ALRTA rejects draft Road Safety Remuneration Order


Rural owner-drivers will be hit hard if minimum rates rise as planned, association says

ALRTA rejects draft Road Safety Remuneration Order
Grant Robins says one size doesn't fit all.

 

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has joined the growing line of industry associations protesting the draft road safety remuneration order (RSRO) for contract drivers.

ALRTA president Grant Robins says the proposed legislation will be "unworkable" in the rural transport sector.

"The Australian road transport industry is made up of many different types of vehicles, freight, tasks, operating conditions and prevailing charging structures," he says. 

"It is simply not possible to set one type of minimum rate for the entire freight contracting industry.

"The minimum rates as proposed do not take this complexity into account and will lead to increased confusion and disputes."

The intervention comes as rural realities are being raised as a point of difference when other reforms are being mooted, such as electronic work diaries.

Robins says the ALRTA also has concerns that high minimum rates will push owner-drivers out of the industry, with businesses incentivised to hire employee drivers instead.

"On first glance, some owner-drivers may be attracted to the prospect of an increase in their rates," he says.

"However, prime contractors who use their own vehicles staffed with employee drivers will not be subject to the minimum rates in the draft order, and will be free to accept work at comparatively lower rate.

"This will effectively price owner-drivers out of the market and will force a structural shift towards employee drivers. 

"The big fleets will get bigger and this will come at the expense of smaller operators, many of whom will lose their businesses and personal assets during the transition."

The ALRTA’s submission to the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal also identifies a range of other issues with the draft order, including the potential increase in red tape from increased audits and the apparent requirement to pay contract drivers for long rest breaks.

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