Compromising Road Transport Regulation: The Abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal

Sydney Law School
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Sydney Law Review, 2017, 39 (3), pp. 303 - 332
Issue Date:
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Many truck drivers and other road users are killed each year in heavy vehicle crashes. Client influence over road transport supply chains, weak bargaining power of drivers, unpaid working time, intense competition and trip-based or incentive-based payment methods have resulted in reduced driver pay. In this context, remuneration-related incentives to engage in hazardous practices can lead to poor safety outcomes. To address these factors, the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal was established and began operation in July 2012, only to be abolished by the Turnbull Coalition Government in April 2016. This article examines the Tribunal’s Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 (Cth) (‘2016 RSRO’) and the political backlash to the Order. The 2016 RSRO set minimum pay rates for contractor drivers on a national basis for the first time and established supply chain accountability provisions with the potential to address the causes of low pay and poor safety in the road transport industry’s supermarket and long haul sectors. We argue that the Tribunal should have been given the opportunity to introduce the 2016 RSRO, instead of being prematurely abolished. We suggest that concerns about the 2016 RSRO could have been addressed by the Tribunal amending the Order.
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