Ombudsman: TWU's RSRT claim wrong

ASBFEO says it consulted both owner-drivers and industry groups before supporting abolition of RSRT


The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) office has brushed off claims by the Transport Workers' Union (TWU) that the Ombudsman did not consult with owner-drivers before expressing her support for the abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).

Following a meeting with Small business ombudsman Kate Carnell in Sydney last Friday, the union accused her of abandoning her duty towards owner-drivers and siding with "organisations representing transport companies and big clients" while supporting the abolition of the "only national body" capable of allowing small business transport companies to hold multi-billion dollar clients to account.

The ASBFEO rejects the claim.

A spokesperson for the ASBFEO tells Owner//Driver that Carnell not only spoke with industry groups but also a "significant" number of owner-drivers during the consultation phase.

"Ms Carnell consulted with a range of stakeholders regarding the RSRT, including a significant number of mum and dad owner-truck drivers, who contacted the ASBFEO fearful of the damaging impact the RSRT’s Payment Order would have on their livelihood," the spokesperson says.

"Ms Carnell also spoke with representatives from various industry groups including the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) and the Australian Industry Group (AiG)."

The union has demanded Carnell to withdraw her support from the lobby opposed to the Road Safety Remuneration System and call for the tribunal to be reinstated.

"We are calling on Ms Carnell to publicly recant her position on the tribunal and call for the reestablishment of the body that can simultaneously ensure cost recovery for small businesses and help save lives on our roads," TWU NSW secretary Michael Aird says.

"Ms Carnell should either publicly back the reinstatement of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal or just go ahead and rename herself the Big Business Ombudsman."

The TWU says the Ombudsman’s failure to consult with union members was a "disgraceful abdication" of her duty towards owner-drivers.

"The TWU represents thousands of small business owner drivers here in NSW, yet Ms Carnell never consulted with us or our members before publicly and vociferously advocating for the abolition of the tribunal.

The ASBFEO spokesperson did not comment on the Ombudsman’s plan regarding calling for the reinstatement of the tribunal.

Carnell had earlier questioned RSRT’s approach and effects of the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 (RSRO) on small transport enterprises.

Last week, the federal parliament voted in favour of the abolition of the tribunal.


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