High Court no go: Industry targets political RSRO solution

By: Anjali Behl

NatRoad says it has been priced out of the legal battle, while ATA urges politicians to repeal the Act

High Court no go: Industry targets political RSRO solution
High Court challenge is beyond NatRoad's resources.


With the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 (RSRO) now in effect after yesterday’s Federal Court ruling, industry bodies are calling on the government to pass the bill to repeal the Road Safety Remuneration Act 2012 and abolish the Tribunal when the Parliament reconvenes in a fortnight.

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) is urging the government to intervene in the matter after its application to extend the temporary stay was rejected by the Federal Court in Brisbane yesterday.

A NatRoad spokesperson tells Owner//Driver that the association is not planning further legal action, such as seking urgent High Court intervention, due to financial constraints.

"Sadly, NatRoad has exhausted its legal challenge and fought the Order as far as possible in the courts," NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says.

"As a member-based organisation, we can no longer justify the excessive cost of pursuing legal action.

"The fate of 35,000 mum and dad business now lies in the hands of the politicians.

"The people we elect to run this country need to open their eyes and view the real effect that this legislation will have on many of the people who vote for them," he says.

NatRoad says it is "hopeful" that politicians will intervene to have the Order reversed. 

"Minister Michaelia Cash will introduce a bill into parliament at the next sitting and the people of Australia that make this country a great place to live will be able to see who is prepared to support them," Clark says.

"We strongly urge every Parliamentarian to support the government's bill.

"Until then, NatRoad will be here to help sort through the absolute mess that the RSRT and the Fairwork Ombudsman have created."

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) is also calling on the federal government to deal with the issues surrounding minimum rates order on priority.

"The ATA has moved on from legal proceedings after the Federal Court decision last night and is urging politicians to act in favour of thousands of owner-drivers whose lives will be affected by this Order," ATA CEO Christopher Melham tells Owner//Driver.

"The ATA has written to the prime minister, bringing to his attention the importance of this matter not just for the Australian trucking industry but also for the national economy.

"The tribunal’s decision was based on incorrect statistics and the government should not support implementation of this Order, which threatens the livelihoods of tens of thousands of transporters.

"The ATA is asking the Parliament, including the eight independent senators, to work together and pass the bill to repeal the Act and abolish the tribunal.

"We hope that common sense will prevail and the politicians will take action to help safeguard the livelihoods of these owner-drivers."

Meanwhile, the private contractor group Independent Contractors Australia has made a plea for monetary assistance to take the matter to the High Court.



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