Senators flag trucking operators defence effort

Political opponents join forces to demand better payment terms for trucking operators.

Senators flag trucking operators defence effort
Senator Glenn Sterle says lengthy payment terms are having a terrible impact on the trucking industry.


Big businesses may be dragged before a federal Senate inquiry or face calls to comply with new regulations if they don’t stop screwing over trucking operators on payment terms.

Nationals senator John Williams and Labor Senator Glenn Sterle – both former truck drivers – have put aside their political differences to demand faster payment terms for operators.

Both are currently looking at ways to ensure payments to operators are made within 30 days of work being completed, similar to requirements the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) introduced for sub-contractors and owner-drivers.

In a joint statement, Williams and Sterle say options including an inquiry are being "actively considered".

Williams says he was shown a memo a company sent a transport operator saying payment would be made 90 days after the month in which the invoice was generated.

Williams says the payment terms mean work carried out on August 15 will not compensated until December 15.

"This is outrageous. The transport company has to pay its drivers and staff in seven days, it has to pay its fuel bill in 30 days, plus parts suppliers and finance payments at the end of each month," Williams says.

"But they are being asked to extend credit to much bigger businesses for up to 120 days."

Sterle says lengthy payment terms are having a terrible impact on transport operators and their workers.

"If one of these companies fails and cannot pay their suppliers, the transport company can be hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket. This can only lead to dangerous cost cutting and a lowering of industry safety standards," Sterle says.

"The intent of the Road Safety and Remuneration Tribunal’s first order is for transport companies to be paid in a timely manner, but this is obviously being ignored."

Earlier this year, FBT Transwest boss Cameron Dunn told a road safety conference that 120-day payment terms were becoming more common.


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