SILENT PROTEST: John Partridge hopes his sign on East St intersection will make drivers think about the new road transport industry legislation.
SILENT PROTEST: John Partridge hopes his sign on East St intersection will make drivers think about the new road transport industry legislation. Madeline Mcdonald

Former truckie John stands by sign in protest

ROCKHAMPTON'S John Partridge knows how hard it can be to keep a small business afloat.

The former truck driver and small business owner just wants everyone to have a fair chance at earning a living which is why he has left a sign in one of Rockhampton's busy intersections in protest of the Australian Government's new Road Safety Remuneration laws that were taken into effect on April 4.

According to the Australian Government, the Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016 will, for the first time, set national minimum payments for certain contractor drivers in the road transport industry, specifically drivers involved in the distribution of goods destined for sale or hire by a supermarket chain, or long distance operations in the private road transport industry.

John, 73, has called this new law a "betrayal" to owner-operators who now have to commit to a minimum charge fee for the services they render.

The same legislation however, doesn't apply to road industry companies who employ drivers, meaning they can offer a lower rate to clients than what owner-operators can.

"This scheme effectively obliterates the small business owner, many tens of thousands of people who have mortgages to pay and trucks to pay off," he said.

"These giant companies are now going to monopolise everyone. This is price fixing of the highest order because it allows these big companies to come in with competitive prices in an economy where people are looking for the most cost effective price.

"The consequences of this is going to result in the decimation of those private enterprises run by sole traders. This is why our country's economy is going down the drain."

In the middle of the East St and Fitzroy St intersection, John has placed a sign he created himself to get drivers thinking about this new legislation while they're on the road.

"I just wanted to bring this to people's attention because I don't think people who don't have an invested interest in the transport industry really know what's happened," he said.

"I just want to get the message out there and get people talking about these issues affecting everyday people like you and me who are just trying to make a living."



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