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Who Is Dishonest?

While operators have always sensed an ever present mistrust by the Department, it was still upsetting to have this confirmed as such at our meeting. There can never be any chance of solving the “Us and Them” situation while ever this reasoning exists. Perhaps if even a small amount of respect was shown to operators this belief may prove otherwise. Below are just my thoughts on this unfortunate view.

It is incomprehensible to us why operators are ALL “tarred with the same brush”. Although this was a reluctant admission, it was also inferred as an unavoidable consequence. This is wrong on so many levels.

There is no discrimination for respondents in the RFT (other than to speak adequate English) yet discrimination is rife with every operator seen first to be dishonest. Why is this? Do all Government Departments start with the idea that ALL contractors are inherently dishonest?

Why does a Government Department decide THEY are the “honest” half in a contractual relationship? In fact, this is less likely to be the case given that THEY wield all the power.  I would think it their job to weed out those who may be dishonest for the integrity of the program. It was this inability on their part that led directly to the abolishment of any allowance for TSO’s in the last decade. This resulted in extreme financial detriment to those operators forced to surrender their money making seats to accommodate a mandatory TSO. It is the Department who approve or disapprove the allocation of a TSO on a Run, just as they do students. Simple solution – don’t approve. Find another TSO in the appropriate area. This is Departmental incompetence, not operator dishonesty.

Operators should not be treated as criminals if they choose to question inaccurate payments or disagree with mapped kilometres. They are not necessarily attempting to make fraudulent claims, they are just trying to be paid what was promised them for the work they did.

Rather than putting all operators “in the one basket”, a bigger effort is needed by management to distinguish “the bad seeds”, from those honest operators trying to do the right thing and simply make a living.

Which really came first? Was it the operator trying to dishonestly gain a bit extra that had him classified this way? Or was it years of underhanded Departmental tactics that caused his dishonesty?

For the last decade the majority of operators were on rates unacceptable even to the Public Works Department. They were then often forced (to keep the run) to perform over and above what was originally stated in the contract at their own expense. If an operator felt the need to “exaggerate” his kilometres then just perhaps, it was this sense of betrayal that was at the root.



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