ARTIO call to back safe rates tribunal

ARTIO has urged the industry to back the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal for the sake of safety

July 6, 2012

The Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) has urged the industry to back the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal for the sake of safety.

Fresh from welcoming the inclusion as tribunal members of Queensland trucking stalwart
Tim Squires and ARTIO advisor Paul Ryan, on behalf of the Victorian Transport Association, Phil Lovel, as ARTIO National Secretary/Treasurer, backed the initiative.

Lovel says it is important for the industry to get behind the tribunal and to support its research and decisions because it provides an opportunity to create safer working conditions for truck drivers.

"It is a fact that transport operators and truck drivers do face pressures from other supply chain parties which lead to adverse safety and commercial outcomes,’ Lovel says.

"While, road laws, workplace health and safety laws and vehicle standards have played a role in improving safety in the industry, they have not provided the silver bullet to respond to these commercial pressures."

The organisation has long been supportive of the initiative.

It sought having a 'safe rates panel' within Fair Work Australia following release of the Safe Rates, Safe Roads Directions Paper in November 2010.

But it insists that tribunal outcomes should be about safety and not money, and that any extra cost be borne by clients.

In his address to the Safe Rates Summit last year, Squires, representing the ARTIO Queensland branch, said: "Let’s talk about safe rates ... sustainable rates, sustainable incomes and sustainable profit margins.

"Legislation needs to be a mechanism by which all in the supply chain ... (have) the opportunity to be heard.

"There is a responsibility to address education and cultural change to guarantee safety within the industry."

The position of the ARTIO is in contrast to that of the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), which believes transport and logistics industry codes of practice offer a more effective and less intrusive path to safety.

The ALC’s most recent move in the area, the Coal Seam Gas Logistics Safety Code of Practice launched last month, looks set for extended utilisation, with the first licensee, Origin Energy, and its partners approving a second gas production train this week for their Curtis Island project off Gladstone.

On Monday, ALC CEO Michael Kilgariff pledged to lobby the Federal Government if tribunal decisions limited "industry’s ability to manage its own commercial affairs in a strategically appropriate way".

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