Industry backs govt’s response to RSRT report
ALC says NHVR is best-equipped to develop specialist safety policies
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC), Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) back the federal government’s response to the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) impact report presented by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO).
ATA recommends the government spend part of the reallocated RSRT funds to support a proposed national advertising campaign to educate other road users to drive safely around trucks, including in regions that are not part of the NHVR regime.
On the other hand, both ALC and NatRoad draw parallels between the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order (RSRO) and the changes proposed within the NSW General Carriers Contract Determination (GCCD), and urge authorities to be cautious while making changes that could create confusion within the industry.
While NatRoad supports the NSW government’s decision to become party to the GCCD variation proceedings, ALC recommends the task of setting up safety regulations for the industry should be left with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).
"The tribunal was intentioned to improve heavy vehicle safety and prevent fatalities on the road," ALC MD Michael Kilgariff says.
"In reality, it had the opposite effect, taking focus away from ‘chain of responsibility’ laws that place a legal obligation on supply-chain operators to take action to prevent speeding, fatigue, mass limits and loading infringements.
"The only tangible outcome of the tribunal was the delivery of significant regulatory overlap, confusion, inefficiencies and costs.
"For this reason, ALC shares the government’s concern that the application by the Transport Workers Union to vary the NSW General Carriers Contract Determination will reintroduce the same inefficiencies in that state, with no tangible safety benefit."
The ALC also warns the Victoria government to be cautious when approving changes to the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 since the ramifications of the legislation will also affect other state and territory operators conducting business in Victoria.
NatRoad chief executive Warren Clark says road transport is a national industry that does not need more red tape and complex state-based industrial awards.
"Commonwealth protections for small operators and contract carriers are in place through the Fair Work Act and the Independent Contractors Act – let’s strengthen these so we have a level operating field for small and big operators," Clark says.
"There is a general consensus that what occurred with the RSRT should never be repeated.
"Yet NatRoad can see firsthand, attempts by the unions to put in place at a State level and also through the modern awards review process, many of the measures abolished with the demise of the RSRT."
NatRoad plans to make a submission in relation to the proposed Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act review in Victoria.
Highlighting the importance of educating road users on how to drive near and around trucks, ATA CEO Ben Maguire says, "The government should spend part of the $3.9 million it has allocated to the infrastructure department in 2017-18 from the abolition of the RSRT to this campaign.
"The campaign must include Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
"For our part, the ATA will continue running the award winning Volvo-ATA Safety Truck, which has educated road users nationally about sharing the road safely since 2008."