Julie Just (second from left) protesting against the RSRT in Canberra.
Julie Just (second from left) protesting against the RSRT in Canberra. Contributed

Julie wins fight over RSRT

PROTESTING and lobbying was not something Biggenden resident Julie Just ever thought she would do, especially in Canberra.

Mrs Just, an owner-driver, recently returned from the Australian Capital Territory, where she played a part in the repeal of the Road Safety Remunerations Tribunal (RSRT).

The RSRT imposed minimum payments on owner-drivers.

Mrs Just said the RSRT added a 35% increase on top of freight rate.

"The flow-on effect is that it hits the businesses and the community, such as the small tyre company or the local farmer who wants to send four head of cattle off for a sale," Mrs Just said.

"Compared to what they could negotiate with the contract driver, the cost would increase.

"I was determined to do my best and be one of the voices of an owner-driver, as an owner-driver, to put my view across on how this would affect the rural and regional areas in Queensland."

While in Canberra Mrs Just met with politicians from all sides.

"It was certainly a learning experience in more ways than one, some not so positive," she said.

"I learnt how the government works on these types of issues and spoke in-depth before parliament with several senators who hadn't made their decision.

We managed to get another couple of senators to vote with us in terms of the repeal, as they didn't understand the impact.

Mrs Just said South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon was one of the senators she managed to persuade.

"Nick Xenophon said to me 'I did not realise the impact of what this act would end up being'," she said.

When the senate voted to repeal the RSRT on April 18 Mrs Just said she felt relieved.

"I cried with joy, I felt relief," she said.

"I had two other friends with me who are also owner-drivers, and then we went back to the Members of Parliament offices and their assistants got us.

"We celebrated with many tears as well."

Mrs Just said if there was an issue affecting people in the community it is not hard to approach MPs and senators.

"It can be done if you speak with your members of parliament, speak with your senators, say how it's affecting you," she said.

"They are unaware of the little things that are happening in their communities and how it's affecting their communities.

"Bringing it to their attention. It can make a difference."

Would Mrs Just now consider a life in politics?

"Oh hell no," she said.

"I could not wait to get back on that plane and get home to little old Biggenden.

"It was a life experience, though if it's something that's going to affect my family and my community, without a blink of an eye I'd do it again.

"I do storm chasing and photography, I'd rather face a supercell head-on than face parliament again."


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