Federal Govt is considering RSRT review's findings

By: Brad Gardner

The Federal Government has received the review of the RSRT but won’t say when it will be released


The review of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) has landed with the Federal Government, but no timeframe has been set on when it will be released.

Consultant Rex Deighton-Smith was late last year given the job of reviewing the RSRT, which the Coalition opposes, and presenting his findings in the first quarter of 2014.

The review was designed to examine if the RSRT was an effective means of addressing safety. The office of employment Minister Eric Abetz has confirmed it has received the findings and is currently examining them.

"The government has received the report and is carefully considering it.  The report will be released in due course," a spokesman for Abetz says.

Labor fears the RSRT is destined for the scrapheap given the Coalition when in opposition refused to support the tribunal’s establishment.

Labor MP for Perth Alannah MacTiernan this week moved a motion in Parliament calling on the government to retain the tribunal. 

She says the RSRT, which has the power to set rates and conditions for contractors and owner-drivers, is necessary to improve safety in the trucking industry.

"The link between trucking accidents and the contract conditions of owner-drivers has been established beyond reasonable doubt in report after report," she says.

However, Liberal MP Tony Pasin claims there is no evidence that rates of pay affect safety and that the creation of the tribunal is against the interest of truck drivers.

"The very establishment of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal does them a disservice because it pre-assumes that the majority of road accidents are actually the fault of the heavy vehicle driver," Pasin says.

"That is false and does them, as I say, a great disservice."

Labor’s Chris Hayes has previously spoken in favour of the RSRT and says the government should leave it in place.

"The tribunal should be left alone by this government and allowed to get on and do its job, which is to make our roads safer for everybody," he says.

As part of the review, Deighton-Smith looked at whether or federal or state and territory regulations were more appropriate to improve heavy vehicle safety.

Andrew Broad, who represents the Victorian seat of Mallee for the Nationals, told Parliament greater emphasis should be put on upgrading roads to improve safety.

"The thing that is driving safety is not so much the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, it is improving roads. That is really what our focus should be," he says.

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