Organisations bemoan lack of certainty after election


NatRoad sees continuing member concern at prospect of RSRT return along with four other issues

Organisations bemoan lack of certainty after election
Warren Clark also highlights safety as a primary concern

 

The post-election limbo has smaller trucking firms on tenterhooks over chances of a resurrected Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT), according to industry body NatRoad.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark has called on politicians to bear their concern in mind in negotiations towards forming a government.

"Small trucking business is looking for certainty that the RSRT will not be returning," Clark says.

 "Many owner drivers and small trucking businesses as well as the people and businesses they serve were hanging on this election result and a hung parliament brings added uncertainty.

"As it stands forming government with Labor would have an immediate impact on the businesses 35,000 owner drivers throughout Australia who will be subject to a new form of the RSRT.

"Small trucking businesses are still recovering from the shock the RSRT dealt to their businesses and the industry with many delaying business activities such as orders for new trucks and equipment as well as making important payments.

"Every Australian needs a government that is supportive of a safe, competitive and thriving road freight industry."

Clark says his organisation hopes the independents, Rebekha Sharkie, Andrew Wilkie, Cathy McGowan, Bob Katter and the Greens’ Adam Bandt keep small trucking businesses in mind should they begin negotiations to form government.

He adds that that during the election period and in the wake of the RSRT there is recognition that our industry needs to work more closely with governments and regulators to bring about practical changes for a safer and competitive road freight industry. 

Members’ and industry feedback during the election campaign indicated four key areas of focus of the new government:

  • Improving road safety: better safety research and reliable statistics, real safety measures for heavy vehicles as well as greater education for all road users sharing the road with trucks
  • Moving to a national system: national compliance, registration and regulation for heavy vehicles is a priority that would cut red tape and support productivity
  • Reforms are practical: that reforms and changes are practical and support a competitive industry from large road freight organisations to small trucking businesses
  • Clearer advice to industry and greater consultation: that reforms and changes are easily understood and that there are real opportunities for industry feedback.

"We all want to continue to improve safety in our industry while ensure there is some consistency to regulations after many years of change and we want safety compliance that is truly practical," Clark says.

Meanwhile, the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA) expressed concern about Labor’s proximity to power, given its close relationship with big unions and big business.

COSBOA CEO Peter Strong says this is what has led to unfair outcomes for smaller businesses and hols up the Transport Workers Union’s close relationship with Toll and Linfox as an example.

"These two companies are intent on forcing owner drivers off the road, through actions such as the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration, which sets national minimum payments for certain contractor drivers in the road transport industry, specifically small business people, making competition even more difficult," he says.

Queensland Transport Association (QTA) CEO Gary Mahon was also nonplussed by the immediate outcome.

"As we await the results of the federal election outcome, one thing is likely and that is it will be a difficult three years for our industry as we navigate the unpredictable nature of what might best be described as a balanced parliament," Mahon says.

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