SARTA sees RSRT deadlines as tough to meet

Executive director Steve Shearer says businesses need more time to respond to the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s draft order on contract drivers

SARTA sees RSRT deadlines as tough to meet
Steve Shearer says industry needs more time.


The South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) remains concerned about the Road Safety Remuneration Order that has been proposed.  

In addition to comments published on Tuesday, SARTA executive director Steve Shearer says the timeline set out for industry consultation is "too tight".

The draft order was first distributed on August 26, together with an online calculator tool for determining appropriate payments under the order.

All industry stakeholders were invited to provide comment and feedback on both the order and calculator, with written submissions due yesterday.

In order to offer a comprehensive conversation, the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) is also inviting feedback on those initial submissions, which are available online. This second round of comments is due by October 7.

From there, the RSRT will hold a directions hearing on October 12, which will likely result in up to eight days of hearings from October 17.

Shearer believes the tribunal is aiming to have a finalised order in working effect by the end of the year and that is not enough time for businesses to fully research the rates and their likely impact.

"I urge all subcontractors to take the draft order to their customers and ask: ‘if these rates come in, will you still use me’," he says.

Shearer says the rates are significantly higher than present contracts, and could result in many businesses favouring in-house driving staff over owner-driver sub-contractors.

That will be more expensive than their present arrangements, but cheaper than hiring sub-contractors under the new order.

Any increase in cost will likely be passed on to consumers, with no real improvement in road safety, Shearer says, adding: "SARTA supports the idea (of minimum rates for contract drivers) but our members are horrified by the rates proposed."

He hopes the RSRT will extend the timeline for submissions and their responses, so that both contractors and the transport companies that hire them can be involved with the process.

"If we get this wrong, it could be so dangerous," he says, suggesting the deadline for submissions be extended by up to a month.

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