IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT: Hendon truck driver Dan Gale said the RSRT payment order would price owner-drivers like him out of the industry.
IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT: Hendon truck driver Dan Gale said the RSRT payment order would price owner-drivers like him out of the industry. Contributed

Warwick truckies lament RSRT payment order

A MOVE to introduce minimum set rates for subcontracted truck drivers has been knocked by Warwick owner-drivers.

Following in his grandfather's footsteps, Paul O'Meara has been driving for 27 years and has had his own truck for the last nine.

But now, the owner-driver says a Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal payment order set to introduce minimum pay rates would destroy his livelihood.

Mr O'Meara said although the trucking industry needed pay reform, the order would do more harm to owner-drivers and small businesses.

"There is something that needs to be done in the transport industry but their idea is specifically targeting owner drivers and small companies," he said.

"There does need to be industry reform as far as we get paid but it should be across the board regulation.

"This idea that it's going to improve safety biggest load of rot I've ever heard, because if the bloke or girl sitting behind the steering wheel can't earn enough under the pay rates they will look for another job."

With the trucking industry servicing Australians nationwide, Mr O'Meara said flow-on effects of the order would be felt by every Australian.

"I would like to see (the order) abolished and I hope the Australian public gets behind that," he said.

"It will be felt by mechanical workshops, small businesses and then the cost of living in Australia is going to go through the roof."

Hendon-based driver Dan Gale and his wife Lana agreed set pay should be a blanket ruling for the industry.

The couple's son Carl also works as a truck driver for another company, meaning the whole family could be affected by the order.

The owner of Gale Transport said the proposed minimum rates, about 30% higher than his current earnings, would price owner-drivers out of the job market.

"Basically we don't know where we stand as the tribunal is very unclear on the way its set out," he said.

"I think people should be able to negotiate their rates and the price hike they're putting in is uncompetitive.

"Say the company I work for sends me to a customer and says 'I'm sending you this driver and I'll need to charge you more', they won't want to pay for that.

"Companies contracting may as well have their own trucks because they're not making any money out of me but trucks would be an asset."



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