ALC says 'Safe Rates' will not deliver safer industry

ALC chief Michael Kilgariff is lobbying the Federal Government to do away with the 'Safe Rates' Tribunal

ALC says 'Safe Rates' will not deliver safer industry
Michael Kilgariff strongly opposes the existence of the RSRT

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has called for the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) to be abolished under the Federal Government’s promised action against red and green tape.

The freight and logistics peak body, which opposed its formation, describes the tribunal as "a significant legislative over-reach by former Government" that should be ended, in a submission to the Department of Employment’s review of the RSRT, announced by Employment Minister Eric Abetz two months ago.

"The Road Safety Remuneration Act 2012 was not substantiated by the Regulatory Impact Statement prepared at the time and is a prime candidate for inclusion in the omnibus legislation to be presented on Repeal Day in March", ALC Managing Director Michael Kilgariff says.

"The Legislation duplicates obligations already contained in workplace health and safety laws – which require a person conducting a business or undertaking to follow the As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP) concept – as well as modern industrial awards made by Fair Work Australia.

"There are also in existence industry safety codes, such as the National Logistics Safety Code, setting out clearly all participants’ responsibilities when they control or influence the movement of freight in the supply chain, particularly road transport laws, that create a culture of continuous improvement in the industry.

"Industry has spent many years working with Government on the creation of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, which is due to formally commence on 14 February 2014 and is to administer the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

"That Law establishes a national approach to Chain of Responsibility, which places obligations on all responsible persons in the supply chain, which will ultimately be administered by the National Regulator.

"ALC believes that the developing expertise of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, Chain of Responsibility obligations established by the Heavy Vehicle National Law, Work Health and Safety laws, and the National Logistics Safety Code of Practice are the key to improving safety in the industry – which has improved over the last decade.

"Adding another arm of regulation by Fair Work Australia will not deliver a safer industry and will just undermine efficiency and impose needless costs on Australia’s supply chains."

Kilgariff’s comments follow the release of the RSRT’s Road Transport and Distribution and Long Distance Operations Road Safety Remuneration Order 2014, which imposes a number of new legal obligations on road transport operators, according to Cooper Grace Ward lawyer Gillian Bristow.

"The draft 2014 Order orginally required hirers to pay contractors a ‘reasonable amount’ for any work," Bristow states in a legal advisory.

"‘Work’ was defined as including waiting time, re-fuelling time and time taken recording information.

"The Tribunal has removed references to the amount that contractors must be paid but has indicated that the 2014 Order is likely to be varied to include minimum payment provisions.

"The President of the Tribunal has indicated that a conference of ‘interested parties’ will be convened in the near future on the issue of rates of pay for employee and contractor drivers."

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