The implementation of The Road Safely Remunerations Bill 2012, affecting the Australian Transport Industry begins 1st July, 2012

Posted on 09 July 2012

The Australian Transport Industry is governed by legislation and regulation to monitor safe road use by employee drivers, employers, hirers, independent contractors and “supply chain participants” including regulated driving hours, speed limits, mass and dimensional limits, alcohol and drug use and Occupational Health & Safety.

On 20 March 2012, the Senate passed a new industrial relations reform called The Road Safety Remunerations Bill 2012 or the “Safe Rates Law”.  This bill addresses a new industrial relations and safety regime and has powers to inquire into all areas of the road transport industry and where necessary, issue binding industry-wide orders.

Essentially, the bill is designed to address the pressure, usually financial, placed on employee or contractor owner drivers encouraging them to undertake unsafe driving practices including speeding, drug and alcohol use and undertaking excessively long driving shifts to complete their work.  It will no longer be the responsibility of the driver alone.  Safe driving practice, covered in the new Legislation, will now become the responsibility of many links in the supply chain including employers, the sender and receiver of goods, truck drivers  and their agents.

As of 1 July 2012, a new Federal tribunal could make binding orders against road transport employers on the tribunal’s own initiative or following an application by a driver or a union in the areas below:

  • Conditions about minimum remuneration and other entitlements for road transport drivers additional to those in modern awards
  • Conditions about minimum rates of remuneration and conditions of engagement for contractor drivers
  • Conditions for loadings and unloading vehicles, waiting times, working hours, load limits, payment methods and payment periods
  • Orders that reduce or remove remuneration-related incentives, pressures and practices that contribute to unsafe work practices
  • The power to approve collective agreements between the company and its contractor drivers
  • Dispute resolution between drivers or contractors and the company about remuneration-related conditions or dismissals

If you are involved in any part of the supply chain in the Road Transport Industry you need to be aware of the rights, obligations and consequences imposed by the new legislation.  Contact Dooley & Associates if you need any assistance.