ALDODA: Operator licensing more important than rates

Owner-driver representative group believes mandatory minimum rates will only increase compliance burden.


Regulators should spend more time making sure owner-drivers can successfully run a business instead of trying to push through mandatory minimum rates, according to a trucking group.

The Australian Long Distance Owner and Drivers Association (ALDODA) has come out against a proposal for fixed hourly and kilometre rates for owner-drivers.

It claims the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s (RSRT) plan will only increase the compliance burden on the trucking industry and that most cases of underpayments to owner-drivers stems from their lack of basic business training and poor investment advice.

ALDODA believes would-be owner-drivers should first need to obtain a special licence to demonstrate they understand how to run a business — a scheme that Road Freight New South Wales recently called for.

“The concept of Transport Operator Licencing [sic] needs to become a priority for the industry. With this comes education and less regulation. The bulk of the regulations being imposed on the Road Transport Sector are a direct result of untrained and uneducated operators in the industry,” ALDODA’s written submission to the RSRT states.

“A process needs to be in place to ensure new operators in the road transport industry have a sound understanding of the business aspect of their operation. Like the Gold Card in the building sector, you have to have completed a business module before the card is issued. It might be that lenders require evidence that the operator has a sound day to day business understanding.”

ALDODA adds that more must also be done to improve the perception of the trucking industry among parties in the supply chain and the broader public. 

It says the general public perceives trucks to be a nuisance and sectors in the supply chain have little regard for operators and drivers.

“Like the general public, these sectors need to be made aware of how important this road transport industry is to their viability and long term future,” ALDODA’s submission says.

“Without the road transport industry there would be no business transacted in this country and this needs to be recognised by government, industry and the general public.”

ALDODA says learner drivers should take a ride in a truck before gaining their licence.

“Make it mandatory that you have to spend one hour as a passenger in a heavy vehicle on the road before you can get your drivers licence,” it says.

The RSRT late last month released its draft proposal to introduce minimum hourly and kilometre payments for contractor drivers, with rates differing based on the grading of the driver and the vehicle and trailer being used.

Under the RSRT’s plan, the new rates will begin on January 1 and increase annually by 3.2 per cent until December 31, 2019, at which time the scheme will be reviewed.


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