Tribunal protecting owner-operator trucks may be abolished

THE controversial tribunal that granted owner-operator truck drivers a pay rise will be abolished if Malcolm Turnbull's government is elected.

The Prime Minister announced yesterday that if the Coalition government was returned it would abolish the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

Late last year the RSRT announced a pay rise for owner-drivers - despite many of those drivers claiming it would make them uncompetitive with bigger companies.

Mr Turnbull said the tribunal had failed to deliver and should be abolished.

"There is no evidence that the Road Safety Remuneration System has achieved any safety outcomes in its four years of operation," he said.

"The Government has acted on the evidence found in two reviews of the RSR System, which found that the rationale for the system is flawed."

But Labor shadow workplace relations minister Brendan O'Connor backed the tribunal's ruling that better pay would reduce deadline pressure for drivers and improve road safety.

"This decision is extraordinary and extremely dangerous given the body of evidence that links pay and safety on our roads," Mr O'Connor said.

"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 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."

Mr Turnbull pointed to two independent reviews of the RSRT that called for the body to be disbanded.

A PriceWaterhouseCoopers review found abolishing the tribunal would "result in significant net benefit to the economy and community at large".

The Federal Court last week overturned a stay on the tribunal's ruling.

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