Independent member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, has welcomed the intervention by the Federal Court which has delayed the introduction of minimum pay rates for owner truck drivers. Ms McGowan said the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) Order was due to come into effect from today.
Ms McGowan said many owner-drivers had contacted her to voice their concerns with the RSRT order.
“This Order would force owner and sub-contracted truck drivers to charge minimum pay rates,” Ms McGowan said. “Private operators argue the RSRT order discriminates against small enterprises, often family-operated trucking businesses, who would be forced to charge consumers above market rates.
In February, Ms McGowan wrote to the Minister for Employment, Senator Michaelia Cash, and the Minister for Transport, Darren Chester, urging the Government to act urgently. Ms McGowan then contacted constituents to inform them she had asked the Government to intervene.
During March 2016, the Tribunal received more than 50 submissions from truck drivers and peak bodies, including the Australian Industry Group (AI Group), National Transport and Roads Association (NatRoads) and the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) seeking to varying the minimum rates order. Preliminary hearings and mentions were also conducted over the Easter long-weekend.
Ms McGowan said the delay to introduce minimum rates was welcome news; however, balanced consideration must be given to ensure the transport industry remains vibrant and competitive in regional Australia.
“Indi relies heavily on transport, manufacturing, primary production and the productivity of small businesses. Fair work laws must take into account the impact on the regional economy,” Ms McGowan said.
Ms McGowan thanked owner-drivers for making submissions and participating in the Tribunal process.