NatRoad is seeking urgent clarification on a move this week by the NSW Industrial Relation Commission to develop an RSRT clone. The plan is to broaden the scope and application of the NSW General Carriers Contract Determination (GCCD) to include the whole off the state.
“It appears to mirror the payment order and obligations that were thrust on owner drivers and the people who contracted them under the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal earlier this year,” said Warren Clark, NatRoad CEO. “Many small trucking businesses are in a holding pattern, waiting on the outcome of the election next week and this move at this time may add further uncertainty to the industry.
“The General Carriers Contract Determination has been in place since 1984, yet it seems to have been ramped up in the wake of the demise of the RSRT. We will be seeking urgent clarification from the NSW Industrial Relation Commission and working with our members on the implications of this move.
“We have heard from owner drivers across Australia in the wake of the RSRT experience and they all want greater consultation and communication when it comes to changes like this that can have a profound impact on their small businesses. Owner drivers also want the ability to set the price of their service and be competitive.”
NSW is a major freight corridor for Australia and the latest plan from the NSW Industrial Relation Commission extends the GCCD from the Sydney metropolitan area to the whole of NSW. This may well impact on any owner driver entering, transiting, or operating in NSW.
“We do not want a repeat of the RSRT which threatened the viability of 35,000 small trucking businesses and would have had a knock on impact to a number of industries reliant on the transport of goods,” said Clark. “Owner drivers are an integral part of the Australian economy. They underpin the ability of many Australians to move and sell their goods, farmers moving livestock, grain or produce, millers moving timber, deep sea fishers getting refrigerated fish to major markets, people moving house with a furniture removalists through to specialist trucking companies moving pathology and medical supplies.
“It appears that extending the General Carriers Contract Determination throughout NSW will see the principal contractor, your farmer, grocer, restauranteur, fishermen or homeowner, obligated to pay a certain rate with owner drivers unable to competitively pick up multiple small loads at once.”
According to Clark, the next 12 months will be critical for small trucking businesses and as a result NatRoad has established a new Owner Driver Working Group to provide a strong voice for owner drivers.