Opposition 'yet to make call' on RSRT

Possible post-election review might hold body's fate if ALP loses next election, though TWU pledges to defend it

Opposition 'yet to make call' on RSRT
Opposition 'yet to make call' on RSRT
By Rob McKay | February 7, 2013

The Coalition is undecided on the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s future, according to a spokesman for shadow transport minister Warren Truss.

The statement comes as the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) warns that any move to abolish or emasculate the tribunal, should there be a change of government at the next federal election,
would face strong resistance.

"Basically, they haven’t made a decision on it yet," the Coalition spokesman says of Liberal and National party decision makers.

Truss (pictured) has made no secret of his opposition to the body, having cast it as a sop to the TWU rather than a safety measure and as being based on an unproven premise "that there is a direct link between higher levels of pay and safety on the road".

It is believed that the fate of the tribunal is among a number of Coalition issues that would either be announced once the election was underway officially or, more probably, following a post- election review process to see what impact, if any, it has had.

Asked what he sees as the likely fate of the tribunal should there be a change of government, TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon is forthright.

"I can see that anyone who tries to interfere with that tribunal is going to face the full force of many players within the industry, including operators, owner-drivers and this union," he says.

"They should also be very mindful that close to half a dozen MPs from both the National Party and the Liberal Party, whilst voting against the legislation, spoke in favour of it and about the importance of the road transport industry having protection.

"So, they’ll be in for a fight and we are very mindful that an incoming conservative government will be eyeing off how they get away with reducing the protections of business, whether it be small or large, and employees’ rights.

"We’ll keep fighting for the smaller end of town. My experience is the other side fights for the big end of town."

Sheldon says the start of
hearings early next month was crucial.

"If a lot of good will comes to that table from transport operators [and] clients, it will certainly be there from us," he adds.

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