Online calculator help trucking industry determine pay rates for owner-drivers

By: Brad Gardner

New tool produces hourly and kilometre rates that owner-drivers need to receive.


An online calculator has been released to help owner-drivers and their hirers determine what minimum rates need to be paid from April 4.

The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) launched the calculator to make it easier for affected parties to make sure they are paying the correct hourly and kilometre rates set down in the tribunal’s Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order.

Released the in December last year, the order mandates minimum rates for owner-drivers involved in linehaul operations or delivering any goods destined for sale or hire in the supermarket supply chain.

The RSRT says linehaul involves interstate trips that exceed 200km or where a return journey exceeds 500km.

The calculator is a four-step process that asks information about the driver, the kind of work they will be providing and the type of vehicle and trailer to be used.

It will then produce the minimum hourly and minimum kilometre that must be paid. People can choose to have the figures emailed to them.

"The calculation takes less than five minutes and produces a minimum payment in the form of an hourly rate plus a per kilometre rate," the RSRT says.

"Individual drivers’ minimum pay will vary based on their transport worker grade, class of vehicle, their trailer or trailer combination, and whether they own the trailer or trailers.

The release of the online calculator follows criticism levelled against the tribunal and the body due to enforce minimum rates, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), for a lack of information about how the scheme will operate

Sections of the trucking industry have raised concerns the rates to be introduced on April 4 are too high and will discourage companies from using owner-drivers.

The development of minimum rates has been a lengthy process, with the tribunal beginning work in July 2013 before issuing its final ruling in December last year.

The order is designed to ensure owner-drivers are paid a viable rate to discourage them from cutting corners on vehicle maintenance and road safety to make a living. 

"The minimum payments apply throughout Australia to contractor drivers who supply their own vehicle and perform long distance or supermarket distribution work," the RSRT says.

A National Transport Commission (NTC) study in 2008 found a link between low rates of pay and poor safety in the trucking industry.

A regulatory impact statement released prior to the establishment of the RSRT found that 29 per cent of Australia’s 71,000 owner-drivers were working for less than the minimum wage


You can access the online calculator here.


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