Urgent RSRT inquiry now underway

The handling of the RSRT will be examined by the small business ombudsman with an eye towards owner-driver towards understanding the damage done

Urgent RSRT inquiry now underway
The damages of the RSRT will be the focus of an ombudsman inquiry.


The federal government has announced it has directed the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASMFEO) to "conduct an urgent inquiry into the impact of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) Payments Order on small business owner truck drivers."

In a statement from small business minister Kelly O’Dwyer and employment minister Michaelia Cash, the coalition government says the move is about the financial suffering felt by owner-drivers during the past few months.

"Despite the swift abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, many owner truck drivers are struggling to recover from the effects of the Payments Order, the unfair rates it sought to introduce and the economically disastrous effect it had on their small business," the statement says.

"Many owner-drivers suffered severe financial losses during the period that the Road Safety Remuneration Order was in force and are not able to recover those losses."

Suggesting that "many owner-drivers are now receiving default notices from their banks, financiers and suppliers," the government says it "will not stand by while mum and dad small business owners continue to face undue financial pressure because of the actions of the RSRT at the behest of Labor Party and the Transport Workers Union."

Under direction, the ombudsman will investigate the lead up to the commencement of the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 (RSRO) all the way through to its removal by the coalition.

The inquiry will hope to ensure owner-drivers negatively affected financially by the RSRT are aided by governmental assistant when dealing with lenders and any lasting impacts of the tribunal are understood.

The ombudsman will also be available to "direct practical assistance to businesses that are under pressure and need help."

The RSRT debate reached its peak in April when the tribunal’s RSRO came into effect.

The outcry from the owner-driver community gained the backing of the coalition government, who abolished both the RSRT and RSRO.

Labor and Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) have maintained their position on the validity of the ‘safe rates’ scheme and have promised to re-enact it should the federal election swing Labor’s direction.

The ASBFEO have also been in the sights of the TWU, which has accused it of failing to hear from owner-drivers.

A claim it and members of the owner-driver community have strongly denied.



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