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ALC seeks tribunal support on privacy reforms and telematics

ALC defends major retailers and calls for Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal to back telematics and changes to privacy laws

By Brad Gardner | October 3, 2012

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) is trying to rally the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal to its cause, asking it to mandate the use of telematics and give operators access to the records of truck drivers.

The peak lobby group, which represents companies Toll, Coles, Linfox and Woolworths, has fired off a submission to the wage-setting body reiterating its support for greater scrutiny of truck drivers.

It says increased monitoring of fatigue management and speed by way of black boxes is necessary to improve compliance and that giving operators access to a driver’s history will lift safety standards.

“ALC believes safety outcomes would be enhanced if transport companies were made aware of when a breach (such as speed, fatigue, load restraint etc) has occurred in one of their vehicles. This information is currently not provided to them due to privacy restrictions,” the ALC submission says.

“Furthermore, ALC believes transport companies need to be able to confirm whether employees and contractors driving their vehicles have an appropriate and valid heavy vehicle licence. While this may be imposed as a condition of employment, providing this information is also prohibited under privacy legislation.”

While the tribunal has the power to make remuneration orders, the ALC says it should deal with telematics and driver records as part of a related condition of employing a driver.

The ALC’s submission has also gone into bat for major retailers. Sections of the industry want the tribunal to make investigating the actions of Coles and Woolworths a priority, but the ALC opposes a sector-specific approach.

“In providing this submission, ALC is aware of claims made by some stakeholders about the major retailers in regards to safety. The major retailers, like all parties in the supply chain, are committed to achieving the positive road safety outcomes and to meeting their Chain of Responsibility obligations,” the submission reads.

“ALC is of the view that the Tribunal should not focus on the retail supply chain above any others, or until the Heavy Vehicle National Law has had time to be implemented and assessed.”

Toll Managing Director Brian Kruger has also lodged a submission with the tribunal, urging it to investigate industry compliance with road transport employment awards.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests there is widespread non-compliance with the awards and award evasion is common. We would welcome any inquiry by the Tribunal into how extensive the practice is,” he says.

Kruger also used the submission to restate Toll’s opposition to the creation of the tribunal and to back the ALC’s push for changes to privacy laws.

“Not only does Toll Group find it difficult to confirm whether employees and contractors have appropriate and valid heavy vehicle licences, but we are concerned that road agencies are not prepared to make us aware of infringements that have occurred in our vehicles,” Kruger says.

The tribunal has been taking industry submissions as part of the development of its annual work program. The program will chart the areas the tribunal intends to focus on from the beginning of next year.

Made up of a number of industry representatives and Fair Work Australia commissioners, the tribunal has the power to investigate practices throughout the supply chain and issue binding rulings on wages and remuneration-related conditions if it believes it will improve safety.

The tribunal was established in the wake of a report from the National Transport Commission (NTC) linking low rates of pay with poor safety in the trucking industry.

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