National Farmers' Federation

Farmers urge Government to scrap the RSRT

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has today backed the findings of two reports recommending the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) be abolished, and called on the Coalition Government to act quickly to protect thousands of rural businesses from financial ruin.
The RSRT has made two enforceable orders since its establishment in 2012. The first order imposes onerous record keeping requirements, while the second order increases commercial transport rates by up to 350 per cent and prices most long distance owner drivers out of work from Monday, 4 April 2016.
NFF President Brent Finlay noted the Coalition’s election commitment to urgently review the RSRT and said the review could not come quickly enough.
“The NFF has always been concerned about the likely impact of the RSRT on the Australian economy,” Mr Finlay said.
“Market competition and efficiency cannot exist where government agencies regulate market rates, and the new rules mean most small mum and dad businesses won’t be able to compete with large transport companies.
“The notion that substantially increasing transport costs and red tape will somehow improve road safety just doesn’t stack up. We already have a National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, with responsibility for chain of responsibility legislation, fatigue management and safety accreditation. We also have some of the strongest work health and safety laws in the world.”
The release of the reports comes as stunned farmers and small businesses across the country come to grips with today’s decision of the RSRT not to delay the second order to give businesses more time to understand what it means and, if necessary, exit the industry with
“It defies belief that the RSRT would ignore the pleas of more than 800 businesses for a delay while further work is done to address gaps in the system, including back loading and multiple hires,” Mr Finlay said.
“No genuine effort has been made to explain clearly what the order means, or to help people understand how it impacts on them.”
The Minister for Employment, Michaelia Cash, has announced consultations, including in regional areas, to consider the released reports and the NFF will be participating in those consultations, and advocating for an end to the RSRT, in the interests of rural and regional Australia.

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