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Heavy vehicle safety gets $5.4 million boost

The Federal Government will allocate $700,000 towards truck driver mental health as part of its 2019-20 Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative.

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

McCormack confirmed Canberra-based OzHelp Foundation would be the recipient of $250,000 to develop and pilot a heavy vehicle industry health promotion and assistance program developed for owner-drivers.

“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, he said.

“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," said McCormack.

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz announced that funding had also been allocated to Perth-based Injury Matters to raise industry awareness of operator’s mental and physical safety across Western Australia.

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,” said Buchholz.

“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, he said.

“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,” he said.

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

OzHelp Foundation CEO 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.”

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