Owner drivers from across Australia rallied on the lawns of Parliament House this morning to call for a fair go, as part of a truck convoy and protest led by the Australian Trucking Association.
The truck convoy, led by the ATA’s own Safety Truck, drove through Canberra to Parliament House, where owner drivers gathered with placards calling for the end of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).
ATA Chief Executive Christopher Melham said there could be no doubt of the trucking industry’s backing for the abolition of the RSRT, and welcomed the support of ministers, senators and other members of parliament at today’s event.
“The Road Safety Remuneration System isn’t about safety – it’s about creating a two-tier payment system, where owner drivers and small operators are legally restricted from being able to negotiate their own rates,” Mr Melham said.
“But this doesn’t apply to large fleets. This means that rather than having owner drivers paid more, they are losing jobs as they can no longer compete on price.
“We know there are third and fourth generation family transport businesses who are going out of business as a result of the Tribunal. These are livelihoods and careers on the line.
“As Minister Chester said at the rally this morning, you shouldn’t have to drive to Canberra to fight for your job. But hundreds of drivers did travel to Canberra to deliver a clear message – abolish the RSRT, and abolish it now.
“Owner driver Mick Boland really hit the nail on the head when he said that owner drivers are scared for their futures under the Tribunal – but they’re fighting, and they’ll keep fighting to save their businesses while they still can.
“It was fantastic to have such strong support from the Government and crossbenchers for the industry at this morning’s event. Having Minister Chester, Minister Cash and Senator John Williams address the rally, along with Senator Lazarus, Senator Day, Senator Wang and Senator Xenophon, really shows their understanding of the pressure that is being put on our owner drivers.
“Senator John Williams took delivery of the ATA’s petition to abolish the RSRT to introduce it to Parliament today. John even jumped behind the wheel himself in this morning’s convoy, while owner-driver Greg Hollis took the passenger seat.
“I also applaud those who took the time to ride in the convoy with members of their electorates, including:
- Senator the Hon Fiona Nash;
- The Hon Sussan Ley MP;
- The Hon Keith Pitt MP;
- The Hon Wyatt Roy MP;
- The Hon Michael McCormack MP;
- Senator John Williams;
- Senator Chris Back;
- Michelle Landry MP;
- Brett Whiteley MP
- Scott Buchholz MP; and
- Senator Glenn Lazarus.
“The trucking industry already has a safety body – it’s called the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. The Road Safety Remuneration System is putting owner drivers and family operations out of business, and it needs to be abolished now.”
The Government has introduced legislation to parliament today that would repeal the Road Safety Remuneration Act and abolish the Tribunal.