Senate debates

Wednesday, 4 May 2016


Transport Industry

4:15 pm

Photo of Glenn LazarusGlenn Lazarus (Queensland, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

  (i) while the abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) and associated orders has assisted to restore a competitive level playing field for the owner driver transport sector across Australia, the disruption caused by the RSRT has significantly affected industry confidence and market conditions more generally for owner driver operators, and

  (ii) it may take some time for the owner driver sector to recover from the disruption, and as a result, in the meantime, many owner drivers are suffering financially; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to provide urgent assistance to owner driver operators by:

  (i) conducting a survey to identify the number of owner driver operators who have lost work as a consequence of the Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 and have not had their former work reinstated, with limited or no prospects of recovering work given the investments already made by small/large fleet operators,

  (ii) establishing a national emergency financial assistance fund to provide financial payments to owner driver operators for up to 3 months,

  (iii) providing owner driver operators with written acknowledgement of the abolition of the RSRT and associated orders to assist with market awareness,

  (iv) calling on the financial sector to suspend payment requirements for truck and home loan facilities for owner driver operators for up to 3 months, and

  (v) providing funding to a community based organisation to assist them to provide owner driver operators and their families with targeted, specialist and industry specific counselling and support services.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (Victoria, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of Stephen ParryStephen Parry (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (Victoria, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The government is strongly committed to supporting the trucking industry and owner-drivers. The government, with the support of its crossbench colleagues in the Senate, moved urgently to abolish the disastrous road safety remuneration system established by Bill Shorten. The government will never re-establish the RSRT or create discriminatory rates of pay that force owner-drivers out of the market under the guise of safety. While it is not possible for the government to commit to all the measures proposed in this motion, the government has already established a financial counselling hotline for impacted owner-drivers and is working with relevant government agencies to identify real and tangible measures to support owner-drivers who are struggling to recover from the economic devastation wreaked by Labor and the Greens. The government's message to owner-drivers has been very clear from the beginning: we back you, we back your business and we want to see you on the road.

Photo of Stephen ParryStephen Parry (President) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that the motion moved by Senator Lazarus be agreed to.