The Road Safety Remuneration Bill 2011 is a “bureaucratic shambles” that will encourage dangerous drivers to stay on the road rather than improving truck driver safety, according to Independent Contractors Australia.
The legislation will establish a national Road Safety Remuneration System comprising a Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal and a separate education and compliance framework.
The tribunal will have the ability to set pay or pay-related conditions and the government said the aim of the tribunal is to ensure that truck drivers are paid reasonably for the work they do, getting rid of the economic incentive for drivers to take unacceptable risks on roads.
However, Independent Contractors Australia said the Bill could breach competition principles and laws that prevent price fixing, and result in increases in road transport costs.
Currently, truck drivers who are employees of transport companies have their wages established under awards and enterprise agreements authorised by Fair Work Australia.
However, owner-drivers (self-employed people who run their own business) operate under commercial law and the Trade Practices Act, and Independent Contractors Australia said the Road Safety Remuneration Bill 2011 will duplicate, overlap and probably override both Fair Work Australia’s oversight of employee truck driver wages, as well as the ACCC’s powers to ensure that price fixing and related illegal activity in the commercial trucking sector is stopped.
“The new tribunal will have the power to set wage and remuneration rates for all truckies, including employees and self-employed drivers,” said Independent Contractors Australia.
“This is a recipe for complete confusion, and a bureaucratic shambles with overlapping authorities trying to work out what’s going on.”