NatRoad: Let’s reduce confusion

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) continues to represent the interests of small and medium-sized transport operators who make up the majority of the transport industry in Australia in their push to delay the commencement of the 2016 RSRT Order.

Issues of safety are paramount to NatRoad and its members. NatRoad continues to receive overwhelming support from small and medium transport operators, many of whom are owner-drivers, in regard to NatRoad’s application to the RSRT, which includes seeking a delay in the commencement of the 2016 RSRT Order.

NatRoad participated in three days of hearings by the RSRT over Easter to consider a delay to the start date of the 2016 RSRT Order. NatRoad’s CEO Warren Clark has confirmed that NatRoad never sought to have the Easter hearing dates held off as alleged by the TWU’s Tony Sheldon. NatRoad also thanks the small and medium transport operators who sacrificed their Easter to participate in the RSRT hearing and the many hundreds more who provided submissions to the RSRT.

NatRoad anticipates that the RSRT will hand down its decision about delaying the commencement date of the 2016 RSRT Order later in the week, and it would be inappropriate to comment further given the RSRT has not yet handed down its decision.

NatRoad continues to work hard to reduce confusion and uncertainty and to protect the livelihoods of the most vulnerable in the transport industry.

Australian Logistics Council: Abolition of road safety remuneration tribunal still best option

The Australian Logistics Council supports a delay to the introduction of the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order mandated by the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

“However, the abolition of the RSRT is the only real way to avoid the duplication, confusion and costs that this Order, and others like it, will inevitably create,” said ALC managing director Michael Kilgariff.

“An Order from the Tribunal covering contractor drivers’ minimum payments, due to come into effect on 4 April 2016 is creating untold confusion and potential costs in the heavy vehicle industry, with many contracting companies now fearful they will be driven out of the industry.

“This concern has been highlighted by ALC since the legislation was first considered and passed by the previous government in March 2012. Since that time, ALC has consistently called for the abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

“ALC maintains that because the Road Safety Remuneration Act prevails over all other laws, including the Heavy Vehicle National Law and Work Health and Safety laws, inefficiency, confusion and increased costs would inevitably ensue when the first Order was handed down.

“The confusion with this first Order, which sets national minimum payments for contractor drivers in the road transport industry, underscores the practical difficulties associated with rate setting by an industrially focused tribunal,” he said.

“The ALC is committed to improving safety for all road users and it is essential that all stakeholders have a clear understanding of a number of key facts in this important issue.

“First, improving safety in the heavy vehicle industry must be based on achieving greater compliance and awareness of Chain of Responsibility (part of the Heavy Vehicle National Law), rather than being distracted by emotive campaigns to support the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

“In 2016, steps will be taken by transport ministers to amend Chain of Responsibility laws including the introduction of a ‘primary duty of care’ into the current Chain of Responsibility that will be similar in nature to those contained in workplace health and safety legislation.

“Some of these obligations will extend to the executive officers of these duty holders.

“Also expected is the introduction of a new risk-based approach to heavy vehicle inspections and changes to how codes of practice are treated under the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

“There needs to be greater effort by all stakeholders to promote understanding and compliance with Chain of Responsibility obligations, which is invariably ignored by proponents of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

“Second, more can be done to support and drive the safety benefits associated with on board safety technologies, such as telematics.

“Telematics enables companies to monitor driver fatigue and speed, and has been shown to save lives.

“ALC believes that the use of monitoring systems using telematics for compliance purposes should be mandated for heavy line-haul vehicles as part of a company’s compliance with their Chain of Responsibility obligations.

“Third, while heavy vehicles are over represented in crashes, studies have found that in fatal crashes involving other vehicles, the other driver was at fault in 84% of the accidents (source: 2015 Major Accident Investigation Report, National Truck Accident Research Centre, Page 7).

“This underscores the need for greater community awareness and education on the issue of light and heavy vehicles sharing the road.

“And fourth, it needs to be remembered that safety in the heavy vehicle industry is generally improving (source: Fatal Heavy Vehicle Crashes – Quarterly Bulletins).

“It concerns me when the Transport Workers Union states that the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal is the panacea to all issues in the heavy vehicle industry, which, by implication, effectively diminishes the importance of the Chain of Responsibility concept.

“It is irresponsible for the TWU to constantly link every heavy vehicle accident and fatality with ‘Safe Rates’, when they possess no more expertise or knowledge of any specific incident than anyone else in the industry or community,” he said.

The underlying purpose of the RSRT was laid bare in The Weekend Australian which predicted self-employed owner drivers will be pushed out of work because of the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order.

”As an industry, we must remain focussed on achieving greater levels of compliance with road transport laws and real safety outcomes, rather than having our focus diverted by emotive campaigns on ‘Safe Rates’ and the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.”