ATA backs Senate payment terms motion

The trucking industry peak body supports Williams' and Sterle's advocacy of operator concerns

ATA backs Senate payment terms motion
ATA CEO Christopher Melham congratulates Senator Williams and Senator Sterle for their role in support of this matter.


The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has welcomed the passage of a non-binding transport industry terms of payment motion through the Australian Senate earlier this week.

The motion states that some of the bigger companies have been "unfairly" urging trucking operators to accept extended payment terms of up to 120 days, which could affect operators’ cash flow forcing them to compromise on their financial commitments such as, wages and lease payments, and maintenance of vehicles and equipment.

The motion also calls on businesses to adopt payment terms not exceeding 30 days consistent with the requirements of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) for sub-contracters and owner-drivers.

The motion, which was introduced by Nationals senator John Williams and Labor Senator Glenn Sterle – both former truck drivers, was introduced in the senate late last year.

"We know there’s sometimes a perception in trucking that if the wheels are turning, you’re all good," ATA CEO Christopher Melham says.

"But operators that agree to extended payment terms still need to pay their own creditors on their existing cycles – for example, this could include 21 day payments to fuel suppliers, 30 day payments to small owner-driver subcontractors, and weekly or fortnightly payroll payments.

"I am delighted to see the Senate’s acknowledgement of this issue, and congratulate Senator Williams and Senator Sterle for their passionate advocacy of trucking operator concerns," Melham says.

In a joint statement issued last year, Williams and Sterle warned they would launch formal inquiries against businesses that were forcing operators to accept extended payment contracts.

The two Senators concur that lengthy payment terms have an adverse impact on transport operators and their workers.

The ATA had earlier pledged to look into the extent and consequences of 120-day payments after state member organisations expressed unanimous concern over contracts that allow extended payments.

FBT Transwest manager Cameron Dunn told a road safety conference last year that 120-day payment terms were becoming more common.

The ATA is currently developing a best practice trucking industry contract checklist, which will include guidance on setting payment terms for trucking operators and their customers.

The checklist, which will be available to members of ATA’s member associations, will be launched at Trucking Australia 2016 in June.

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