Joe Kelly, 20 April 2016

Bill Shorten has left open the door to bringing back a version of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, defending the nexus between pay rates and safety outcomes.

The Opposition Leader warned that self-employed truck drivers were the “victims” of lower pay and more vulnerable to fatigue.

Labor also warned there would be more deaths on Australian roads after the government passed legislation to abolish a tribunal established by Julia Gillard to regulate prices in the transport industry.

The Transport Workers Union yesterday said it would continue to campaign for an “independent body” to examine “pressures in transport which lead to deaths”.

Along with family members of those killed in truck accidents, the union erected 250 crosses on the lawn in front of Parliament House, each cross representing 10 people killed in truck crashes in the past 10 years.

Opposition workplace relations spokesman Brendan O’Connor yesterday said Malcolm Turnbull would “rue the day” he abolished the tribunal and signalled that Labor would give serious consideration to reviving a body to regulate prices.

“We do, of course, support the tribunal, have supported the tribunal. We created it to ensure we can deal with this correlation between remuneration and the incidences of deaths on our roads,” he said. “Now, of course we’ll consider our position on this.”

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash has said there is no clear link between safety and remuneration after receiving two separate reviews of the tribunal, both of which cast doubt on the connection.

Extracted in full from The Australian.