Coalition to abolish safe rates tribunal if re-elected

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Coalition to abolish safe rates tribunal if re-elected

The Coalition has promised to abolish the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) and redirect funds to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) if it wins the next election.

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The Coalition has promised to abolish the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) and redirect funds to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) if it wins the next election.  

According to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the RSRT was set up by the former Labor government “solely to advantage the Transport Workers Union”.

He said the union’s argument that paying heavy vehicle drivers more would improve road safety was “not based on evidence or common sense” and that the RSR system was “predicated on this flawed claim”. 

“There is no evidence that the system has achieved any safety outcomes in its four years of operation nor that it will achieve any such outcomes going forward,” he said. 

Flawed system 


Turnbull said that whereas two recent reviews of the RSR system found the rationale for the system was flawed, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) was capable of delivering real and tangible road safety outcomes in the trucking industry.

“The NHVR administers the Heavy Vehicle National Law, and is responsible for regulating a range of safety-related measures including driver fatigue, speeding, loading requirements and for ensuring that supply chains share equal responsibility for ensuring standards are complied with,” he said. 

Turnbull said his government would redirect funding from the RSR system to the NHVR, if re-elected, and would consult with states and territories to determine how the funding would be best utilised by the NHVR to deliver tangible safety results. 

The government recently announced that when parliament resumes on 18 April, it would introduce a bill to suspend a controversial order of the RSRT setting minimum rates of pay for certain contract truckies. 

“The bill…will suspend the operation of the order…until such time as we take legislation to a new parliament to abolish the RSRS,” Turnbull said. 

'This should not be an election issue'


Shadow Minister for Employment Brendan O’Connor said it would be ‘dangerous’ for the Coalition to abolish the RSRT given evidence linking heavy vehicle driver pay and road safety.

“…when truck drivers are overworked, safety for all road users is jeopardised,” he said, calling on the government to convene a meeting with all affected parties – employers, workers, unions and owner operators.

Meanwhile, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), which represents trucking operators, welcomed the government’s election promise. 

“…the road safety remuneration system has not and will not improve safety outcomes at all,” said Chris Melham, ATA’s chief executive.

“The Australian trucking industry already has the most comprehensive road safety watchdog in the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).”

While Senator Glenn Lazarus supports abolishing the RSRT, he accused the Coalition of trying to bribe owner-drivers, who are 'going bust now', into re-electing it to government.

“This should not be an election issue," he said.

"This is an issue which should be solved now – not in August – not after an election – it must be solved now.

“I will be introducing a bill into the Senate during the week of 18 April 2016 to abolish the RSRT and the order.

 “We can get rid of the RSRT and the order next week. Let’s just get on with the job and do it next week.”
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