Family First Senate candidate Rod McGarvie says Queensland owner-operator truckies need urgent action from the Coalition Government, as the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal delivers a decision (expected late today) on when major price hikes and associated criminal penalties for family-business truckies will commence.
The Tribunal’s order will increase road freight costs by an estimated 30%. Another estimate published in the Australian today suggests the regime will cost $2.3 billion if it is not scrapped. Two reviews into the 2012 Labor Government regime have reportedly recommended it be scrapped.
Family business truckies have been urging the Tribunal not to commence the new laws by Monday 4 April. The Tribunal sat through Easter to reach a decision. It is estimated that under the new rates up to 80 per cent of the nation’s 35,000 family trucking businesses may go to the wall.
“The federal legislative regime is a Trojan horse covered in the innocuous wrapping of ‘road safety’ but it is proving a disaster for family businesses and owner-operator truckies all over our state and nation,” Mr McGarvie said, “The regime needs to be repealed and re-worked to a genuine safety focus, not enabling price-fixing and anticompetitive behaviour as the independents are crushed by the big market players.”
“This regime can only be fixed by repeal of the legislation. The Government has no power to stop the regime implementing these very expensive, family business-wrecking outcomes. Family First stands ready to consider this matter in the recalled Parliament, but I am not confident repeal can happen before Parliament rises for an election. The Coalition must release the reports I mentioned about the cost and devastation from this regime, and declare that, if re-elected, it will repeal the regime.”
“Family First has no problem with genuine road safety measures. Chain of
responsibility changes introduced nationally have done far more than this federal regime will achieve, as will the imminent expansion of those state chain of responsibility rules on roadworthiness.” Chain of responsibility laws make it the owner, not the driver, who is responsible should drivers fail to meet regulated rest, loading and other safety requirements.
“States are cleaning up this industry, not a federal regime with a primary outcome of choosing winners and losers – and family trucking businesses are the big losers here.”