Owner-driver Kevin Fife and Deasherco Owner-driver Dean Baldock at yesterday mornings rally in support of abolishing the RSRT and RSRO.  Photo Daniel Harkin / Daily Mercury
Owner-driver Kevin Fife and Deasherco Owner-driver Dean Baldock at yesterday mornings rally in support of abolishing the RSRT and RSRO. Photo Daniel Harkin / Daily Mercury Daniel Harkin

Turnbull government bins RSRT

The Turnbull government has successfully scrapped the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT), following industry-wide outrage.

The government won crossbench support last night after rushing legislation to abolish the RSRT through both houses yesterday.

The bill passed 36 to 32 with the support of the crossbench, despite a lack of support from Labor.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull spoke at a recent rally for owner-drivers saying that safety was used as a pretext for the establishment of the tribunal.

"What this tribunal was, as you know, essentially a pretext," Turnbull said.

"Safety was used as a means of undermining independent, family-run businesses at the expense of a big union."

The Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester has confirmed more than $4 million a year in funding will be redirected to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

"Funding allocated to the former RSRT will be better utilised to develop new targeted safety measures including monitoring of heavy vehicles with a national network of cameras," Mr Chester said.

"We are committed to improving safety and we are committed to the productivity of heavy vehicle operations across Australia."

NHVR Chair Bruce Baird said the additional funding for the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator will deliver further safety initiatives across the supply chain, in addition to the regulator's existing safety program.

"Along with the roll out electronic work diaries and newer safer heavy vehicles that incorporate advanced safety systems, a national camera network will put us on a path to one of the most high-tech monitoring networks in the world," Mr Baird said.

National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) chief executive officer Warren Clark welcomed the abolition of the tribunal and thanked crossbench senators for their support.

"We thank the Coalition who listened to the concerns of our industry and introduced the Bill, and Senators Lazarus, Lambie, Madigan and the other crossbenchers whose support saw the Bill pass through the Parliament," Mr Clark said.

"The shambles that was the RSRT is now behind us and those businesses at risk of going under as a result of its ill-informed decisions can now return to business as usual."

The SA Road Transport Association (SARTA) called the abolition "a huge victory for trucking" and executive director Steve Shearer thanked government.

"SARTA and the trucking industry at large, thank the Federal Government and especially the Prime Minister, Michaelia Cash and Christopher Pyne, the SA Shadow Minister for Transport, David Pisoni, and the Independent Senators, including SA's Nick Xenophon and Bob Day, for supporting our great industry and the right for small business to operate," Mr Shearer said.

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