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TWU demands ASBFEO explain 30-day pay remark

Union condemns Carnell's opposition to RSRT and minimum rates order; opposes NatRoad’s GCCD exemption plea


The Transport Workers Union (TWU) is less than impressed with Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell’s expression of support for a mandatory 30-day payment approach for the transport sector.

TWU wants the Ombudsman to explain why she opposed the Contractor Driver Minimum Payment Road Safety Remuneration Order (RSRO), which mandated that all drivers must be paid within 30 days of work, only to now recommend a similar approach.

The Ombudsman had recently stated that her office will urge the government to explore the possibility of a mandatory 30-day payment rule for all drivers in the trucking sector.

The suggestion will be part of ASBFEO’s report following a formal inquiry into the effects of the minimum rates order on small transport operators.

The union condemns the Ombudsman’s role in the campaign that led to the termination of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) in April.

“Kate Carnell helped abolish 30-day payment terms for drivers, now she will waste taxpayers’ money setting up an inquiry into bringing it back in,” Sheldon says.

“She has politicised the office of the independent Ombudsman and has abandoned small transport businesses to the wealthy clients which exploit them.”

The Ombudsman had earlier stated that her office is planning to launch a new inquiry on issues related to payment times and effects of existing industry practices. 

GCCD exemption opposition

The union opposed NatRoad’s application seeking exemption for its members from the changes to the NSW General Carriers Contract Determination (GCCD) before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission on Friday.

The determination originally only covered contractors and owner-drivers operating within the Sydney metropolitan area (Country of Cumberland) or those operating within 50km from the owner-driver’s home base, however, the commission expanded the scope of the determination to include all contracts of carriage, including those affecting interstate contractors operating within the state.

The commission is due to make its decision on rate-related issues, including fixed kilometer and hourly rates, later this year.

“This is a disgraceful attempt by industry lobbyists NatRoad to take money away from the most vulnerable elements of our industry – owner drivers,” TWU NSW branch secretary Richard Olsen says.

“NatRoad’s move should come as no surprise as they, along with the Australian Trucking Association, have done nothing but try to drag this industry down over the years: by opposing a requirement to pay drivers within 30 days of work; by opposing client accountability for safety and rates in their supply chains; and by opposing employee protections when safety and other working conditions are raised with employers and clients.”

A date for a hearing on the matter has been set for September 2.

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