Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he will abolish the road safety tribunal if re-elected, after the body’s attempts to introduce a new minimum pay rate for contracted truck drivers.
Just before it was about to come into effect, the Federal Court has granted a stay on the decision by the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s recent Order prescribing minimum payments for owner operator drivers. The Order, which was due to come into effect on Monday April 4 would have dire impacts on over 70,000 small business owners if it was implemented, Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell says.
“This order has potentially drastic consequences for the upwards of 70,000 owner drivers who have mortgaged their homes in reliance on income from operating small businesses in the trucking industry. Recognising this, a number of applications were made by truck drivers, industry associations and others to defer the start date of the Order,” Carnell said.
However, Turnbull has announced he would abolish the tribunal if his Government was re-elected at the federal election. “Our economic plan to ensure that we continue to successfully transition to the new economy of the 21st century depends upon small and medium businesses. It depends on their enterprise, their courage to mortgage their homes, to borrow money, to invest in equipment, to really have a go,” he said.
“It was a piece of legislation that has had nothing to do with safety, everything to do with getting small businesses, self-employed people, the enterprising family businesses of Australia off the roads. Now they’ve made that order and we are seeking to get it revoked.
“We will, if we are re-elected, abolish the RSRT. It is not a tribunal that does anything effective to do with safety, it undermines owner operators, it undermines small business, it undermines family businesses.”