What if there was a new law that said your business had to sell your goods at rates 10 to 20 per cent higher than your competitors? This was the reality for independent truckies across the country who were faced with a legal order to raise their prices by the 'Orwellianly' named Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal. So on Monday 18 April, together with our politicians, they rallied in Canberra to protest.
The background to the rally was the establishment in 2012 by then Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal. This tribunal was never about road safety but it certainly was about remuneration. The tribunal issued an order that enforced minimum pay rates for contract truck drivers, provided penalties if the minimum pay rate wasn’t applied and finally also provided penalties to the customer if they didn’t accept the higher rates.
The order would effectively make the large trucking companies (that happen to be dominated by Transport Workers Union workers who happen to fund the Labor Party’s coffers) cheaper by forcing the smaller operators to be more expensive. It’s the kind of regulation that benefits Labor, large corporations and unions but puts the brakes on small business.
When it came to fixing this mess, you might well wonder why our politicians needed to rally in Canberra.
It’s a symptom of the nature of the current Senate that just keeps getting in the way of good government. On the morning of the rally it was by no means certain that the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal would be abolished. One would have hoped that the heartache of the issue would sway the Senate, but it took the pressure of the rally for the Senate to get the message and pass the bill to abolish the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal that evening.
If you want to make sure the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal really is dead then you can read it on their website http://www.rsrt.gov.au/. But it's only by voting National at the coming federal election that you can ensure that it stays dead and this and other debacles like it are prevented.
You can still sign and share the petition we have running to protect our truckies here: http://www.nswnationals.org.au/keep_our_truckies_on_the_road.