LBCA 2016: Livestock transporters, bulk carriers want the RSRT gone

By: Brad Gardner, Photography by: Greg Bush


LBCA members vote unanimously in favour of campaigning against the RSRT and minimum rates.

LBCA 2016: Livestock transporters, bulk carriers want the RSRT gone
On the offensive: LBCA executive director Robert Gunning.

 

The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) can add the Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association (LBCA) to its list of enemies, with the group vowing to fight against its ongoing survival and the introduction of minimum rates for owner-drivers.

The LBCA used part of its annual conference this year to secure the unanimous support of its members to campaign against the RSRT and its intention to mandate hourly and kilometre payments for owner-drivers from next month.

Similar to NatRoad and the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), the LBCA is concerned the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order will price many owner-drivers out of work.

LBCA executive director Robert Gunning says the group is looking to form alliances with groups opposed to the tribunal and its minimum rates order.

"We want to work for the abolition. As an association we are building alliances. We have a good alliance with NatRoad, which we are strengthening all the time," Gunning says.

"The association is really determined to get into this battle, we are in the battle, we are fighting."

LBCA president Jock Carter says not enough information has been provided about minimum rates to help the trucking industry understand its obligations.

"It is outrageous the way the whole thing has unfolded," he says.

"To have a situation where you have got this complex legislation being rolled out and no-one really having a clear understanding of exactly how it is going to work, who is affected, is outrageous. I mean, it is bullshit. That is the only word for it."

Carter is also critical of the definitions contained in the RSRT’s order.

"I regard myself as pretty well educated and a lot of the definitions and things in there are just complicated and difficult and they don’t reflect the definitions that we use every day," he says.

He says he understands the tribunal and the subsequent minimum rates order came about to address problems of low rates of pay and owner-drivers being screwed over in the general freight sector.

"The problem is, what they have put in place to try and fix that has got far more broad reaching consequences that affect everyone," Carter says.

Indeed, the RSRT’s order applies to any owner-driver hauling freight for sale or hire in a supermarket supply chain and any owner-driver working in the linehaul sector (interstate trips that exceed 200km or where a return journey exceeds 500km).

After securing the support of LBCA members to campaign against the tribunal and minimum rates, Gunning urged them to get out and make their case to politicians.

"We need to get active. If we sit here and just think it is going to happen elsewhere and it is all too hard, nothing will happen. We can make it happen but you have to get out there and talk to your local MP," he says.

A number of industry representative associations will get their chance to delay the introduction of minimum rates when the RSRT holds a hearing on March 15.

The hearing will deal with applications from the Ai Group and NatRoad to delay the scheme until January 1 next year.

The tribunal will also hear an application from the Australian Long Distance Owner Drivers Association (ALDODA) to set an October 3 start date, and an application from the National Road Freighters Association (NRFA) for an indefinite delay.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) says it will oppose applications to delay minimum rates, arguing that the likes of NatRoad and Ai Group have not produced any evidence to support their claims.  

RSRT president Jennifer Acton noted last year that opponents of minimum rates were unable to provide evidence to show the payments were too high.

 

 

 

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