Industry bodies look to post-election RSRT outlook

NatRoad and SARTA see positives from campaign that will help agendas

Industry bodies look to post-election RSRT outlook
Warren Clark has huge concerns about public ignorance of the industry.


With the dust barely settled on the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s (RSRT’s) demise and an election to come, state and federal trucking bodies are looking to what the next federal government might do.

Unsurprisingly, give Labor leader Bill Shorten has indicated his side, if it wins, will resuscitate the body, that outcome is of deep concern to those that opposed it, while others are also looking to raise the industry’s game and profile as one of the lessons learnt so far this year.

National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) CEO Warren Clark tells Owner//Driver the mobilisation against the RSRT showed how persuasive a significant section of the industry can be and the solidarity shown was of huge value.

"We can’t take our foot off what came out of it," Clark says.

But what he found alarming was the scale of public ignorance of the wider reality of the industry and the lack of meaningful consultation from government when fundamental moves affecting it are contemplated.

"When we want input from the industry, we want genuine input from industry," he says.

He believes federal transport minister Darren Chester displayed a genuine desire to support the industry during the meeting with industry organisations earlier this month, including on safety, unfair payment terms and tackling rogue operators through targeted enforcement.

Clark says this year will see the start of an effort to begin creating benchmarks towards a proper verifiable and agreed statistical about the industry.

But he also wants action on invoice payment delays along with mandating electronic and roll stability control.

South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) executive director Steve Shearer is another RSRT opponent who believes the RSRT resistance put into sharp relief the industry’s strengths and weaknesses.

He believes its chronic fragmentation and a lack of membership of industry organisations leaves many smaller players isolated, ignorant and vulnerable but says SARTA’s use of social media, along with general word-of-mouth, had helped get information many who were unaware.

He says the organisation had about 52,000 Facebook hits when the Federal Court issued a stay order on the RSRT’s own minimum rates order.

Now he is looking forward, saying the reality is "that we still have a very strong following and almost everyone is aware that the next challenge is to ensure that whoever is elected on July 2:

  • there is no return to an RSRT or anything like it or any price-fixing regime
  • governments focus on more effective intelligence-led targeted enforcement against the known small recalcitrant and unsafe minority in trucking
  • they commit to a major focus and commitment is made to improve the awareness and understanding of the motorists, re sharing the road safely with trucks, because as shown by several Labor government reports, most recently in SA in 2014, 76 per cent to 84 per cent of the fatal car-truck crashes are caused by the motorist. So the greatest safety gain involving trucks is to get motorists to stop doing dangerous things around trucks
  • they commit to working with us on appropriate measures, such as a possible Code, to deal with any genuine issues that remain, such as payment cycles, following the abolition of the RSRT." 



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