SARTA casts doubt over claims SA reviews counting time

SARTA Executive Director Steve Shearer believes no review of counting time in SA is being undertaken

SARTA casts doubt over claims SA reviews counting time
SARTA questions claims of counting time in SA being reviewed
By Ruza Zivkusic | March 8, 2011

The South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) Executive Director Steve Shearer says no review of counting time in SA is being undertaken, as suggested by the Transport Workers Union (TWU).

He has slammed the TWU’s recent comments, which refer to a SA Crown Solicitor saying the authorities are now reviewing the means by which they calculate the number of hours driven by a heavy vehicle under a 24-hour period after two long-distance drivers had charges against them dropped.

John Small (as pictured) and Wayne Roberson were charged for breaching the laws in SA where time is counted differently to NSW, which is counted forward from the end of the driver’s major breaks.

They were represented by the TWU during a 15-month long legal battle.

"The authority of this issue is the Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure (DTEI) and they are not proposing to do any such review," Shearer says.

"It is an entirely different matter to suggest that the SA law, specifically its provision for the counting of hours in any 24 hour period, is under or will be under any review as distinct from its correct application," he adds.

"SARTA has from day one pointed out the difficulties caused by the inconsistency between QLD and NSW on the one had and SA and Victoria on the other.

"We have also pointed out the difficulties for drivers and employers in managing this rule under the stricter SA/Victoria provisions.

"The TWU has jumped off the mark too quickly and they have created the wrong impression; what we don’t want to see happen is a whole lot of people thinking the law has changed in SA.

"The law is just like it was yesterday and the day before and it will continue to be that way for some time, probably until there’s a single national regulator."

TWU spokesman Garth Mulholland says it cannot be held accountable if the Crown Solicitor has "acted outside his authority".

"We have only put forward the facts as presented to us and have not put any ‘impression’ on them," Mulholland says.

"The facts are as we have described and we have the requisite evidence to prove what we have told the media.

"Two cases were dismissed and we have been advised SA will now review counting time provisions due to the union’s representations to the SA Crown Solicitor.

"Our first concern is and has always been our members; there was no need to speak to the SA Transport Department prior to issuing of the release as we were acting on the information supplied by the Crown Solicitor in relation to our members and his advice."

The Crown Solicitor’s office did not return the ATN’s call before deadline.

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