Dissenting Report—Mr Paul Neville MP, Mr Paul Fletcher MP, Mrs Jane
Prentice MP, Mr Darren Chester MP
The Road Safety Remuneration Bill 2011 and Road Safety Remuneration
(Consequential Amendments and Related Provisions) Bill 2011 seek to legislate
to provide for ‘safe rates’ to improve occupational health and safety outcomes
for the transport industry and the general public.
A safe rate is generally understood as a proposal for an enforceable
rate of remuneration for transport workers, set by the government or other
appropriate body, to underpin safety in the heavy vehicle industry in
The Coalition Members of the Standing Committee on Infrastructure and
Communications are concerned by the comparatively high rate of fatalities and
serious injuries in the Australian transport industry.
The Coalition members fully support the need for a multi-faceted
approach to reduce the accident rate in the transport industry. However, it
should be noted that there has been a gradual improvement in the accident and
fatality rate in recent years, despite an increase in the national freight
The report is a fair and accurate record of the evidence that was
received in submissions and during the public hearings but the Coalition
Members of the committee reached different conclusions from that evidence.
In assessing the evidence that was submitted, the Coalition members were
unconvinced that safe rates will lead to an improvement in road safety
outcomes. The finding contained in clause 2.36 of the report is not supported
by the Coalition members.
The Coalition members were also concerned that so-called ‘jurisdictional
creep’ (referred to in the Australian Logistics Council submission), which has
seen the proposed Bill extended to include intrastate courier operators, is not
supported by the evidence.
In particular, the Coalition members believe the link between
remuneration and safety in the transport industry has not been definitively
established with conflicting evidence provided in many submissions, as outlined
in clause 2.25. Evidence was also received which highlighted the need to allow
pending changes under the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to be fully
implemented (from January 2013) and properly assessed before adding another
layer of bureaucracy and red tape on the transport industry.
The committee also received evidence which supported an increased focus
on improving road infrastructure and enforcement of existing laws and
regulations to achieve safety improvements. It was repeatedly put to the
committee that other measures would be more valuable in terms of reducing
accident rates. The Coalition members support that approach.
The Coalition members of the committee were also conscious of the
various submissions which pointed to the existing complexity of rules and
regulations and the need to reduce duplication and inconsistencies across state
borders. It was feared that adding another layer of bureaucracy would not
improve safety outcomes but would lead to increased costs to industry and
Evidence presented to the committee in relation to loading issues and
extended waiting times at distribution centres have the potential to deliver
practical outcomes without the introduction of more complex legislation.
Given these concerns, the Coalition members support further efforts to
improve occupational health and safety outcomes, particularly fatigue reduction
measures, for the transport industry but reject the final recommendation to
pass the Bill.
Mr Paul Neville MP
Jane Prentice MP
Mr Paul Fletcher MP
Darren Chester MP