It looks like the infamous ‘Order’ put out by the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal just before Christmas last year may be put onto the back burner, but the trucking industry needs to keep the pressure on to guarantee a delay. NatRoad did its bit this week with an appearance in front of the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee, emphasising the unfair nature of the rates regime which would follow any implementation of the Contract Drivers Order.
NatRoad’s Policy Director, Grant Johnson, kept the debate concentrated on the essential issues at the heart of this matter, during the hearing. This is the level of concentration the trucking industry needs to maintain for the next few years, in order to keep reform on track and prevent more road blocks to productivity being formed.
The immediate issue is the one around the RSRT and, yes, we need to keep up the intensity and ensure the proposed delay in implementation actually takes place. However, it doesn’t stop there, there are plenty of other areas where the trucking industry, as a whole has to keep up its targeted efforts.
The general consensus is the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is a good thing and making real progress. It is also up against it when trying to break down the walls set up by the bureaucracy to frustrate its more progressive ideas. This is where we can help, we are the subject matter experts here and can talk to anyone who will listen about the need for change and the effectiveness of the changes the NHVR is proposing.
This process also needs trucking to do more than just keep its nose clean for the next few months. There must be no box ticking, she’ll be right mate thinking allowed. The only way reform is going to come to fruition is when government are comfortable about the way trucking regulates itself.
Many of the reforms being led by the NHVR depend on the existence of a responsible industry, not a bunch of operators doing the paperwork to get their accreditation and then operating in a way which would compromise the genuine integrity of the scheme they have joined.
Having the sticker on the door is not enough, any more. If stories of operators flaunting the rules for economic gain filter down through the system, the forces lined up to frustrate progress, especially in state authorities, will be able to persuade ministers not to sign off on the next stage of national integration.
We cannot afford to let this happen. We are too far down the track and are starting to see a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel. Now, is the time for concentrated effort to ensure our wayward brethren are pulled back into line and genuinely embrace a new culture of compliance and responsible operation.