NatRoad seeks State-wide exemption for members from unfair industrial changes in NSW

20-Jul-2016 3:24 PM

NatRoad is pursuing an exemption for all members from the widened scope of the NSW General Carriers Contract Determination, following a briefing on the changes today.

“NatRoad will always stand up for members, particularly on matters that impact the viability of their businesses and their livelihoods,”NatRoad Chief Executive Officer, Warren Clark said.

“NatRoad has made an application to the NSW Industrial Relation Commission seeking a general exemption for all NatRoad members from the NSW General Carriers Interim Contract Carriers Determination.

“The majority of our members are small trucking businesses which operate in, or merely transit through NSW. They are not all NSW-based and we believe they should be exempt from this determination. Already we are seeing negative flow-on effects to our members in other States because of this latest industrial change by NSW.

“An exemption for NatRoad members is also a move to protect principal contractors who hire owner drivers – many of whom are also everyday business people and family businesses from those who move freight interstate, to farmers moving livestock, grain or produce, millers moving timber, or deep sea fishers getting refrigerated seafood to major markets.

“NatRoad is seeking an exemption for all NatRoad members who, operating largely as independent contractors, want to be able to negotiate and determine their own rates to stay competitive, just like any small business.

“We already know from recent experience how impractical aplying ‘rates’ to businesses can be for owner drivers operating in regional and rural Australia. These drivers often carry several loads in one trip and rely on return loads to make a trip viable. Externally imposed rates make their businesses untenable and send them to the wall.”

“Despite being in place since 1984, this latest move to ramp up and broaden the scope of the determination in the wake of RSRT is potentially devastating to our members, the road transport industry, and its associated industries. In the more than 30 years this little used determination has been in place, the NSW Industrial Relations Commission has only granted a single exemption in relation to rates.

“There will be a significant state-wide impact to small trucking businesses if the changes to the determination and the proposed broadened application and increased rates issue isn’t properly considered and clearly understood.

Mr Clark said NatRoad had closely scrutinised the NSW General Carriers Interim Contract Carriers Determination to ascertain just what the impact may be for members and the industry operating in NSW but members are already reporting concerns and lost business with one member not being able to secure a return load out of Adelaide because of alarm over the determination and rates.

Mr Clark said NatRoad is continuing to seek clarification on the scope and reach of the determination and proposed payment rates and will seek to be engaged in the second stage of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission proceedings later in the year if necessary.

NatRoad has prepared a comprehensive overview of the NSW General Carriers Interim Contract Determination that is available at http://www.natroad.com.au/2016/07/gccd/