ASBFEO appraises industry on RSRT probe scope


Carnell says owner-operators continue to face financial hardship due to uncertainty

ASBFEO appraises industry on RSRT probe scope
Kate Carnell wants the inquiry to want to consult as broadly as possible.

 

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell has held and industry roundtable meeting to gather feedback ahead her office’s inquiry into the effect the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s (RSRT’s) Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 (RSRO).

The meeting is part of ASBFEO’s initial scoping work as it begins the formal inquiry process. 

"The discussion was productive and wide-ranging and was an important step in gathering feedback on the issues now facing those affected by the payments order, as well as determining the best ways to engage with stakeholders throughout the inquiry," Carnell says.

She adds that it is becoming clear there are owner-operators who continue to face significant financial hardship within an industry still plagued by uncertainty, and that the inquiry would seek to gather testimonials from as many owner-drivers as possible.

"There are some owner-drivers who are struggling to recover from the upheaval created by the payments order," Carnell says. 

"It’s also evident there’s a level of trepidation out there about what the future holds for the sector.

"We want to consult as broadly as possible to make sure we get an accurate picture of exactly what’s going on. 

"To do that, we need to hear from as many owner-drivers as we can, to learn directly from them about their experiences.

"Owner-drivers are telling us the best way to engage with the sector is through social media, so we’ll be conducting driver surveys via Facebook, while also utilising our existing consultation mechanisms – our interactive web-platform and 1300 number – to continue compiling testimonials from owner-drivers.

"We’re also in the process of scheduling a series of regional meetings around the country, which will provide owner-drivers and their families with a forum to tell their stories first-hand."

The inquiry aims to also bring together and evaluate the testimonials of those who had direct dealings with the RSRT.

"[Employment minister Michaelia Cash’s] request to conduct the inquiry explicitly stipulates we also explore the most effective ways that tribunals and similar bodies can constructively and collaboratively engage with the small business sector in the future, so we certainly want to hear from owner-drivers about their experiences dealing with the RSRT, to help establish best practice guidelines going forward," Carnell says.

An ASBEFEO spokeswoman tells ATN that any involvement of former RSRT members in the inquiry is yet to be determined at this early stage of the process.

Groups represented at the roundtable: Australian Trucking Association, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, National Farmers’ Federation, the Council of Small Business of Australia, National Road Transporters Association, Australian Logistics Council, Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia, Trucking Support Agency of Australia, National Road Freighters Association, National Owner Drivers Association and Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association.

Other bodies including the Australian Industry Group and the Transport Workers Union were also invited, but were unable to attend.

Further details on the ASBFEO inquiry, including regional forum dates, will be made available shortly.

In the interim, small businesses can contact the ASBFEO on 1300 650 460 or by visiting the website: www.asbfeo.gov.au

 

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