Australia, Transport News

Owner drivers to be supported by new legislation and Fair Work Commission rulings

The preservation of the viability of the owner driver business model within the transport industry will not be affected by the ‘Closing the Loopholes’ workplace laws before parliament

Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke has told the National Road Transport Association Board that owner drivers working in the road transport sector will not be disadvantaged by proposed changes to workplace laws tabled in parliament last week.

NatRoad Chair Paul Fellows says his Board received a personal briefing on the legislation from Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Tony Burke and assurances the legislation will not hurt owner drivers.

“The Minister gave us his guarantee that owner operators will not be disadvantaged,” Fellows says.

“That wasn’t the case under the former Road Safety and Remuneration Tribunal which was deeply flawed and set rates so high that small operators were devastated.

“We note that the Fair Work Commission cannot make an order without lengthy consultation, input from industry advisors and having due regard to commercial realities.

“We are grateful for the personal briefing from Minister Burke and note his assurance that any FWC orders will be framed to preserve and even enhance the viability and competitiveness of owner drivers.”

RELATED STORY: NatRoad partners with Monash University for road safety study

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says Minister Burke has committed to continue working with NatRoad and other industry representatives to ensure the Commission has the power to make ‘road transport industry contractual chain orders’ to confer rights and impose obligations on contractual chain participants.

“Minimum standards are not new in road transport and many operators are already covered by state awards that set these out,” Mr Clark said.

“If this works in tandem with the previously new unfair contracts law taking effect in November, we hope to see fewer small road transport operators being held to ransom by big companies.”

The new legislation has also gained support from Australian Road Transport Industry Organisation national secretary and Victorian Transport Association CEO Peter Anderson.

“From an employer perspective this legislation, when passed, will unlock our industry’s great potential and truly professionalise how it operates,” Anderson says.

“Having minimum standards in place ensure equality of competition and greater efficiency of the road transport industry amid increasing demands on current processes and operations.

“By establishing and maintaining enforceable standards through this legislation, the road transport industry in Australia aims to ensure the well-being of its workers, promote fairness, and safeguard its critical role in Australia’s economic landscape.”


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