National Transport Commission research
The National Transport Commission (NTC) is an independent statutory body that develops recommendations about changes to laws in the transport industry.
In 2008, the NTC prepared a report about the main causes of unsafe practices in the road transport industry. The report found a link between pay and methods of pay and road practices including speeding, working long hours and drug use. These practices contribute to road accidents and fatalities.
To resolve the issues in the industry, the NTC recommended that a federal body be set up to:
- develop and maintain enforceable safe payments for employees and owner drivers
- resolve disputes in a low-cost, accessible way
- consider and, if needed, give rights and set obligations about safe payments on other parties in the transport supply chain
- consider and, if needed, give rights and set obligations about the enforcement of safe payments.
Safe Rates Advisory Group & consultation process
Following the NTC report, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) set up a panel of experts to put the NTC report’s recommendations in place. This body is called the Safe Rates Advisory Group (SRAG). The SRAG recommended that a tribunal be established in line with the report’s findings.
In November 2010, the Federal Government released a paper proposing solutions to the issues in the report - Safe Rates, Safe Roads. This paper suggested 3 possible models for a tribunal.
The public was then invited to give feedback. 45 responses were received, with varying support for the introduction of a mandatory or voluntary scheme.
The Road Safety Remuneration Bill 2011 (the Bill) was drafted using this feedback, as well as further advice from the SRAG.
Passage of the legislation through parliament
The Bill was introduced to the House of Representatives on 23 November 2011. It was referred to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications on 24 November 2011.
The Bill passed the House of Representatives with amendments on 19 March 2012, and was introduced to and passed by the Senate on 20 March 2012. It received royal assent on 16 April 2012 and takes effect as The Road Safety Remuneration Act 2012 from 1 July 2012.