NatRoad is fighting on two fronts as part of a campaign to help owner drivers and small operators in the face of challenges to their viability. A legal challenge is said, by NatRoad, to be opposed by a ‘coordinated club’ behind the NSW industrial changes in the General Carriers Interim Contract Carriers Determination, when they unanimously opposed an exemption for NatRoad members.
“We made this exemption application on behalf of members but also for industry to send a clear message that NatRoad will tackle these industrial changes head on and for as long as it takes,” said Warren Clark, NatRoad CEO. “NatRoad met face to face with the forces behind the unfair industrial changes to hear their verbal opposition to our call for an exemption.
“Today was the first step in what could be a long path to better understand the implications of these NSW industrial changes on the transport sector and NatRoad will continue to seek a seat at the table and raise our voice.
“These industrial changes are a public interest issue that can impact the economic viability of thousands of operators and the productivity of Australia, given that NSW is the major freight corridor in Australia.”
In the wake of the introduction and then repeal of the Road Safety Remuneration tribunal determination back in April, NatRoad are still picking up the pieces and trying to get government help for those affected.
The association has approached the Federal Government to offer a one-off package for small trucking businesses to get them back on the road with confidence.
“Our industry is experiencing hardship and we need to do something about it,” said Clark. “We are hearing first hand that people haven’t had work since April, they are struggling to make payments on their trucks and mortgages, experiencing anxiety and facing bankruptcy.
“We need to stabilise and support small trucking businesses to get them back on the road with confidence.”
The proposed package could includes
- A recovery concessional loan
- Household assistance for a set period
- Managing small trucking business program
- Access to financial counselling services
- Tailored advice from the Australian Taxation Office
- Taxation measures such as accelerated depreciation to lower the fleet age of owner driver vehicles and stimulate the industry.
“The one off package is similar to the Australian Government support for farming families and businesses affected by drought and other hardship,” said Clark. “Australians can’t move and sell their goods with only large trucking companies, we need a mix of specialists and smaller trucking businesses that have the flexibility to fill the gaps and take on a range of jobs.
“Owner drivers and small trucking businesses underpin the ability of many Australians to move and sell their goods – livestock, grain, timber, fish, retail freight, moving house, building supplies or medical supplies.
“Now is the time to support and strengthen small trucking businesses so that they can improve their business operations, become more resilient and contribute to a competitive industry.”