At the eleventh hour, new hearings have been announced after calls by the trucking industry calling for a delay in the implementation of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Order. Time is ticking away quickly as the introduction, due on April 4, gets ever closer.
All around the country information meetings have been well attended as people in the trucking industry try to get a handle and come to terms with the ramifications of the Order. Many are not sure if they are covered by the order or not, and what this means for their business, as an owner driver.
“A major concern is the lack of information or even misinformation that has been made available by the Fair Work Ombudsman with many questions still to be answered with only 4 weeks to go before the commencement date,” said a message from NatRoad.
This morning, March 11, the RSRT has announced a series of hearings around the country to review the starting date of the Order. The meetings will take place on Tuesday March 15, the industry is being urged to attend or make submissions in large numbers to emphasise the seriousness of the situation.
The hearing will take place at:
- MELBOURNE – 10.00am at the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, 11 Exhibition Street, Melbourne
- SYDNEY – 10.00am at the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, Terrace Tower, 80 William Street, East Sydney
- CANBERRA – 10.00am at the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, CML Building, 17 – 21 University Avenue, Canberra
- HOBART – 10.00am at the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, Edward Braddon Commonwealth Law Courts Building, 39-41 Davey Street, Hobart
- ADELAIDE – 9.30am at the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, Level 6, Riverside Centre, North Terrace, Adelaide
- BRISBANE – 9.00am at the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, Central Plaza Two, Level 14, 66 Eagle Street, Brisbane
- DARWIN – 8.30am at the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, Level 10, NT House, 22 Mitchell Street, Darwin
- PERTH – 6.00am at the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, 111 St Georges Terrace, Perth
The RSRT has published a calculator on its website. However, reports as to its effectiveness have been mixed.
There is a petition calling on Senator Michaelia Cash to delay implementation to save the small trucking operators of Australia. Operators are also being urged to email the RSRT themselves at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for the implementation date to be put back in order for the industry to be prepared for the consequences.
Trucking operators are also urged to contact local media, talkback radio stations. and express their concerns about the Order. There is template letter at the NatRoad website for those who want to contact their local MP about the issue. Social media is using #savethetruckie or #RSRT to get the message out to the general public.
The media are picking up the story and it is running on local media across the country as well as getting some traction with the national media. As this momentum builds the Transport Workers Union, strong supporters of the order, are starting to get involved, pushing back against the protest and singing the praises of the RSRT.
The Australian Industry Group is also getting involved, representing business nationally. It has lodged an application for a delay.
“The Ai Group has moved to delay the implementation of a Road Safety Remuneration Order which is causing widespread concern and confusion in the road transport industry and the community,” said Innes Willox, Ai Group Chief Executive. “The application is supported by the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) whose members have expressed alarm at the impacts of the Order.
“The Order is currently set to come into effect on 4 April 2016. Ai Group’s application aims to protect the community from widespread job losses, damage to businesses and harm to rural and regional areas.
“There has been a great deal of concern in the community about the adverse effects of the Order, and confusion about what the Order requires. The Order sets minimum rates for thousands of contractor drivers which, in many cases, are much higher than the existing rates that are being paid.”