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Parliament abolishes Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal

Beef Central, 19/04/2016

Legislation to abolish the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal was passed in the senate last night.

The Coalition’s Road Safety Remuneration Repeal and Road Safety Remuneration Amendment (Protecting Owner Drivers) bill was passed with the support of most cross benchers by vote of 36 to 32.

Road transport industry association NatRoad said the successful passage of the bill would keep to 40,000 small, family owned trucker businesses on the road.

NatRoad Chief Executive Officer Warren Clark said the passing of the Bill follows an exhaustive campaign and the support of many, to ensure the livelihoods of tens of thousands of families was protected.

“We thank the Coalition who listened to the concerns of our industry and introduced the Bill, and Senators Lazarus, Lambie, Madigan and the other crossbenchers whose support saw the Bill pass through the Parliament.

“The shambles that was the RSRT is now behind us and those businesses at risk of going under as a result of its ill-informed decisions, can now return to business as usual,” said Mr Clark.

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association said the Prime Minister would travel in a prime mover from Parliament House this morning to the Governor General’s residence to request royal ascent.

“In accordance with normal Australian legislative procedure, the change will officially take effect 48hrs after the Governor General grants ‘royal ascent’ and signs the bill into law i.e. 21 April 2016,” an ALRTA statement said.

“The Fair Work Ombudsman has recently issued a formal statement that a fair and reasonable approach to enforcement of the 2014 and 2016 Orders will be taken.

“There are many people and organisations to thank for this hard earned result.

Senior Labor senator Stephen Conroy has accused Mr Turnbull of using ‘truckies as a pawn in his political game’ and says last night’s vote will make Australian roads less safe.“What a comedy –

“What a comedy – Mr Turnbull pretending he cares about truck drivers,’ he told parliament,” he said.

“This prime minister doesn’t care about road safety. He doesn’t care about the families of the victims who die.”

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester told a convoy of truck drivers campaigning for the change in Canberra said that safety was at the heart of the Australian Government’s plans.

“In 2012, the Labor Government established the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, suggesting that if you pay a truck driver more, they’ll drive slower and work fewer hours,” Mr Chester said.

“The Tribunal was intended to make the road transport industry fairer and safer, but after almost four years in operation, the evidence shows that the Tribunal has not achieved either of these aims.

“Small operators are telling us that the remuneration system risks harming their businesses, without doing anything to improve the safety of the industry.

“A tribunal of industrial umpires cannot claim to be experts in road safety.

“It is the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator—a combined effort of the Australian Government and most state and territory governments—that has the expert knowledge and understanding needed to bring about improvements to the safety of the road transport industry.”

Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash said the Tribunal’s resources will be redirected to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

“The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator will be tasked with prioritising ways in which road safety can be materially improved,” Senator Cash said.

“To determine how best this resourcing can be used to re-prioritise and strengthen safety measures that will work at the roadside, the Australian Government will be consulting with state and territory governments and with industry.

“Everyone supports a safer heavy vehicle industry, but clearly the answer is not to put tens of thousands of owner-drivers off the road through a central wage fixing policy.

“A better resourced National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, working together with Government and with industry, is the best mechanism for achieving real safety outcomes for the heavy vehicle sector and the broader community.”

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Comments

  1. Helma Slater, 20/04/2016

    We are extremely happy and relieved with this result. The implications of this decision will keep many small trucking companies on the road and their families working. In my experience owner drivers are very concerned with safety and keeping their trucks in good order. The RSRT had little to do with safety and favoured the large businesses.

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