National Farmers' Federation

Supply Chain Welcomes Abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration System

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA), National Farmers Federation (NFF) and the Council of Small Business Associations (COSBOA) have welcomed the abolition of the damaging and unfair Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.
Yesterday, the Road Safety Remuneration Repeal Bill 2016 was passed by both Houses of the Australian Parliament. The Bill will take effect from Friday, 22 April 2016. It abolishes the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal and brings an end to the damaging Orders made by the Tribunal in 2014 and 2016.
ALRTA National President Kevin Keenan said that the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 (2016 Order) had caused widespread damage in just one week of operation and that the Coalition Government and cross bench Senators had acted responsibly in supporting its removal.
“The ALRTA has been calling for the abolition of this Tribunal for years and I am relieved that the Australian Parliament has acted decisively to prevent the ruin of 35,000 mum and dad trucking companies right around Australia,” said President Keenan.
“The Tribunal showed us time and time again that it would not listen to the very owner drivers it was meant to protect.”
“We told the Tribunal about the damage that would flow from its 2016 Order in our formal submissions. Despite the very public pleas of over 800 industry participants, the Tribunal showed no compassion, refusing any form of delay and dismissing all of the problems we had identified.”
“As soon as the 2016 Order came into effect I was inundated with calls telling me that hirers had stopped using owner drivers and that finance companies were turning them away. Very good businesses came to a complete standstill overnight,” he said.
NFF President Brent Finlay said that abolition would immediately restore confidence in the supply chain.
“The 2016 Order drove up freight rates by as much as 350 per cent and exposed farmers to longer working hours, fewer transport options, new red tape and hefty fines,” said President Finlay.
“We can’t forget the huge flow on effects the 2016 Order would have had on small rural businesses around the country.”
“At the end of the day, the Tribunal had to go. Having achieved that certainty in the Senate last night, farmers can once again be confident that safe and affordable transport arrangements of longstanding can continue,” he said.
CEO of COSBOA Peter Strong said that the Tribunal was a mechanism to extend union control and political influence under the false pretence of improving safety.
“I am still outraged that a government tribunal could be so dismissive of the interests of small owner drivers and deliver outcomes that clearly favoured the larger, more unionised transport companies,” said Mr Strong.
“The Tribunal’s true colours were on show yesterday when it entertained a TWU proposal to delay the 2016 Order, after angrily refusing to consider a similar proposal from industry less than three weeks ago, and on the same day that the repeal Bill was scheduled to be heard in the Parliament.”
“I sincerely thank the Coalition Government and cross bench Senators who took the time to listen to the facts and urgently acted to repeal this flawed system. It has undoubtedly saved family businesses and saved lives,” he said.

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