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ASBFEO calls for uniform pay rules across states

Carnell says it is ‘unacceptable’ to have different laws and requirements across states and territories


Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell is asking state authorities to “learn from past mistakes” while reviewing minimum pay rates for truck drivers and not set up regional rules.

Pointing to the official inquiry into the impact of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s (RSRT) minimum pay order and the federal government’s response to its report, Carnell says that states authorities must not set minimum rates of pay in the industry.

“In response to our report, the federal government has supported the majority of our recommendations, the chief among which is to commit ‘to never re-establishing the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, or a similar body that sets mandatory rates of pay for owner drivers and small transport businesses’,” Carnell says.

“We’re now calling on decision-makers in Victoria and New South Wales, when reviewing mandated minimum rates of pay in this industry, to embrace our report; to learn the lessons of the past and make the same commitment as the federal government to never go down this path again.”

ASBFEO warns that setting up regional or state-based rules will create confusion within the industry like that seen during the brief period the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order (RSRO) was in force.

“As our report highlighted, the RSRT Payments Order caused significant uncertainty in the road transport industry,” Carnell says.

“This uncertainty and confusion would arguably be worse if Victoria and NSW were to mandate minimum rates of pay on a state-basis.”

The statement come at a time when the NSW Industrial Relations Commission is considering an application to vary the proposed changes to the NSW General Carriers Contract Determination (GCCD) and the Victorian government has announced plans to conduct a review of the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 (Vic) and associated regulations.

“It’s also simply unacceptable that states and territories still have different laws and requirements in this space; we need a truly national system as a matter of urgency,” she says.

The Ombudsman also highlights the importance of setting up a timeline to put the government-approved suggestions to action.

“Re-directing the millions of dollars saved from abolishing the RSRT to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is money much better spent, however it’s important that timelines soon be put in place for the implementation of a range of flagged measures, to help increase the safety of all drivers as soon as possible.”

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