Heavy vehicle safety gets $5.4 million boost

More than $700,000 of heavy vehicle safety funding has been allocated to supporting truck driver mental health initiatives through the 2019-20 Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said funding for mental health would be allocated to three organisations under the NHVR’s $5.4 million safety fund.

“Among the 24 recipients Canberra-based OzHelp Foundation will receive $250,000 to develop and pilot a heavy vehicle industry health promotion and assistance program for owner-drivers,” Mr McCormack said.

“Not only do owner-drivers have to manage incredibly difficult conditions on our roads, they also have the added challenge of managing productivity and safety across their own business.

“OzHelp’s program will provide the platform and pathway for owner drivers to increase their awareness and ability to take proactive steps to address their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said funding has also been allocated to Perth-based Injury Matters to raise industry awareness of operator’s mental and physical safety across Western Australia, while the NT Road Transport Association had been allocated $36,700 to assist heavy vehicle drivers who are first responders to road accidents.

“The program will also support a number of information programs following the introduction of Chain of Responsibility legislation last year,” Mr Buchholz said.

“As a regional MP, I know how important it is that everyone involved in the supply chain – from farmers to the saleyard workers to vehicle operators – understands their obligations under the legislation.

“We’re funding programs through the Australian Livestock Markets Association and the Livestock Bulk and Rural Carriers Association to educate the industry about these important reforms.”

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the fourth round of funding would continue to play a crucial role in improving heavy vehicle safety and productivity.

“These new initiatives contribute collectively to better heavy vehicle industry safety, education, policy and practice in Australia,” Ms Petroccitto said.

“The NHVR is looking forward to working with the winning bids to ensure the projects deliver safety outcomes for all road users.”

CEO of OzHelp Foundation Darren Black said he was pleased the funding would support their crucial work.

“OzHelp looks forward to working closely with the Federal Government and NHVR to improve the mental health and wellbeing of truck drivers whom we know work in one of Australia’s most high-risk work environments,” he said.

“This grant will enable us to focus on the delivery of proactive early intervention programs and support services in a pilot that targets those most in need and hardest to reach, the small operators and owner drivers.”

Other safety initiatives to receive funding in 2019-20 include:

  • Truck Fire Prevention Strategy in Victoria
  • Women in Trucking Australia Road Safety Campaign
  • Funding a Crane Safety liaison officer
  • Expansion of the National Safety Camera Network

For more information visit www.nhvr.gov.au/hvsi