The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) said that the former Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) should not be reconstituted within the Fair Work Commission as part of a continuing industrial campaign that will do nothing to improve heavy vehicle safety.
“The RSRT was abolished two years ago, at the conclusion of a protracted public debate and after two comprehensive, independent reviews showed its approach would make no appreciable difference to safety outcomes,” said ALC Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff.
“Improving heavy vehicle safety is an enormously important national objective – and it should not be conflated with a continuing industrial campaign within some sections of the industry.
“ALC continues to believe that the most effective way to enhance safety in the heavy vehicle industry is by achieving greater compliance with, and enforcement of, the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) provisions in the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).
“These CoR provisions will be significantly strengthened and enhanced by changes due to come into effect later this year, and our focus should be on ensuring compliance with those changes. That is why ALC has been working in partnership with the Australian Trucking Association for the past year to develop an industry-wide Master Code for heavy vehicle safety, capable of becoming a registered industry code of practice under the HVNL.
“Additionally, ALC’s recent Position Paper, Improving Heavy Vehicle Safety the Australian Way, sets out other initiatives relating directly to road safety which should be pursued as a matter of priority.
“These include amending the HVNL to make it mandatory for heavy vehicles to be fitted with telematics equipment, and requiring heavy vehicle operators to comply with an agreed set of National Operating Standards, to ensure that the nation’s heavy vehicle fleet is operated by competent professionals who comply with vehicle maintenance and safety requirements.
“Each of these initiatives directly target safety issues, and will address the clear appetite within industry and the wider community to improve heavy vehicle safety.
“In contrast, the former RSRT was an industrial body, focused on industrial outcomes. The evidence at the time of its abolition clearly showed it would not be effective in dealing with safety. The industry has well and truly moved on, and the RSRT should remain in the rearview mirror.
“Improved heavy vehicle safety is too important an issue to be sidetracked by industrial debates. Industry and the community alike expect governments and regulators to focus on solutions that directly address safety issues,” he said.