Industry fears impact from new GCCD rules

By: Anjali Behl


RFNSW's O’Hara says the new rules can disrupt existing practices and potentially increase operator costs

Industry fears impact from new GCCD rules
Road Freight NSW in concerned about the rates aspect.

 

The industry is warning that the recent NSW Industrial Relations Commission determination regarding the contract of carriage rules can replicate the "devastating outcomes" of the scrapped Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) regime.

The commission's interim determination recently varied the original rules set out in the NSW General Carriers Contract Determination (GCCD), including the scope and application of the carriage contract rules.

Road Freight NSW GM Simon O’Hara tells ATN the new legal obligations, following the implementation of these rules, will disrupt existing practices and can potentially increase operator costs.

"The Transport Workers Union [TWU] has filed a claim in the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW seeking mandatory minimum rates be provided to most owner drivers working in NSW.

"This includes an obligation to pay such drivers specific minimum per kilometer and hourly rates.  

"If granted, the proposal would represent a significant expansion of existing legal obligations.

"The claim will disrupt current practices of those road transport businesses not before covered and potentially significantly increase their costs."

In December 2013, the TWU sought an official review of the existing rules while suggesting variations to key factors such as coverage area, exclusions and minimum hourly and kilometer rates.

While the commission has not revised the minimum rates of payment, the issue is far from over as it looks to discuss this subject during subsequent hearings.

O’Hara says the union’s "one-size fits all" approach can have "adverse impact on transport businesses".

"It is likely to be particularly damaging to road transport business operating in regional areas or undertaking interstate transport services that are connected to NSW."

The interim determination rules that all transporters operating within the state, whether NSW-based or interstate carriers, will be obligated to follow the new rules from July 2.

"The claim risks replicating the devastating outcomes of the widely condemned minimum rates order issued by the recently abolished Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

"The operation of that tribunal demonstrated the threat to the viability of both owner drivers and the road transport businesses that engage them that can flow from regulation setting minimum rates at inappropriate level.  

"The industry is just recovering from the crises caused by the RSRT and the prospect of a similar outcome being pursued by the TWU in a different tribunal in NSW is deeply alarming.

"Road Freight NSW will be working with our workplace relations partner, the Australian Industry Group, to continue to strongly oppose the union’s claim in proceedings before the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW."

A spokesperson for the NSW government says that it is currently seeking formal advice from the NSW Industrial Relations in this matter.

"The NSW government was not a party to the proceedings before the commission," NSW transport minister Duncan Gay’s office states.

"We are aware of the Interim Determination and are seeking formal advice from NSW Industrial Relations.

"The minister for roads and freight, Duncan Gay, has always been a strong supporter of the heavy vehicle industry, which has been demonstrated over the last five years since coming into government."

The Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) has already warned its members of the upcoming changes to the rules that will affect all transporters operating in the NSW region.

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