brief, which calls on all parties to recognise the important role trucking plays in the Australian economy and urges them to work with the industry to improve efficiency and safety on Australia’s roads.
With the economy shaping up to be a key election battleground, ATA Chief Executive, Stuart St Clair, said any discussions about growing the Australian economy must include increased investment in the nation’s roads.
“To put it simply, the Australian trucking industry drives the economy. The industry moves three-quarters of the domestic freight task, including every item on the shelves of every supermarket,” Mr St Clair said.
“Any discussion about moving Australia forward or standing up for real action must include solid plans to make the trucking industry more efficient in meeting its growing freight task, as well as increasing safety on the nation’s roads.”
Mr St Clair said rest areas are essential in ensuring the safety of the Australian trucking industry.
“Driver fatigue is one of the key challenges of the industry. That’s why the ATA is calling on political parties to make a commitment to continue funding truck rest areas after the existing government rest area program ends in 2011-12.”
According to Mr St Clair, an increase in the number of heavy vehicle rest areas is just one of the ways the government can help the industry improve safety on the road
“The ATA is urging all parties to continue investing in the road system and adopt a safe systems approach to road investment. The safe systems approach recognises that all drivers make mistakes from time to time, but aims to reduce the severity of the consequences when those mistakes occur,” Mr St Clair said.
“The safe systems approach makes these improvements by looking at safer roads, safer trucks, safer drivers and safer companies and customers. By using this approach when developing policy, political parties can take a genuine step toward improving the safety of Australia’s roads.”
In its election brief, the ATA also urges political parties to support national heavy vehicle regulations and reject the Henry Review’s recommendation to rush into imposing mass-distance-location pricing, which could impose a heavy burden on operators.