Call to delay minimum pay order for contract truckies

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Call to delay minimum pay order for contract truckies

NSW’s peak business organisation has urged the federal government to delay a road safety remuneration order that introduces minimum rates of pay for contract truckies, arguing businesses need more time to adjust to the complexities.

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NSW’s peak business body has urged the federal government to delay a road safety remuneration order that introduces minimum rates of pay for contract truckies, arguing businesses need more time to understand the complexities.  

Background 


Established in 2012 by the former Labor government, the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal has the power to make road safety remuneration orders (RSROs). These orders aim to address the economic incentives, pressures and practices that contribute to unsafe work practices in the road transport industry.
 
In December, last year, the tribunal issued an order on minimum payments for contractor drivers.

The Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 (2016 RSRO) is due to commence on 4 April 2016 and will, for the first time, set national minimum payments for certain contractor drivers in the road transport industry, specifically drivers involved in:
  • the distribution of goods destined for sale or hire by a supermarket chain, or
  • long distance operations in the private road transport industry.
The order also imposes requirements on the hirers of those contractor drivers and participants in the supply chain.

‘Industry needs more time’


According to Stephen Cartwright, CEO of the NSW Business Chamber, the order will create a huge disruption to the trucking industry and supply chain. 

“The decision introduces, for the first time ever, national minimum rates of pay for owner drivers. It also imposes complex contractual and auditing obligations on supply chain participants", he said. 

“The industry needs more time to come to terms with the order. 

“The order itself is incredibly complex: there are more than 2000 different hourly and kilometre rates in the order, and working out whether the order applies to your business and which rate applies to a particular trip is almost impossible. It’s just ridiculous. 

“I’ve heard reports of people who have called the Fair Work Ombudsman looking for help, only to be told they were not aware of the order and referring them back to the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, only to be sent back to the Ombudsman again. 

“The Ombudsman has recently changed key information on a ‘checklist’ on its website, and there is a real concern that the revised information is actually wrong. 

“The Chamber has already written to the Ombudsman to seek further clarity on its interpretation of a key part of the legislation.” 

Payments calculator not yet available


Appearing on behalf of the NSW Business Chamber in this matter was Australian Business Lawyers and Advisors whose chief executive, Nigel Ward, believes the necessary help is not being provided to affected businesses. 

“The Tribunal said that it would release an ‘online payments calculator’ to assist businesses to understand their obligations, but the calculator has still not been released, despite the rates coming into effect in less than six weeks,” Mr Ward said. 

“There is also a concern that the regulation will hurt those it is meant to be helping. One truck driver is so worried that the order will price owner-drivers out of the market that he has created a petition calling for a six-month delay to the order’s commencement. More than 500 people have signed the petition so far.”
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