Part of a convoy of trucks leaving Parliament House and heading to EPIC for a rally opposing the RSRT (Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal) payment order. Photo: Graham Tidy.JASMINE Payget will never forget the day her six-year-old son, Rian, was killed by a hit and run truck driver.
The Lawson mother and her husband, Laurie Strathdee, were driving along the Hume Highway at Sutton Forest when a semi-trailer crashed into their car, pushing it into a ditch.
Rian was fatally wounded and his parents and older brother were hospitalised. The driver didn’t stop and was never found.
So when Ms Payget heard of plans to abolish the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, she contacted the Blue Mountains Gazette to voice her concerns.
“The tribunal was established to provide wage incentives to increase safety.” she said.
“Well respected researchers tell us this is happening, [that] wages are related to safety.
“When you pay the worker per job then the tendency is to say, ‘if I can drive faster and don’t have a break, then I can be doing three jobs when I should only be doing two’.”
The tribunal had spent more than two years trying to come up with a way to set pay and conditions for truck drivers, Ms Payget said.
“To abolish the tribunal which has spent a lot of time thinking about how to pay people so there’s an incentive to do the right thing – it’s just wrong.”
Independent truck drivers protested in Canberra on Sunday. They say increased payments will drive small trucking companies and owner-drivers out of business.
And the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has said the tribunal – set up by the Gillard Labor government – was little more than a “recruiting tool” for the Transport Workers Union.
Ms Payget conceded the issues were “complicated” but she feared that safety would be compromised.
“Like most parents, if something terrible has happened to you, we want it not to happen to someone else. The tribunal is attempting to create a safer system and I don’t want it abolished.”
Ms Payget said she had to attend a workshop in the Southern Highlands last weekend.
“I had to drive past the scene of the crash. I still find it really, really difficult.”
Rian Strathdee would have turned 18 next week.
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