19 December 2018






This week, the Australian Labor Party held its 48th National Conference in Adelaide where the leadership team and delegates from across the country came together to set our policy platform which will deliver a fair go for all Australians under a Shorten Labor Government.


Over the last 6 months since my appointment as Shadow Assistant Minister for Road Safety, I have been particularly proud to work closely with Anthony Albanese MP, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport on policy relating to that portfolio.


I was therefore pleased to move amendments this week to our existing policies on Road Safety which reaffirms the commitment that the Labor Party has to reducing road trauma and improving road safety more generally.


At the conference, I was proud to move the following motions which were unanimously endorsed by the Conference delegates:


  • After decades of decline, the road toll is again heading in the wrong direction.


  • Labor will establish a National Office of Road Safety. This dedicated unit within the Department of Infrastructure will be tasked with improving data collection, promoting best practice research, and leading the development of the next ten-year National Road Safety Strategy, which will commence in 2021. Labor will ensure the strategy draws on the findings of the Inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, and is developed in partnership with state and territory governments, law enforcement, motoring organisations, experts, research bodies and other relevant stakeholders.


  • Labor will ensure that the national safety standards applying to motor vehicles are up to date and fit for purpose. The role of the national government is to ensure the latest road safety technology features are in new vehicles, including electronic stability control and autonomous emergency braking. Labor will work with industry and stakeholders to promote vehicle safety ratings and to amend the Australian Design Rules to mandate proven vehicle safety technologies in new vehicles.


I was also very pleased to work with Anthony, Brendan O’Connor MP and the Transport Workers Union of Australia to negotiate an amendment to the platform that would see a Shorten Labor Government re-legislate Safe Rates for workers in the transport industry. I have had many conversations with this group recently as well as with industry stakeholders about what a future Safe Rates system would look like as I believed that consultation was the best way to achieve a solid outcome for all. I was therefore proud to support the following motion on Safe Rates legislation at the conference which was moved by Michael Kaine, National Secretary of the Transport Workers Union:


A Federal Labor Government will, as a matter of urgency, legislate for a national system of Safe Rates consisting of an independent body with responsibility for safe standards of work including fair payments and conditions. This task has become more pressing given the emergence of new technology and the gig economy in passenger and freight transport which has accelerated the downward spiral throughout the transport industry.


The system will ensure implementation of the following principles:


  1. Universal application of a system of binding, enforceable and safe standards. The standards will cover all parties in the transport supply chain / contract networks to ensure safe performance, planning and appropriate payments. The standards will focus on eliminating economic and contractual practices that place undue pressure on transport supply chains / contract networks;
  2. Appropriate, enforceable payments and related conditions for all operators and workers, regardless of label;
  3. The capacity to resolve (including where necessary through binding decisions) transport supply chain / contract networks disputes;
  4. Appropriate and adequate enforcement regime; and
  5. Appropriate resourcing of supply chain / contract networks auditing, training and education through an industry fund.


It was a terrific conference which not only outlined Labor’s positive plans for the future of Australia but also highlighted how unified the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party is under the leadership of Bill Shorten.


I look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders, research experts, unions, industry bodies and the leadership team of the ALP in my capacity as Shadow Assitant Minister for Road Safety in order to draw more attention to this very important issue.