Increase rates for southbound trips, tribunal told

Small freight operator wants prime contractors to pay the same rate for northbound and southbound trips

By Brad Gardner | October 16, 2012

Prime contractors should be forced to pay the same rate for northbound and southbound trips, the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal has been told.

A small family-run general freight carrier, which does not identify itself, has written to the tribunal questioning why trucking operators have to settle for a lower rate on the southbound leg of a journey.

It says the northbound trip of one of its contracts pays $72 per tonne, but the rate falls to $50 per tonne when its trucks travel south.

"We use more fuel travelling south than north, it takes a similar amount of time to load and tarp, yet the rate is lower. We are paid on the tonnage rate and not compensated for the long delays in loading and unloading, nor any second delivery points," the anonymous submission reads.

"Other industries are not penalised by which direction they travel. Nor are they paid less for different aspects of their job. So why does the long haul transport industry get paid less for south bound?"

The company says the northbound rate must not be lowered to match the southbound rate, claiming it would increase the need to work longer hours and cut costs on maintenance to cover expenses.

"Please, consider matching the south bound rate to the north bound," the company writes.

The tribunal has asked for submissions on areas it should investigate as part of its role of addressing remuneration-related practices that encourage dangerous behaviour.

It is currently developing an annual work program that will outline what the tribunal intends to scrutinise from next year.

The tribunal has the power to set pay rates and conditions for employee drivers and owner-drivers if it believes doing so will improve safety. It can also hear disputes between parties in the transport supply chain.

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