NatRoad hopes survey will help delay minimum rates for owner-drivers

By: Brad Gardner

Group urges contractor and hirers to provide their thoughts on new pay rates regime.


Industry representative group NatRoad is planning to use the results of a survey to lobby for minimum rates for owner-drivers to be delayed.

The group has launched a 20-question survey asking contractors and hirers of contractors to detail their thoughts on the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s (RSRT) decision to mandate minimum hourly and kilometre payments for owner-drivers from April 4.

The survey, which closes on February 5, asks contractors and hirers to answer if they believe the RSRT’s order will positively affect their business, if it will negatively affect the industry and if they understand the possible effects of the order on their operations.

It also asks contractors questions on negotiating rates, written contracts, payment methods and types of work they perform.

Hirers are asked if they provide written contracts, which the RSRT requires, how they negotiate rates and if they will continue to use contractors from April 4.

NatRoad says it is pushing for minimum rates to be delayed by at least six months to give the industry more time to understand and comply with its obligations.

"This survey is the most important survey of members that has been undertaken by NatRoad and will assist NatRoad to lobby for the delay in the implementation of the order," NatRoad says.

It adds that the order "effectively regulates against your ability to negotiate your rates within the marketplace".

As Owner//Driver has reported, the RSRT late last year handed down a decision requiring contractor drivers working in the supermarket distribution and linehaul sectors to be paid minimum rates.

The hourly and kilometre payments to be paid to owner-drivers will vary based on the work being performed and the equipment being used.

Owner-drivers will need to receive payment within 30 days for all work performed, including waiting to load or unload, taking rest breaks, filling out paperwork and more.

NatRoad says the industry is currently ill-prepared for the RSRT’s order and that many contractors are not well informed about it and the effect it will have on them.

"A number of Contractors have apparently already been advised that they cannot be guaranteed continuity of work particularly in relation to back loading, with others waiting to have their prime Hirers consider and advise them on their future," the group says on its website.

"Overall signs are that a substantial percentage of Contractors are concerned for their future and unable to fully comprehend the effects of the Order particularly in relation to those Contractors who are reliant on ad-hoc work obtained from a number of Hirers or brokers."


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