Cattle Council adds voice to chorus of disapproval

Rural lobby says its industry has been ‘left hanging’ by grey areas in RSRO

Cattle Council adds voice to chorus of disapproval
Jed Matz fears significant and immediate impacts.


The Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) believes the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) failed to appreciate the complexities of rural transport when formulating the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order (RSRO).

The order apparently fails to consider how payments should apply to mixed or part loads, or round trips where the truck may travel empty, the rural lobby says.

It notes small owner-operators fear backloads and part loads will become cost-prohibitive, with farmers using truck driving to supplement their income no longer able to source work.

CCA CEO Jed Matz said the orders would have significant and immediate impacts on the bottom line of rural transport operators and cattle producers.

Matz says the rural transport system was complex, with owner-drivers being prime contractors one day and sub-contractors the next.

A single return trip could involve multiple customers and destinations, mixed loads, part loads, or side work fitting in with the primary task.

"The orders will have a significant impact on the effectiveness of a transport system integral to the cattle industry from the point of view of movement between properties, saleyards, feedlots and abattoirs around Australia," Matz says.

The CCA has put its full weight behind the call by the National Farmers’ Federation, soon to be known as ‘Australian Farmers’, for "quick action by the federal government to protect thousands of rural businesses from financial ruin".

It says the NFF has backed the findings of two reports recommending the RSRT be abolished, and has applied to delay implementation until January 1.

It also quotes NFF president Brent Finlay as saying the new rules meant many smaller family owned businesses would become uncompetitive.

ATN is awaiting a return call from the NFF.

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