Senator Ricky Muir swings his support behind RSRT

Key senator’s support means Federal Government won’t have numbers to axe the RSRT.

Senator Ricky Muir swings his support behind RSRT
Ricky Muir says keeping the RSRT will lead to fewer deaths on Australian roads.


The Federal Government’s desire to scrap the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) has been dealt a lethal blow, with a key senate crossbencher pledging his support for the body.

Senator Ricky Muir from the Motoring Enthusiasts Party today lined up behind the RSRT, labelling it an important initiative to protect truck drivers and improve road safety.

The Greens and independents Nick Xenophon and John Madigan have previously announced their support for the tribunal, which former prime minister Julia Gillard established in 2012.

The Abbott government is opposed to the RSRT, but Muir’s decision means it will not have enough numbers in the Senate to pass any legislation to gut or axe the agency.

"Road safety has always been something I’m passionate about," Muir says.

"Keeping the RSRT and setting fair rates for truck drivers will help put an end to the lethal pressures in trucking that see too many truck drivers delaying truck maintenance to meet unsafe client demands. This will mean fewer deaths on Australian roads so that’s why I’m supporting this campaign."

The RSRT has the power to set rates and conditions for employee and contractor drivers throughout the transport industry.

It is due to announce its plans soon for reforming driver pay rates.

Muir’s announcement coincided with the Transport Workers Union’s (TWU) trip to the nation’s capital to lobby politicians to back the RSRT. 

A spokeswoman for the union says it is due to meet Palmer United Party senator Jacqui Lambie today to discuss the tribunal.

Employment minister Eric Abetz last year appointed Rex Deighton-Smith to lead a review of the tribunal to determine if it was an effective means of addressing safety.

The review was completed earlier this year and handed to Abetz, but his office is yet to respond to it or release its findings.

TWU assistant secretary Michael Kaine today thanked Muir for supporting the RSRT.

"The RSRT is an important tool in the battle for safe rates and we are grateful to have gained senator Muir’s support to help save lives on our roads," Kaine says.

He says the tribunal is the only body with the power to intervene when transport customers use their economic clout to force truck drivers to work at the expense of safety.

"When drivers aren’t paid enough to maintain their vehicles or earn a living wage, they are forced to drive too fast, skip breaks or carry overweight loads just to survive," Kaine says.

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