* South Australia - The Remuneration Tribunal wants to stop owner drivers
-- About 35,000 people, mostly men, drive their own long-haul trucks. They have borrowed about $15 billion from Australian banks and other financiers to fund their vehicles. Most of the loans are also secured on the family home... A government body — the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal — has made decisions that are set not only to destroy the livelihood of most of them but force them to sell the family home... Tens of thousands of farmers around Australia rely on these efficient and safe road operators to get their produce to market and supply them with farming needs. These farmers are going to be forced to pay two and four times the present rate for transport as a result of arbitrary decisions by the same government body. It will wreck many farmers... Overall, Australian transport costs are set to rise by between 30 per cent and 40 per cent, which will boost inflation and make the Reserve Bank look differently at interest rate adjustments... The big winners are the large transport companies and the Transport Workers Union. A grateful TWU will pay a proportion of its windfall gains to the ALP, which will gain funding capacity not matched by any other political part ... The tribunal decided the best way to stop owner drivers from driving too long and taking drugs was to make them charge more for their services. But no such charging instructions were given companies using TWU employees, so they can undercut owner drivers... Grace Collier in The Weekend Australian blew the whistle on what was happening in her commentary “TWU can bring nation to its knees with ‘safe’ truckies rates”. She explained how “farmer Keith” now pays $175 for an owner driver to pick up a few head of cattle. After April 4, that owner driver is forced to charge $784 — and if he doesn’t charge $784, he can be prosecuted by the Fair Work Ombudsman and be fined up to $54,000... But if the farmer uses a company with employed drivers, then that operator has no such restrictions and can charge $175. That means Toll and its TWU drivers can pick up as much business as they want... My guess is large transport operators will use their entitlement to undercut small groups until they are driven out of business. Then prices will be increased to the levels allowed by the tribunal. Unless agriculture prices are booming farmers will not be able economically to transport their product to market once the full rates are charged... This elimination of owner drivers will be fairly quick — and as they are forced to sell their trucks the prices of vehicles will slump, so they will be bankrupted... The actual capital of many owner driver businesses is domestic homes, so they will be sold to cover the debt to the banks because of the fall in value of trucks. As the large operators begin to control the business owner drivers will be sent to the wall along with the small transport companies that co-ordinate them. Many of those are in South Australia...
(Picture: Matthew Sullivan - The tribunal wants to stop owner drivers from driving too long by making them charge more for their services) -- Adelaida, South Australia, Australia - THE AUSTRALIAN, by Robert Gottliebsen - MARCH 29, 2016
Labels: rules and regulations, truckers' complaint