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Australian Government to Investigate Link with the Port Driver Pay and Safety

Posted by Robert O'Neill on Mar 1, 2015 2:03:00 AM
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The Australian government has launched serious inquiries into the drayage practices on five of the country’s major ports that could urge considerable changes for higher mandated levels on new work rules and driver pay.

The country’s Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal will start their strict evaluations of the pay and other practices related to container drayage at the ports of Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Fremantle.

The investigation of these drayage practices is merely a part of a larger assessment of connection linkage between truck driver pays, their working conditions, and the related road safety for these workers in the third annual work program of the independent tribunal.

Also being looked into under this 2015 RSRT scrutiny are oil, fuel, and gas haulers; waste-hauling truckers; as well as those part of the long-distance trucking and distribution industries in the country.

An association of drayage-related businesses, the Container Transport Alliance Australia, critiqued the RSRT’s drayage inquiry. CTAA Director Gerard Langes said that they believe the tribunal should not be looking into the ports industry considering that they should rather focus on other more important priorities.

Truck driver pay is one of the critical global issues concerning shippers moving their products in international supply chains as well as businesses trying to keep and hire drivers while at the same time attract new workers to the field. Low pay levels for drivers as opposed to other professions are a factor contributing to the country’s driver shortages.

Created by 2012 Australia’s Road Safety Remuneration Act, the RSRT however establishes a direct link between driver pay levels and their road safety. Also, the federal tribunal’s remit includes consignees as well as shippers and those trucking employees and the truck drivers.

The country has gone a bit further with the 2012 RSA specifically linking pays to safety and requiring trucking operators to compensate their drivers for all non-driving work including loading and unloading shipments and waiting for shippers or consignees to load or unload trailers.

The RSRT noted that drayage driver pay is largely based on minimum piece work rates that have been established by the Australian government or hourly rates. CTAA explained how it is less likely for inadequate remuneration to be an important element that will be affecting road safety in the industry.

The investigation is, however, well-supported by the Transport Workers Union of Australia as well as the Victorian Transport Association, a logistics group in the country’s most densely populated state.

Victorian Transport Association CEO Peter Anderson said in comments that there is an increasing pressure being bombarded on the landside infrastructure freight process because of the increase in import and export volumes. Many of the practices that involve the movement of containers to and from the wharf are obsolete and do not meet global standards and expectations, potentially affecting the safety of truck drivers in particular and the community in general.

Topics: Reviews, Audits and Inspections