Push continues for RSRT to focus on retail

Tribunal urged at first meeting to drive the agenda and to look at gaining greater depth of knowledge and detail facts surrounding truck-related road accidents

By Rob McKay | November 28, 2012

How the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT)
can go about its work effectively, the sort of truck accident information it might need and a focus on supermarket supply chains dominated its first meeting, the recently released transcript shows.

Conducted in Melbourne but with video conferencing to other states, the broad attendance was weighted mostly towards unions and industry and employer groups.

Tribunal President Jennifer Acton cast the hearing as part of its consultative process.

Reflecting the tenor of written submissions to the tribunal on how its work program should function and what it should focus on, oral submissions supported it taking a sequential sectoral approach to proceedings to give it structure.

An early exchange between Acton and Transport Workers Union (TWU) barrister Adam Hatcher and Acton concerned how proactive the tribunal should be, with Acton asking if the union knew what it wanted the content of road safety remuneration orders to be and Hatcher replying that this depended on the work program subject matter eventually is.

Acton raised the possibility that the industry drives the "manageability" of the program and its timetable in a way similar to the award modernisation process.

This would see the tribunal then engage in consultations around the country based on the weight of industry submissions, which themselves would tend to "give a bit of focus up front" to proceedings.

Hatcher, however, argued that, following submissions and consultation,
"the statute requires the tribunal to itself to drive the process forward to a considerable degree".

On truck accident intelligence, Phil Lovel, representing the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) and the Australian Rod Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) presented a VTA collation of truck accident information gained from liaison with Victoria Police.

The statistics, based on individual police reports and controlled strictly by the force, include only the date, time, location, incident type, cargo and conditions at the times of incidents.

They showed that there were 163 heavy vehicle incidents in the state between February and September, with 30 percent of those being rollovers.

But valuable and rare as this information was, Lovel pointed to the amount of information that was not included and that is not part of the police investigations or reporting processes.

"They certainly don’t look at conditions of engagement, employment, anything like that, so that’s why this tribunal is pretty important to actually have a look at those sorts of circumstances and identify … what are the issues and can we identify what the issues are," Lovel says.

At the close of proceedings, both Hatcher and Lovel pointed to the retail sector as a useful starting point for the tribunal’s work program, given their position at the centre of several supply chains.

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