The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal saga took another turn again yesterday when the Federal Court removed the stay on the Order. On Thursday afternoon word came through to the effect, the Contractor Driver Order was no longer held under a stay by the court but now in place.
The Full Federal Court sitting in Brisbane dismissed NatRoad’s application for a stay of the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 pending the hearing of its application, set down to be heard on May 9 and 10.
Essentially, this means the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 is in force and parties are required to comply with it as at 4.15pm April 7. This has been a continual on/off/on again/off again/on again story over the past seven days.
“Today’s decision by the Full Federal Court not to continue to stay the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s order imposing minimum rates for contractor drivers, is disappointing and worrying,” said Innes Willox, Australian Industry Group CEO. “The Tribunal’s order will increase costs for industry and consumers. The order also threatens jobs and work for contractor drivers, and harm to regional and rural areas which are heavily reliant on road transport.
NatRoad has announced it will withdraw its legal challenge to the Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016, following the Federal Court decision. NatRoad CEO, Warren Clark, said he was dismayed by the decision of the Federal Court and the industry body has now been priced out of the fight.
“We are disappointed at this decision to implement the RSRT 2016,” said Clark. “Throughout this fight, we have been at the coal face working for our members and all small to medium transport businesses. Sadly, NatRoad has exhausted its legal challenge and fought the Order as far as possible in the courts. As a member-based organisation, we can no longer justify the excessive cost of pursuing legal action.
“The fate of 35,000 mum and dad business now lies in the hands of the politicians. The people we elect to run this country need to open their eyes and view the real effect that this legislation will have on many of the people who vote for them.
“Minister Cash will introduce a bill into parliament at the next sitting and the people of Australia that make this country a great place to live will be able to see who is prepared to support them. This country was built on the hard working people that this legislation will send to the wall. We strongly urge every Parliamentarian to support the government’s Bill.
“Until then, NatRoad will be here to help sort through the absolute mess that the RSRT and the Fairwork Ombudsman have created.”
There is a possibility of further court action replacing the stay on the Order, but this is no way certain. Otherwise the trucking industry will have to wait until Parliament returns on April 18 and hope one of the bills proposed to stop the order until January 1 2017, or repeal the original Act, can be passed in both houses.