Transport Industry News

NatRoad says more to do after passing of Closing Loopholes Bill


Transport industry association NatRoad has welcomed the passing of the Closing Loopholes Bill through the Senate and House of Representatives, but says there are more considerations to be made before transport becomes completely safe and fair for all workers.

The Bill will greatly expand the powers of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to set minimum standards for contracts for transport workers, but NatRoad CEO Warren Clark warns that the process for doing so will need to be thorough.

“There are questions about some late amendments to the Bill but on balance, it sets up our industry for a better future,” he says.

“It gives the FWC power to make binding orders about minimum standards – things like unfair contracts, charges, cost recovery, and levies.

“Any orders will only be able to be made with industry input and extensive consultation and lead time. Crucially, they must have regard for competition and our industry’s viability.

“The hard work starts now to make sure the new law operates as it was designed to.”

There will be a road transport specific advisory group created within the FWC to consult on any issues relating to transport, with expert opinions available on all matters.

The federal government has also promised to establish an owner driver sub-committee to advise the FWC on matters relating to minimum standards.

“We note the reference in the legislation to this applying to ‘unreasonable contact’ and that the government has quite rightly committed to taking out the threat of criminal behaviour,” Clark says.

“Common sense must prevail with the way this is applied to the road transport sector, especially as safety is a fundamental consideration during long journeys.

“We have questions about the exclusion of livestock road transport from the new powers of the FWC which makes the regulatory environment much more complicated.

“We are concerned about the potential for drivers involved in the livestock freight task being exposed to the same unreasonable contract demands that Fair Work orders will be seeking to eliminate.”

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