ATA starts bid to ward off RSRT resuscitation

Industry body hopes to build support for other measures during the pre-election phase

ATA starts bid to ward off RSRT resuscitation
ATA CEO Christopher Melham will urge political parties to focus on policies supporting stronger trucking businesses.


As the 2016 election campaign kicks off, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) says it will urge political parties and candidates to support issues related to the trucking sector including not reinstating the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).

"The RSRT attempted to apply minimum freight rates to owner-drivers and family trucking businesses," ATA CEO Christopher Melham says.

"The rates were driving these operators out of business without any real link to safety."

The ATA was at the forefront in the battle to have the tribunal abolished by the parliament last month and will hope its effort does not go to waste if the winning party decides to re-establish the RSRT.

Current Opposition leader Bill Shorten recently announced that Labor would bring back the ‘safe rates’ order and reinstate the tribunal if his party wins the upcoming elections – a statement ridiculed by employment minister Michaelia Cash.

The association will also push for political parties to support and improve road safety measures.

"As an industry, we’ve made great strides in improving road safety," Melham says.

"Between 1982 and 2014, the rate of fatal articulated truck crashes fell by more than 75 per cent, despite enormous growth in the number of trucks on our roads.

"But even one accident is too many, and the ATA wants to see more practical measures to improve safety."

Third on its agenda is to bring political focus on policies supporting stronger trucking businesses.

"The trucking industry mainly consists of small businesses; they operate on tight margins.

"We want to see policies coming forward that will support these businesses in our industry.

"The ATA will circulate a questionnaire to political parties and candidates in the coming days.

"Later in the campaign, we will issue state-by-state report cards about how the parties and candidates compare.

"As an industry association, it’s not our role to endorse political parties or candidates.

"What we can and should do, however, is to provide people in the industry with information about where the parties and candidates stand."

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