The transport industry has accused the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) of overlooking the impact of its decision to not delay the commencement date of the minimum rates order.
The Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 (RSRO) came into effect recently.
The decision surprised many in the transport industry who expected the implementation date to be in October.
An article on Fullyloaded.com.au detailed the decision and the criticism from the transport industry.
ATA CEO Christopher Melham spoke about the decision saying it carried the risk of driving thousands of small business operators and owner-drivers out of business. He went on to explain:
“The decision will have a devastating impact on the industry.
“The ATA’s motto is viability, professionalism and viability; viability of the transport industry and viability of the operators.
“The current order puts the viability of over 40,000 small business operators at risk.
“ATA is not prepared to sit and allow this to happen considering the massive impact to the entire road transport industry.
Mr Melham went on to say that his organisation would be participating in official consultations with the Department of Employment and other stakeholders to review the issue of mandatory rates for contractor drivers.
He went on to state that consultations would be continuing through April and the ATA would urge decision makers to come up with a solution by the end of the month.
NatRoad was also critical of the decision, saying the Tribunal failed to acknowledge the impact that their decision would have on the livelihoods of people and had the potential of driving thousands of Australian owner drivers to bankruptcy.
CEO Warren Clark explained,
“The decision comes despite more than 800 submissions and three days of hearings over Easter when hirers and owner drivers, summonsed under threat of six months imprisonment to give evidence, told the Tribunal that the Order spelled ruin for their small businesses, loss of their homes and devastation of rural communities,”
“Rather than pay heed to vast numbers of submissions criticising the ambiguities in the Order and the catastrophic and unfair consequences of imposing a two tiered rate system on the transport industry, the Tribunal has sought to blame industry associations and the Fair Work Ombudsman for any uncertainty and confusion.
Hundreds of owner drivers have written in to the Tribunal about their concerns.
NatRoad said it would continue to act against the unfair effect of the decision.