Tribunal's annual work program casts a wide net

Road Safety Renumeration Tribunal to target several industry sectors and a wide range of practices

By Brad Gardner | November 5, 2012

The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) has jettisoned calls to focus exclusively on the retail sector and will instead cast a wide net when it begins scrutinising trucking practices next year.

Tribunal President Jennifer Acton has released a draft of the watchdog’s annual work program, which outlines sectors and practices to be investigated.

While the Transport Workers Union (TWU), Professor Michael Quinlan and owner-driver representative Frank Black all encouraged the tribunal to put retailers at the top of its list, Acton proposes adding the livestock, rural and linehaul sectors and their supply chains to it.

She says the tribunal’s work will not be limited to those sectors and that it will also look into remuneration, payment methods, working hours, time slot and queuing practices and tendering arrangements.

The list of practices to be put under the microscope also includes back loading, washout costs and delays, annual leave and superannuation, chain of responsibility and costing models.

In line with a recommendation from the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), the tribunal plans to examine the causes of accidents in the industry, including the relationship between remuneration and safety.

The full bench of the RSRT will sit on November 20 to hear feedback from the trucking industry on the proposed work program. The industry will also be able to provide its thoughts on how the tribunal’s inquiries should be conducted, including the timetable.

Stakeholders have been given until November 16 to lodge written submissions or suggestions with the tribunal.

"The Tribunal proposes to finalise the first annual work program and how it is to be conducted having regard to the submissions and suggestions put to it at the proceeding or in writing," Acton says in a statement.

In a recent address to the Ai Group's Personnel and Industrial Relations (PIR) Conference, Acton outlined the tribunal’s responsibilities to improve safety and fairness in the trucking industry.

The tribunal will be able to issue remuneration and remuneration-related orders to address areas it believes cause unsafe practices. Its rulings will be binding on employee drivers, contractors and the supply chain.

"The tribunal can make an order on its own initiative or on application by a road transport driver, employer or hirer, participant in the supply chain or relevant representative organisation or industrial association," Acton told the conference.

"A term of a road safety remuneration order takes precedence over instruments such as modern awards and enterprise agreements to the extent that a term of those instruments is less beneficial to a road transport driver than a term in the order."

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