Transport Industry News

ATA comments on government report on Closing Loopholes Bill

The ATA has called for owner drivers to be more involved in the construction of the Closing the Loopholes bill.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has welcomed the federal government’s Senate report on the Closing the Loopholes Bill, released last week.

However, ATA CEO Mathew Munro says that the sections relating to road transport still require amendments.

The government senators on the committee recommended that the bill be passed with amendments in order to enable the Fair Work Commission to make minimum standards orders for owner drivers.

Their report proposes that the bill be amended to empower the commission to make orders in relation to the whole contract chain, not just owner drivers. At present, the bill would enable the government to make regulations about this.

Munro says that ensuring these powers are embedded in the bill will give the industry greater certainty.

“Road transport industry contractual chain orders will be as important as road transport minimum standards orders. Accordingly, the Act should set out the commission’s powers, rather than leaving them to regulation later,” he says.

“The report argues for a new failsafe mechanism to enable the minister, or the commission on application, to defer or suspend an order while the commission reviews it.

“The case for the failsafe mechanism is that this would be a new role for the commission that would involve issuing orders about business-to-business transactions.

“Again, it’s important that the failsafe mechanism is in the Act rather than leaving it to regulation.”

The ATA also calls for owner drivers to be involved in the next step of the process and be included on a road transport advisory group subcommittee when minimum standards orders covering owner drivers are being considered.

“Owner drivers or their representative should hold a majority of positions on any advisory committee looking at orders relating to owner drivers,” Munro says.

“I want to thank Minister Tony Burke and his staff for their willingness to listen to the arguments that the ATA has put forward on behalf of our members.”

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