Govt bill to delay safe truckie pay order till 2017

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Govt bill to delay safe truckie pay order till 2017

A Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) order setting minimum rates of pay for contract truckies will not start before 1 January 2017, under legislation announced by the federal government.

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A Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) order setting minimum rates of pay for contract truckies will not commence before 1 January 2017, under legislation announced by the federal government. 

Originally due to commence on Monday, 4 April, the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 (RSRO) has faced opposition from employer associations, claiming industry had insufficient time to understand the order’s complexities. 

On Friday, 1 April, National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) successfully applied to the Federal Court for an order staying the RSRO. Consequently, the order has been temporarily delayed, pending a further order of the court.  

The stay coincided with the release of two reports into the operation of the Road Safety Remuneration system, which included options for reform, now the focus of consultation between the government and industry stakeholders 

Government acts to stop ‘devastation’


Yesterday, Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash announced the federal government would introduce legislation into the House of Representatives in the week commencing 18 April to ensure the RSRO does not commence before 1 January 2017. 

Minister Cash said the legislation, if passed by the Senate, would provide certainty for the trucking industry while reform options were considered by the government.

“Owner-drivers are the lifeblood of the economy,” Minister Cash said.

“Anything which threatens their viability will have significant implications across the country – this is not something we will tolerate.

“If the [RSRO] was to come into effect as planned it would be devastating for thousands of owner-drivers and consumers alike.”

Order won’t improve safety, Ai Group claims


The government’s announcement has been welcomed by Innes Willox, chief executive of Australian Industry Group.

"The legislation will allow time for the consultation process announced by the government without the threat of widespread community and industry disruption, and loss of work for contractor drivers,” he said. 

"During the government's consultation process, the Australian Industry Group will argue that the Road Safety Remuneration Act and Tribunal should be abolished. They are distracting resources and attention away from measures that are widely recognised as improving road safety such as compliance measures, better roads, and increased use of technology. Paying contractor drivers more or differently will not improve road safety.”

Government accused of playing politics 


Meanwhile, Tony Sheldon, national secretary of the Transport Workers’ Union has accused the government of playing politics with people’s lives and truck drivers’ jobs.

He called its legislation a ‘declaration of war’ on the trucking industry, explaining that the resulting delay to the RSRO would “create uncertainty for drivers and put off a solution to the high death toll in truck crashes". 
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