Alannah MacTiernan

Alannah MacTiernan

Minister for Planning and Infrastructure

John Kobelke

John Kobelke

Minister for Police and Emergency Services; Community Safety; Water Resources; Sport and Recreation

    Legislative model provides relief to struggling truckies

    2/11/2005 12:00 AM

    The Gallop Government has agreed on a legislative package that will ensure safe and sustainable rates for owner-drivers in Western Australia’s highly competitive trucking industry.

    Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the legislation followed concerns from owner-drivers that rising fuel prices, excessive competition and unsustainable transport rates were causing the businesses of some owner-drivers to become unviable, leading to unsafe practices.

    “Owner-drivers are clearly hurting and this legislative model is designed to ensure we have a viable road freight industry and help put a stop to unsafe practices and unreasonable deadlines,” Ms MacTiernan said.

    “It also provides owners-drivers with greater security of payment and allows them to collectively bargain rates of pay with principal contractors.”

    The legislative model will:
    • establish a mandatory code of conduct, which will contain sustainable guideline rates and prohibit unconscionable contracts;
    • imply terms into unwritten contracts;
    • ensure owner-drivers are paid within 30 days of submitting accounts; and
    • establish a dispute resolution mechanism with a new Road Transport Industry Tribunal.
    The Minister said the legislation was likely to require the establishment of an inspectorate to undertake compliance monitoring and the creation of a new tribunal to hear disputes.

    Under the legislation, the code of conduct and guideline rates would be reviewed annually by a tripartite industry council established under the legislation.

    The legislative model has been developed by Ms MacTiernan and Consumer and Employment Protection Minister John Kobelke, in co-operation with industry representatives.

    Mr Kobelke said the Government had increased the effort to police driving hours in order to improve safety in the transport industry.

    “But it is better to address the fundamental issue of transport rates sometimes being so low that drivers have to work excessive hours just to keep their business going,” he said.

    “By ensuring guideline rates, this means drivers are not forced to breach health and safety requirements to get the job done.”

    Ms MacTiernan said the tripartite industry council would advise on guideline rates.

    “While these will not be minimum rates because the industry has so many different arrangements, if an operator believes his contract is unfair or unsustainable, the new tribunal will be able to use these guideline rates as a benchmark,” she said.

    Media contacts:
    Minister for Planning and Infrastructure's office - 9213 6400
    Minister for Consumer and Emplyment Protection's office - 9222 9211