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Turnbull trashes independent tribunal



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THE HON BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS SHADOW SPECIAL MINISTER OF STATE

MEMBER FOR GORTON

TURNBULL TRASHES INDEPENDENT TRIBUNAL

Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed he will abolish the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT), an independent body established to improve road safety for all road users and conditions of employment for truck drivers.

The Liberals decision to trash the independent tribunal is based upon their opposition to establishing safe rates for the transport industry.

This decision is extraordinary and extremely dangerous given the body of evidence that links pay and safety on our roads.

In fact last month alone, 25 people died on our roads as a result of heavy vehicle accidents.

It is customary for governments to support decisions of the independent umpire, but in exceptional circumstances a government might intervene in the matter and make a submission before the tribunal determines the outcome.

The Turnbull Liberal Government has gone from seeking to delay the decision by legislation to now recklessly trying to kill off the tribunal, simply because Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t like its decision.

Labor believes the government should convene a meeting with all affected parties - employers, workers, unions, owner operators to reconcile where possible outstanding differences.

Abolishing the independent tribunal will set a deeply disturbing precedent and clearly shows the Abbott-Turnbull government has no respect for the concept of an independent umpire.

It also raises very serious questions about future decisions of government. If they are willing to abolish a tribunal because they don’t like a decision, what would stop the Turnbull Government intervening to defer the increase in the national minimum wage, or override a decision of the Fair Work Commission on penalty rates?

Labor notes also the hypocrisy of the Minister for Employment, who spends every day attacking any industrial action by workers in other sectors of the labour market, now urging truck drivers to join a convoy to Canberra, which will disrupt services for clients in the transport sector.

The Government has had two years to consider the Road Safety Remuneration Order which sets a minimum pay rate for owner-drivers, yet at the last minute they have reacted contemptuously by taking aim at the independent umpire.

This is yet another Abbott Government plan that Malcolm Turnbull is sticking right to the script on.

It’s clear the Liberal Government doesn’t share Labor’s belief that safety shouldn’t be compromised just to save a buck.

Labor doesn’t want to see people dying on our roads and the facts are that when truck drivers are overworked safety for all road users is jeopardised.

SUNDAY, 10 APRIL 2016