NatRoad seeks clarification on NSW GCCD changes


Clark says the changes to carriage contract rules seems to be ramped up in the wake of RSRT’s demise

NatRoad seeks clarification on NSW GCCD changes
NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says the timing of the move might add further uncertainty to the industry.

 

The New South Wales Industrial Relation Commission’s decision to widen the scope and application of the NSW General Carriers Contract Determination (GCCD) has met with industry scepticism, with NatRoad calling for an "urgent clarification" in the matter.

The interim determination dealt with non-rate issues such as cartage rate schedule, record keeping and vehicle painting, and matters related to payment rates will be dealt with in the second stage of the proceedings.

However, the industry seems hardly impressed by this and is already drawing comparisons with the terminated Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) regime.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says the new changes seem to "mirror the payment order and obligations that were thrust on owner drivers and the people who contracted them under the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal earlier this year."

Earlier this week, the Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) and Road Freight NSW expressed fears that the recent GCCD changes could potentially replicate the negative effects brought on by the RSRT regime.

"Many small trucking businesses are in a holding pattern, waiting on the outcome of the election next week and this move at this time may add further uncertainty to the industry," Clark says.

"The General Carriers Contract Determination has been in place since 1984, yet it seems to have been ramped up in the wake of the demise of the RSRT.

"We have heard from owner drivers across Australia in the wake of the RSRT experience and they all want greater consultation and communication when it comes to changes like this that can have a profound impact on their small businesses.

"Owner drivers also want the ability to set the price of their service and be competitive."

The variations to GCCD not only apply to transport operators based with NSW, but to all those who conduct business in the region.

"NSW is a major freight corridor for Australia and extending thisdeterminationfrom just Sydney metropolitan to the whole of NSW may potentially impact on any owner driver entering, transiting, or operating in NSW.

"We do not want a repeat of the RSRT which threatened the viability of 35,000 small trucking businesses and would have had a knock on impact to a number of industries reliant on the transport of goods.

The interim determination applies to all carriage contracts including furniture removals, refrigerated transport, cash in transit and pathology couriers (in vehicles less than two tonnes) – sectors that were earlier exempt from GCCD rules.

"Owner drivers are an integral part of the Australian economy," Clark says.

"They underpin the ability of many Australians to move and sell their goods – farmers moving livestock, grain or produce, millers moving timber, deep sea fishers getting refrigerated fish to major markets, people moving house with a furniture removalists through to specialist trucking companies moving pathology and medical supplies.

"It appears that extending the General Carriers Contract Determination throughout NSW will see the principal contractor – your farmer, grocer, restauranteur, fishermen or homeowner – obligated to pay a certain rate with owner drivers unable to competitively pick up multiple small loads at once."

NatRoad recently set up an Owner Driver Working Group, with an aim to represent Australia’s 35,000 owner-drivers.

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