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TRANSPORT Minister Anthony Albanese will be ordered by his home-state ALP conference to abolish the National Transport Commission over a row with unions about shift lengths for train drivers.
The Australian understands the Rail Tram and Bus Union has won cross-factional support for a motion that seeks to abolish the NTC, which advises the government on transport infrastructure reform, and replace it with separate bodies covering freight and public transport, with safety issues referred to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
RTBU national secretary Bob Nanva said NTC recommendations to standardise rail safety laws across all states meant the 12-hour shift limit implemented in NSW as a result of the inquiry into the Waterfall and Glenbrook rail disasters would have been scrapped.
The 12-hour shift limit made the NSW regime the tightest in the country. The NTC recommendation was also opposed by the NSW O'Farrell government.
Mr Nanva has accused the NTC of failing to take into account scientific studies by claiming there was "little evidence to support differing fatigue-related safety outcomes if maximum work hours and minimum rest breaks are placed in legislation".
Mr Albanese will not be bound by the state conference resolution but a spokesman said the NTC was due for review anyway next year as part of its existing charter.
This article first appeared on www.theaustralian.com.au
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