The Australian Government has outlined its plan to improve the safety of the road transport industry by abolishing the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal and redirecting Tribunal resources to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester, who addressed a convoy of truck drivers campaigning for the change today in Canberra, said that safety was at the heart of the Australian Government’s plans.
"In 2012, the Labor Government established the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, suggesting that if you pay a truck driver more, they’ll drive slower and work fewer hours," Mr Chester said.
"The Tribunal was intended to make the road transport industry fairer and safer, but after almost four years in operation, the evidence shows that the Tribunal has not achieved either of these aims.
"Small operators are telling us that the remuneration system risks harming their businesses, without doing anything to improve the safety of the industry.
"A tribunal of industrial umpires cannot claim to be experts in road safety.
"It is the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator—a combined effort of the Australian Government and most state and territory governments—that has the expert knowledge and understanding needed to bring about improvements to the safety of the road transport industry."
Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash said the Australian Government remained committed to abolishing the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal to back enterprising mum and dad owner-drivers across Australia.
"Assuming successful passage of the necessary legislation, the Tribunal’s resources will be redirected to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator," Senator Cash said.
"The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator will be tasked with prioritising ways in which road safety can be materially improved.
"To determine how best this resourcing can be used to re-prioritise and strengthen safety measures that will work at the roadside, the Australian Government will be consulting with state and territory governments and with industry.
"Everyone supports a safer heavy vehicle industry, but clearly the answer is not to put tens of thousands of owner-drivers off the road through a central wage fixing policy.
"A better resourced National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, working together with Government and with industry, is the best mechanism for achieving real safety outcomes for the heavy vehicle sector and the broader community."
The Government plans to introduce Road Safety Remuneration Repeal and Road Safety Remuneration Amendment (Protecting Owner Drivers) to the Parliament today.