DRAFT REMUNERATION ORDER
The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has rejected the draft Road Safety Remuneration Order (RSRO) – Contractor Driver Minimum Payment Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 – in its current form.
The RSRO proposes to establish mandatory minimum payments for all contract drivers, usually known as owner-drivers.
ALRTA President Grant Robins said the draft RSRO is unworkable in the rural transport sector.
“The Australian road transport industry is made up of many different types of vehicles, freight, tasks, operating conditions and prevailing charging structures. It is simply not possible to set one type of minimum rate for the entire freight contracting industry”, said President Robins.
“The rural transport sector is particularly complex. Owner-drivers are prime contractors one day and sub-contractors the next. A single return trip can involve multiple customers and destinations, mixed loads, part loads, empty running between some loading points, and ‘side work’ that happens to fit in with the primary task being undertaken,” he said.
“The minimum rates as proposed do not take this complexity into account and will lead to increased confusion and disputes. Some trucks would have to run empty even when there is viable freight available because the proposed rates are too simplistic and far too high,” he said.
In a submission to the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, the ALRTA has also cited concerns that the RSRO will push owner-drivers out of the industry in favour or employee drivers.
“On first glance, some owner-drivers may be attracted to the prospect of an increase in their rates. However, prime contractors who use their own vehicles staffed with employee drivers will not be subject to the minimum rates in the draft order and will be free to accept work at comparatively lower rates”, said President Robins.
“Prime contractors will not sub-contract work to owner-drivers when they are forced to pay rates in excess of that which they are charging as the prime contractor. This will effectively price owner-drivers out of the market and will force a structural shift towards employee drivers. The big fleets will get bigger and this will come at the expense of smaller operators, many of whom will lose their business and personal assets during the transition”, he said.
The ALRTA has identified a range of other problems with the RSRO including new layers of red-tape arising from increased audits, impacts on pre-existing contracts and the apparent requirement to pay contract drivers for long rest breaks.
IMPROVED HML ACCESS IN SA
There was more good news flowing from the South Australian 90-day Review into Agricultural Transport last week with the announcement that HML access has been approved for 18 Viterra sites across SA.
The 90-day project was an initiative between Primary Producers SA, Primary Industries and Regions SA and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure and led to the release of the report A Modern Transport System for Agriculture: a new partnership approach in March.
LRTASA President David Smith has welcomed the latest announcement.
“We have been steadily chipping away at the list of 184 issues raised in the report. This decision will significantly improve transport efficiency and farm productivity for South Australian businesses this coming harvest” said President Smith.
“It’s another win for the whole State and there is still more to come”, he said.
Other key reforms from the 90-day project to date include:
- The approval of quad road train combinations between Port Augusta and the Northern Territory border
- The introduction of tri-axle dollies for use in road train combinations
- Reduced driver logbook reporting red tape
- Simplifying systems for registering multiple farm vehicles
Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis released this document: Boost to Strzelecki Track proposal with Infrastructure Australia rating: Strzelecki Track
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‘SAVE THE DATE’
17th & 18th June 2016
The 31st Annual Conference
@ the Adelaide Entertainment Centre