Road Safety Remuneration Order

Road transport operators across Australia have reacted angrily upon commencement of the Road Transport and Distribution and Long Distance Operations Road Safety Remuneration Order 2014, which came into effect on Wednesday, 1 May 2014.

The NatRoad head office in Canberra has been inundated with calls from operators claiming the new order is nothing more than another layer of red tape and unnecessary cost on an industry already burdened by excessive regulation.

During a 24-hour period, over 1,000 visitors logged onto the NatRoad website to access information regarding the new order.

The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal made the order in December 2013. It sets out the minimum entitlements and requirements for certain road transport drivers and their employers or hirers, as well as participants in the supply chain. The Order applies to the following supply chain participants:

  • Employers with employees undertaking long distance driving;
  • Transport companies or participants in the supply chain hiring sub-contractors to undertake long distance freight tasks;
  • Transport companies or participants in the supply chain hiring owner drivers to undertake long distance freight tasks; and
  • Participants in the supply chain.

A driver who is covered by an RSRO is entitled to be provided with at least the terms set out in the RSRO, even if they have a contract that has less beneficial terms. An RSRO may impose requirements on an employer or hirer, as well as on participants in the supply chain in relation to a road transport driver.

Like many industries the transport industry must deal with an excess of legislative and regulatory compliance. The passing of the Road Safety Remuneration Act 2012 (RSRA) by the former government has added yet another layer of complexity to an industry that is suffering from a regulatory burden that in many cases is difficult to comprehend let alone comply with.

This is particularly so for the majority of the industry that comprises 50,000 specialised road freight businesses of which 70 per cent have one truck and only one per cent own more than 10 trucks.

The RSRO for the most part duplicates existing Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation that is already in place to address road safety. These existing laws include: heavy vehicle national law, WH&S law, chain of responsibility legislation, contract law, and the two industrial awards pertaining to road transport operators and their employees.

The compliance burden of the legislation on small operators (the majority) who have limited administrative resources is such that most will not be able, or only partially able to comply with the new road safety order.

The key point about this legislation is that the increase in administrative overheads forced on the small operators is unlikely to be able to be passed on to clients and in the dollar cost to the economy generally is an inefficient use of funds.

Improvements in heavy vehicle road safety are already being achieved more effectively through road infrastructure expenditure and road law compliance campaigns.

Operators who wish to know more about the Order can obtain a wealth of information from the NatRoad website www.natroad.com.au including sample Safe Driving Plan templates to assist your compliance with the law.

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