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National waste industry inquiry draft report published

The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal is seeking stakeholder comment on the interim report on the waste management industry inquiry, which was published last week.

The Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) is an independent national body that looks at safety, industrial relations, pay and research matters for the road transport industry.

The RSRT President established an inquiry into the sectors in the waste management industry last February under its third annual work program. It invited more than 340 industry stakeholders and operators to participate in the process.

The interim report brings together the feedback on issues, incentives, pressures or practices affecting safety and fairness in the sectors in the waste management industry that may be improved by a road safety remuneration order (RSRO).

The Victorian Waste Management Association (VWMA) and the Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of NSW (WCRA) were among the organisations to provide written submissions, with the latter also detailing a RSRO.

The document outlines issues raised by written and verbal submissions, and party proposed RSROs. In addition, those appointed to conduct the inquiry undertook inspections at a number of waste management sites across Australia.

A popular topic of concern was council-mandated start times, which can result in drivers undertaking collections in peak hour traffic and pedestrianised areas. Parties also made submissions on payment practices within the industry, particularly per bin and per load rates, and mooted that drivers are not being paid for the extra time taken to complete their route in some cases due to mandated start times and traffic congestion.

In its submission, the VWMA stated that the collection of waste in densely built-up areas has led to a significant increase in occupational health and safety risks including to pedestrians. It added that traffic congestion and access issues in these districts were making drivers feel increasingly stressed regarding their ability to operate effectively.

The Tribunal is now inviting stakeholders to comment on the interim report.

The full report and details for making a submission are available on the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal website. The deadline for submitting written comments is 5.00pm on 18 March.

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