ALRTA News – 2 December 2016

ALRTA AND LRTAV VISIT VICTORIAN MINISTERIAL OFFICES

This week the ALRTA Executive Director, and the LRTAV’s John Beer and Marla Stone, travelled to Melbourne to meet political advisors to Victorian Minister for Industrial Relations, the Hon. Natalie Hutchins, and Minister for Roads and Road Safety, the Hon Luke Donnellan.

Our primary focus was to better understand the background and potential scope of the recently announced review of the Victorian Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2015.  While we were there we also put forward our views on charging, regional infrastructure, permits, national registration, chain of responsibility and industry representation.

Over the next week the ALRTA Executive and LRTAV Committee will consider what we have learned about the owner driver review and agree a strategy for representing the interests of rural operators.  In the next fortnight, we will provide you with an overview of the key issues, advise you of our strategy and seek your support for a grass-roots campaign.

INVESTIGATION AND ENFORCEMENT POWERS

This week ALRTA attended an NTC workshop which examined various proposals for improving the investigation and enforcement powers of HVNL authorised officers.

The review of powers is necessary to support the package of chain of responsibility reforms that are contained in the Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 (Qld) (BREAKING NEWS: this Bill passed the QLD Parliament last night.  See next article).

Among other things, the package of reforms will remove the ‘reverse onus of proof’ and replace it with the stock standard ‘innocent until proven guilty’ approach – welcome news for operators!  However, this can also make it harder for enforcement officers to prosecute parties further up the chain.

Under current laws, if there is evidence of a primary offence on the road, enforcement officers can just ‘deem’ that all other chain parties have also committed an offence.  It is then up to each chain party to mount their own ‘reasonable steps’ defence.

In future, officers will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that each individual chain party has committed an offence – and this can only be done by acquiring some form of supporting evidence.  So, while the new chain of responsibility laws will be much fairer, for the laws to be effective, officers will need to have sufficient powers to acquire information in appropriate circumstances to support their investigations.

There was a good spectrum of stakeholders present representing industry and government and the discussions were open and productive.   While everyone wants fair and effective laws, we need to be very careful not to overstep the mark when considering expanded enforcement powers.  We do not want over-powered officers on fishing expeditions or operators being tied up in red tape servicing countless information requests.

The ALRTA Executive will consider the range of options early next week and we will make a submission to the NTC shortly thereafter.

HVNL AMENDMENT BILL PASSED QLD PARLIAMENT

Last night, the Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016passed the Queensland Parliament and is now expected to travel through other state parliaments and commence around mid-2018.

This bill is an important development for the ALRTA because it includes the comprehensive changes that we have sought to chain of responsibility laws to potentially better hold off-road parties responsible for matters such as effluent containment and loading infrastructure. Some of the key changes include:

  • A new primary duty to ensure safety for all parties in the chain
  • Modifications to executive officer liabilities based on due diligence
  • Replacement of the ‘reasonable steps defence’ with ‘as far as reasonably practicable’
  • A principle that parties are included in the chain on the basis of their function rather than their title or contractual description
  • Clarity that WH&S law takes precedence over CoR law
  • Inclusion of roadworthiness and vehicles standards as part of CoR
  • Increasing information gathering powers
  • Introduction of self-clearing defect notices
  • New requirement that the burden of proof rests with the prosecution
  • Penalties for breaching primary duties of up to $3m and/or 5 years imprisonment
  • Empowering the NHVR to accept enforceable undertakings as an alternative to penalties
  • Recognising industry codes of practice as a reliable form of evidence in court
  • Establishing that information contained in an infringement notice is evidence that a heavy vehicle offence happened a time, place and in the circumstances outlined in the notice
  • Introduction of a raft of new offences that will make operators and other parties in the chain responsible for ensuring that drivers carry all required paperwork
  • Allowing the NHVR to make minor changes to statutory instruments without seeking road manager consent
  • Allowing Ministers to delegate minor approval powers to the NHVR Board.

The ALRTA made a submission on the Bill and appeared before the Queensland Parliament Transportation and Utilities Committee.  As a result of our representations, the NTC has been directed to clarify the application of CoR laws to pre-transit livestock preparation within the next 12-months.  We hope this will further improve the laws in due course.

ALRTA MEETS WITH FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF INFRASTRUCTURE AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

ALRTA met with the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional development this week to discuss a number of important issues including charging, national registration, chain of responsibility and our proposal to establish a national fund to promote the rapid uptake of optional user-pay livestock loading and unloading infrastructure.

BUILDING BETTER REGIONS FUND

The Federal Minister for Regional Development, Senator Fiona Nash, has announced a new fund to build better regions across rural, regional and remote Australia.   The $298m Building Better Regions Fund supports the Australian Government’s commitment to create jobs, drive economic growth and build stronger regional communities into the future.

There are two streams of funding available under the program:

  • Infrastructure Projects Stream:  Individual grants available from $20k – $10m for new or upgraded infrastructure that delivers economic or social benefits.  Applications open 18 Jan 2017 and close 28 February 2017.
  • Community Investments Stream: Individual grants available from $5k – $10m for local events, strategic plans, leadership and capability building activities. Applications open 18 Jan 2017 and close 31 March 2017.

The new fund replaces the National Stronger Regions Fund which this year approved several projects related to truckwashes and saleyard infrastructure including ramps.

If you know of a worthwhile project please contact the ALRTA office and we may be able to assist with your application or support your proposal.

More information can be found here.

NATIONAL CONFERENCE POLICY SESSIONS

As advised last week, the registration brochure for the ALRTA and LRTAQ combined National Conference is now available.  The event will be held 17-18 February 2017 in Toowoomba, QLD.

The program for the National Policy Session on Friday 17 February is firming up with topics and several speakers now confirmed.  Highlights will include:

  • NTI Major Crash Report:  Protect yourself by knowing about the latest accident trends and risk factors.
  • Rollovers:  An expert presentation on how it happens – You may be surprised!
  • Electronic Stability Control:  Will it be mandatory and is it right for you?
  • Farm Gate Access: Hear about the nation-leading program in WA and how it is being tackled in the East.
  • Effluent Control: Can chain of responsibility really work?
  • A focus on new technology: What is under development and when will it be available?
  • Heart of Australia: Inspect the 25m long custom-designed clinic-on-wheels, hauled by a Kenworth K200 prime mover.

The full two-day program of events can be found here.  We will bring you further announcements as the event draws nearer.

PACCAR TO CONTINUE SUPPORT IN 2017

The ALRTA is proud to advise members that PACCAR and Dealer will continue to support our national and state associations during 2017.  Our long-term partnership remains rock-solid with more than half of our 800 strong membership base choosing a Kenworth or DAF prime mover.

In August this year we were also very pleased to welcome additional support from PACCAR Parts and we will be working cooperatively to further enhance the value of this new arrangement for our members during 2017.   Stay tuned!

ALRTA OFFICE SHUTDOWN

Members and other interested parties are advised that the ALRTA National Secretariat will shut down over the Christmas and New Year period.  We will close at 5:00pm, Friday 23 December 2016 and re-open at 8:30am, Monday 9 January 2017.

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ALRTA News – 25 November 2016

NATIONAL CONFERENCE REGISTRATIONS NOW OPEN

The ALRTA and LRTAQ are pleased to invite you to attend our combined National Conference 17-18 February 2017 in Toowoomba, QLD.

The conference is a great opportunity to hear from expert speakers about the issues that affect road transport businesses, meet your elected executive team and most importantly – have your say.  You can also mingle with our national and state sponsors in an informal environment while you take a well-earned break catching up with old friends and making new ones.

By attending our combined National Conference in Toowoomba, you will be helping to support local hotels, event spaces and caterers as well as boosting the local economy with every dollar you spend in the city or surrounding areas.  This is also a major fund raising event for our associations to help us work with all levels of government to ensure that our businesses remain profitable and safe.

The Conference will be opened by the Hon. Stirling Hinchliffe, QLD Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games.

The full program and registration details can be found here.  Further details will be announced closer to the event.

We hope to see you there!

RETAIL GIANTS CONSIDER TRUCKCARE

Recently, the ALRTA and ATA met with Coles, Woolworths and ALDI supermarket representatives in their head offices in Sydney and Melbourne.

We have been learning a lot about how the major retailers are reacting to changing community attitudes to corporate social responsibility.  There is no doubt that vocal advocacy groups are making representations to governance boards and shareholders, who are in turn demanding that retail management pay greater attention to animal welfare issues.

Still, it is also true that no supermarket can realistically offer a specific line of ‘cruelty free’ meat because it would imply that their other products do not meet this standard.  So while we are unlikely to ever see broad product segregation on this basis, the supermarket giants are developing quality assurance systems that can track meat throughout the supply chain and ensure that EVERY product is delivered in an ethical, safe and sustainable manner.

So far, all of the supermarkets we have visited agree that road transport is an important component of the production process and that the TruckCare system can give retailers and consumers a vital pillar of the welfare assurance they are increasingly demanding.

Interestingly, Australian retailers are looking to international rather than domestic welfare standards because these are generally better understood by consumers.  This means that a revised TruckCare system will need to meet international best practice rather than minimum domestic standards.  I know that all of our member operators continually strive to observe all Australian animal welfare laws, but in the not too distant future, this alone may not be enough to meet the evolving demands of our major retailers.

We still have a couple more retailers to visit, after which time we will consider what we have learned and progress to the next step of consulting with major meat processors.   We expect that a revised TruckCare system will be re-launched towards the end of 2017.

WORKING TOWARDS NATIONAL CRATE GUIDELINES

The ALRTA has written to Safe Work Australia and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland requesting that the authorities work together to progress the development of national guidelines for the design of livestock crates used in heavy vehicle transport.

While we support the work so far progressed by each authority with respect to the design and operation of cattle crates, the ALRTA is increasingly concerned about the potential for a proliferation of crate guidelines at the national and state levels, and for different livestock species.

Livestock crates are mobile infrastructure routinely operated, bought and sold across state borders.  It makes good sense that crate guidelines should be nationally applicable, noting any significant state differences that may apply.

In addition, it is important to understand that crates are often interchangeable with mezzanine floors that can be used (or not used) depending on the livestock species.  Thus, from a manufacturer or operator perspective, there is little difference between a cattle crate and a sheep crate.

On this basis, there really is no compelling reason to establish separate guidelines for cattle crates that are not also applicable to sheep crates.  While the decks may be spaced differently for species such as pigs, most other fundamental safe design principles are the same.

We consider that the ALRTA’s National ‘Guide for the Safe Design of Livestock Loading Ramps and forcing Yards’ are a good example of an ‘ideal’ approach cross-jurisdictional and multi-species factors.  This guide was developed in consultation with all supply chain stakeholders including producers, saleyards, processors, equipment designers, transporters, safety authorities and welfare advocates.
We are hopeful that Safe Work Australia and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland will jointly progress the development of national crate guidelines on a similar basis, including consultation with the ALRTA and crate manufacturers.

NATIONAL INQUIRY INTO PAYMENT TERMS

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) has launched an inquiry to examine payment times and practices in Australia.

During consultations about the impact of the RSRT and on other matters, the ASBFEO has consistently heard that late payments, together with other adverse payment practices of some big businesses, is a critical issue impacting Australian small businesses.

The ASBFEO has concluded that the issue is not just contained within a single industry sector – it appears to have become a systemic problem in Australian corporate culture and throughout the Australian economy.  Collectively Australian small businesses are owed around $26 billion in unpaid debts at any one time.

As part of this Inquiry, the ASBFEO will look at:

  • The practice of corporations setting payment terms particularly for small businesses;
  • Trends in payment terms and late payment with emphasis on commercial dealings between small business with large corporations or governments;
  • The effects and impacts that long payment times have on small businesses; and
  • Potential regulatory and market-based responses available including recent developments such as unfair contracts legislation.

The ASBFEO will present a final report to the Minister for Small Business, the Hon. Michael McCormack MP, in March 2017.

INDEPENDENT PRICE REGULATOR CRITICAL FOR TRUCKING INDUSTRY

The trucking industry welcomes the Australian Government’s commitment to consult on options for an independent price regulator for heavy vehicle charging, the Chair of the Australian Trucking Association, Noelene Watson, said today.

The commitment is in the Australian Government’s response to Infrastructure Australia’s Australian Infrastructure Plan.

“Trucking operators are overcharged for our use of the roads, with the National Transport Commission finding that truck and bus operators will be overcharged by $515 million over the next two years,” Mrs Watson said.

“Establishing an independent price regulator is a critical reform that should be progressed with urgency.

“The Government has previously committed to transition to independent heavy vehicle price regulation by 2017-18, and the trucking industry strongly encourages the Government to maintain this schedule.

“The independent price regulator should be set up so transport ministers can set legally binding pricing rules in accordance with legislated pricing and consultation principles. Ministers must not have the power to override or review pricing determinations, and there must be merits-based appeals to the Australian Competition Tribunal.

“We look forward to taking up Minister Fletcher’s commitment of extensive consultation with the industry.”

Mrs Watson said independent price regulation and the reform of heavy vehicle charging was also dependent on supply side reform.

“In shifting to a forward looking cost base for heavy vehicle charging, it is critical that the model includes regular audits of the cost of maintaining and building roads,” she said.

“If trucking operators are to pay for forecast expenditure, it needs to be transparent and accountable.”

Both the ATA and ALRTA have provided the National Transport Commission and the Government with rigorous submissions setting out a possible architecture for independent price regulation.

PRELIMINARY RESULTS OF COR SURVEY

A review of business systems will boost heavy vehicle safety and productivity, according to a supply chain survey.

NHVR Compliance Executive Director Tony Kursius said the survey of 800 transport and logistics supply chain businesses showed there were still improvements to be made in implementing and managing Chain of Responsibility.

“The initial finding of the survey showed four out of five companies believed they had all or some systems in place to provide adequate CoR training for managers,” Mr Kursius said.

“We will now continue to work with these companies and those who don’t have any systems in place to improve their safety performance.

“The survey was aimed at both the heavy vehicle industry and the supply chain throughout Australia to gather information that can be delivered to support business that impact safety across the heavy vehicle industry.”

While the full report, to be delivered by Macquarie University, will be due out in 2017, the initial results supported the early release of a suite of information including fact sheets and podcasts.

Mr Kursius said 90 per cent of participants considered everyone in the supply chain responsible for safety in transport operations.

“In 70 per cent of businesses, refusing unsafe work is encouraged by management and staff – we would like to see this number much higher,” he said.

“Business systems and processes to improve CoR awareness and safety should be paramount – poor safety will lead to productivity losses.”

The Survey results will assist the NHVR design education packages to ensure a greater awareness of CoR safety across the heavy vehicle supply chain.

Recently the NHVR released its first series of podcasts and factsheets for the heavy vehicle supply chain as part of a national effort to boost safety for all road users.

Some interesting results:

  • More than 90% of respondents consider that ‘Everyone in the supply chain whose decisions influence safety outcomes’ should be held responsible for safety in transport operations.
  • Only 29% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that CoR is the primary responsibility of the transport company.
  • While the NHVR is seen as the primary source of HVNL and CoR information, more than half of respondents obtain their information from industry associations.
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ALRTA News – 18 November 2016

VICTORIAN GOVERNMENT TO REVIEW OWNER DRIVER ACT

The Victorian Government has this week announced a review of the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 (ODFC).  The OFCD provides a framework for resolving disputes and prescribes the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Code of Practice which contains some mandatory requirements concerning the engagement of contractors, and provides guidance on conduct that is likely to be unconscionable and contract terms that are likely to be unjust for the purposes of the ODFC Act. The Code also provides guidance to promote fair and equitable business relationships between contractors and their hirers.

While the ODFC does not currently specify mandatory rates of pay, the terms of the review are quite broad including coverage of the Act, objectives and all voluntary and mandatory components.  There also appears to be a particular focus on tip truck drivers including the development of a comprehensive, industry based rates and costs schedule and/or code.  The Victorian Transport Council has previously recommended a ‘facilitative’ rates code that is not mandatory in nature.

While still unclear at this stage, certain elements bear a resemblance to the RSRT at the Federal level and the GCCD in NSW.  It is highly likely part of a broader TWU campaign to progress minimum rates by any means possible on a state-by-state basis.

The ALRTA is investigating yesterday’s announcement and will provide further information when possible.  We will of course take appropriate action in response as required.  Submissions to the review are due 31 January 2017.

FLYING THE FLAG IN TASMANIA

This week, the ALRTA National President (Kevin Keenan) and Executive Director (Mathew Munro) headed to Powranna Saleyards, near Launceston Tasmania to attend an LTAT Committee meeting and AGM.

There were 27 attendees at the LTAT meeting from across the state.  ALRTA underscored the importance of maintaining a viable state association in Tasmania and offered to assist in building and sustaining the association.    We outlined our policy achievements at the national level and heard about the issues that need urgent attention in Tasmania.  With the support of our national sponsors BP, Beaurepaires and PACCAR Parts, we were able to provide $350 rewards packs for some new members who joined the association on the day.

The ALRTA congratulates the LTAT Executive team elected at the AGM:

  • President – Spencer Griggs
  • Senior Vice President – Nick Hingston
  • Junior Vice President – Adam Viney
  • Secretary / Treasurer – Tony Steers

Earlier in the day, President Griggs and Vice President Hingston attended a Powranna Truckwash Steering Committee meeting along with the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, Northern Midlands Council, Northern Midlands Business Association and the State Government.  The State and Federal Governments have allocated approximately $500,000 to build a new two bay truckwash on land owned by Roberts Limited that will be operated by the Council.   It was a productive meeting with construction tenders to be complete by 30 June 2017 and operation to commence by the end of 2017.


ALRTA and LTAT representatives pose in front of the future truckwash site (the tree’d area behind). 

WHAT DO RETAILERS WANT?

Over the next two weeks the ALRTA and ATA representatives are meeting with major retailers as part of our review of the TruckSafe system.  On Friday this week, the ALRTA National President and Executive Director met with Coles in Melbourne and on Monday next week ALRTA will link up with the TruckSafe Manager Justin Fleming to visit Woolworths and ALDI in Sydney.

We have also now received feedback on the TruckSafe system from Animal Health Australia and the RSPCA.

The aim of the consultation is to learn more about how community expectations are changing and how this is translating into consumer attitudes.  The TruckCare system is still a great way to demonstrate compliance with animal welfare laws, but we want to ensure that it is also recognised as ‘best practice’ by all other parties in the supply chain, governments and the community.

Being TruckCare accredited should be more than a ‘feel good’.  Knowing what markets want is the key to re-designing a system that will be sought after by consumers and purchasers of transport services.

ATA COUNCIL MEETS IN CANBERRA

The ATA Council met in Canberra this week to consider issues including constitutional changes, the ATA strategic plan, NHVR code of practice guidelines, and investigation and enforcement powers of HVNL authorised officers.

ALRTA was represented by David Smith (LRTASA President, ALRTA ATA Rep & ATA Vice Chair) and Mathew Munro (ALRTA Executive Director).  We were particularly pleased with the constitutional change that now enables the ATA to convene short notice ‘committee’ meetings of the entire Council to consider urgent policy issues.  ALRTA had been calling for such changes in the wake of the problems experienced when we proposed vital motions to the ATA Council concerning the RSRT.  At the time, the RSRT was proposing significant regulatory changes with only 7 days for industry to respond, yet our motions could not be properly considered by Council with less than 21 days notice.   We expect that the ATA will now be able to respond far more rapidly to similar threats in future.

TRUCKSAFE ANNOUNCED AS INDUSTRY FINALIST FOR PROFESSIONAL EXCELLENCE

The ATA’s TruckSafe accreditation program has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) annual awards for excellence for 2016.

The category in which TruckSafe was nominated, Excellence in Professional Development, recognises organisations that demonstrate exceptional commitment to the development of its employees, and in this instance, TruckSafe’s members.

TruckSafe accreditation has delivered management, operational and safety benefits to more then 820 businesses that have adopted its standards.

In its nomination to CILT for the Excellence in Professional Development Award, National Transport Insurance (NTI) endorsed TruckSafe’s nomination stating the TruckSafe program provides for an ‘operational and management infrastructure that creates an environment for operators and staff to be better than the rest’.

Stephen Marley, TruckSafe Chairman said it was an honour to be a finalist.

“To be a finalist for this award recognises the members of the TruckSafe accreditation program and their commitment during the last 20 years for choosing to underpin safety and professional development in their business operations. These businesses have come a long way,” he said.

“We pride ourselves on our safety, well maintained equipment, professional staff, and our professional business systems. TruckSafe has and continues to be an integral part of our success,” said Paul Fellows, Fellows Bulk Transport, member of the TruckSafe accreditation program.

The awards ceremony, to be held on 26 November 2016 at the CILT 2016 Annual Awards Event in Moonee Valley, will celebrate the accomplishments of some of the finest passenger, freight and defence transport and logistics companies and individuals in the world.

“Each year it gets harder and harder to judge these awards – with all submissions demonstrating excellent and innovative projects out there in the industry!” said Karyn Welsh, National Manager, CILT.

“This is great for the industry as it demonstrates heightened best practice and pushing the bar for excellence. I would like to congratulate you all; every submission is deserving of an award as it contributes to the improvement to the industry as a whole,” she said.

TruckSafe has continued to evolve and a new suite of module updates will be released on 1 January 2017.

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Media Release – ALRTA Releases National Animal Welfare Policy

ALRTA RELEASES NATIONAL ANIMAL WELFARE POLICY

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has released a National Animal Welfare Policy for livestock carriers.

The policy statement lays out thirteen key principles for best practice in livestock transport and has been agreed by all six of the ALRTA’s state associations.

ALRTA President Kevin Keenan said that the association has taken a proactive approach to safeguarding animal welfare and it was important to articulate agreed national policies to all key stakeholders.

“Caring for live cargos is a unique part of the rural road transport task that is under constant scrutiny by markets, governments and the community”, said President Keenan.

“The interaction of animal welfare laws, workplace safety laws and road transport laws creates complex challenges in balancing the equally important elements of driver welfare and animal welfare”.

“Over the past three years, our National Animal Welfare Committee has examined our role in the supply chain and championed several important new initiatives.  For example, we have published national guidelines for the safe design of ramps and forcing yards, merged truckCare with the award winning truckSafe accreditation system and established LivestockASSIST – a 24hr national hotline dedicated to coordinating emergency responses.”

“Our association now has a holistic approach to promoting positive animal welfare outcomes that commences with pre-transit livestock preparation, through loading, transport, unloading and emergency responses in the rare event that things go wrong”.

“We are proud of who we are and what we do.  We expect our member operators to uphold the highest possible animal welfare standards at all times.  Publication of the ALRTA National Animal Welfare Policy will help to inform all stakeholders about our efforts to protect our animals, markets and reputation,” said President Keenan.

The ALRTA National Animal Welfare Policy can be downloaded here

The policy will be updated over time as community expectations evolve and new policies are adopted.

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ALRTA News – 11 November 2016

ALRTA RELEASES NATIONAL ANIMAL WELFARE POLICY

The ALRTA has today released a National Animal Welfare Policy for livestock carriers.

The policy statement lays out thirteen key principles for best practice in livestock transport and has been agreed by all six of the ALRTA’s state associations.

ALRTA President Kevin Keenan said that the association has taken a proactive approach to safeguarding animal welfare and it was important to articulate agreed national policies to all key stakeholders.

“Caring for live cargos is a unique part of the rural road transport task that is under constant scrutiny by markets, governments and the community,” said President Keenan.

“The interaction of animal welfare laws, workplace safety laws and road transport laws creates complex challenges in balancing the equally important elements of driver welfare and animal welfare”.

“Over the past three years, our National Animal Welfare Committee has examined our role in the supply chain and championed several important new initiatives.  For example, we have published national guidelines for the safe design of ramps and forcing yards, merged truckCare with the award winning truckSafe accreditation system and established LivestockASSIST – a 24hr national hotline dedicated to coordinating emergency responses.”

“Our association now has a holistic approach to promoting positive animal welfare outcomes that commences with pre-transit livestock preparation, through loading, transport, unloading and emergency responses in the rare event that things go wrong.”

“We are proud of who we are and what we do.  We expect our member operators to uphold the highest possible animal welfare standards at all times.  Publication of the ALRTA National Animal Welfare Policy will help to inform all stakeholders about our efforts to protect our animals, markets and reputation,” said President Keenan.

The ALRTA National Animal Welfare Policy can be downloaded from the ALRTA website, www.alrta.org.au.

The policy will be updated over time as community expectations evolve and new policies are adopted.

MINISTERIAL COUNCIL MEETS IN PERTH

The ALRTA National Vice President Stephen Marley was invited to observe the 6thmeeting of the Transport and Infrastructure Ministerial Council held in Perth on Friday, 4 November 2017.

Here are some of the notable outcomes:

  • Road Safety: recognised the need to address the disproportionate amount of trauma in regional and remote areas.
  • Charging: All governments will work together to produce a potential road map of full market reform for COAG consideration in early 2017, including the costs and benefits of road user charging for light vehicles.  For heavy vehicles, NTC will develop a forward-looking life cycle cost base model (i.e. estimating future costs over time, rather than just recovering the amount spent in previous years) and consider options for independent price setting.
  • National Registration Scheme: ‘Officially’, reaffirmed commitment to a national registration scheme by 1 July 2018.  We are hearing conflicting reports about this one however….stay tuned.
  • Chain of Responsibility: further amendments will be made to the HVNL to extend positive due diligence duties to executive officers (much like WH&S laws).
  • Vehicle Automation: the introduction of autonomous vehicles will be fast-tracked wherever possible.  ‘Herbie the love bug’, ‘K.I.T.’ and ‘Johnny Cabs’ may be on the road sooner than you think.

AMERICA ELECTS PRESIDENT TRUMP

You would have heard it all by now, but WOW, there you go!

Some say it was the ‘real America talking’, but that doesn’t explain why there has also been a significant shift to the right in Australia, the UK and across western Europe.  Whatever your personal views, one thing is certain – the world is changing!

For starters, we may no longer be able to take for granted free and open international markets.  Increasingly, much of the western world is beginning to look inwards at the needs of their own disaffected populations rather than blindly holding to a global free trade ideal.  First there was ‘stop the boats’, then ‘Brexit’, now Trump is going to build a Mexican wall, ban Muslim immigrants, tax Chinese imports at 45% and tear up the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement.

You only have to look at the chaos on the ‘forward looking’ stock market this week to see that the business sector is factoring in highly uncertain times ahead.

LOOK UP AND LIVE

Here is short article recently published by Worksafe Health and Safety Queensland that serves as a reminder for all sectors of our diverse industry to be conscious about your surroundings at all times, especially in unfamiliar territory:

A cattle truck driver recently came into contact with overhead high voltage powerlines when he climbed on top of his trailer to check on the cattle.

The driver parked his truck on a quiet and flat roadway, but it was dark and he did not realise that he was directly below powerlines.  When he climbed on top of the truck, he contacted the 22,000 volt powerlines and received severe burns to his head and feet.  The electrical shock caused him to fall into the cattle crate rather than 4.6 metres to the ground and he survived the incident.

Always check your surroundings and park your vehicle well clear of powerlines.  Plan your route before you start and only stop at places where it is safe to check on the cattle. If there are designated truck stops and rest areas on the route, use them.

NATIONAL ANIMAL WELFARE COMMITTEE

The ALRTA National Animal Welfare Committee met this week to discuss several important issues including:  effluent strategy; crate safety; flexibility in driving hours for animal welfare purposes; and fast-tracking the installation of optional user-pay unloading frames at certain premises.

ATA SUPPORTS FAIRER SMALL BUSINESS CONTRACTS WITH MEMBER EXCLUSIVE INFORMATION

ATA Chair Noelene Watson today urged trucking businesses to contact their ATA member associations to get information on the unfair contract terms legislation before it comes into force tomorrow.

Designed to protect small businesses from unfair terms in standard form contracts, this new law will apply to contracts entered into or renewed on or after 12 November 2016.

The protections will apply to businesses with fewer than 20 employees that agree to standard contracts where the upfront price is no more than either $300,000, or $1 million if the contract is for more than 12 months.

Mrs Watson said the protections would apply to almost 98 per cent of trucking businesses.
“These protections have the potential to be extremely important for the trucking industry,” Mrs Watson said.

“Every small business in our industry and every larger business that uses standard form contracts needs to understand the impact of the law.

“The ATA released a contract checklist and comprehensive general information in September 2016 about the new protections.

“The contract checklist and the information are available exclusively from the ATA’s member associations.

“The ACCC has published excellent general information about the protections, including a review of unfair terms in selected industries, but the information released by the ATA focuses on the terms that are commonly found in trucking industry contracts.

“I urge every trucking business to contact their ATA member association to get this vital information, and if you are not a member, I urge you to join one of our associations now,” she said.

About ATA contract checklist and unfair contract terms information
The contract checklist released by the ATA in September 2016 provides trucking businesses and their legal advisers with information about the contract issues they should consider before they sign.

The ATA has also released information about the unfair contract terms protections. This information is essential for any small trucking businesses that is considering signing a standard form contract; and for larger trucking businesses that are looking to review their standard form contracts to comply with the new requirements.

The contract checklist and unfair contract terms information were prepared by Cooper Grace Ward exclusively for the ATA and the members of its member associations.

You can contact the ALRTA to get a copy.

REMINDER: LTAT FORUM

The ALRTA and LTAT cordially invite all interested livestock carriers to attend a special meeting in Powranna, Tasmania, at 12:30pm, Thursday, 17 November 2016.

Attendees will have the opportunity to provide input into the construction and operation of a new state-of-the-art truckwash at the Powranna Selling Complex which is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments and will be operated by Northern Midlands Shire Council.

Establishment of the $500,000 facility was championed by the LTAT for the benefit of all rural carriers and to support continuing economic development in Tasmania.  The ALRTA provided strong support for the matching Commonwealth grant allocated via the National Stronger Regions Fund.

LTAT President (Spencer Griggs), ALRTA National President (Kevin Keenan) and Executive Director (Mathew Munro) will also advise attendees about a broad range of other important issues that our associations are progressing to improve the operating environment.

Thanks to our National Sponsors Beaurepaires, BP and PACCAR Parts, any operator who signs up to become a member of LTAT on the day will immediately receive a $350 reward pack which includes vouchers for tyres, fuel and parts.  LTAT will offer new memberships for a special reduced rate.

So, if you have an interest in livestock transport in Tasmania, please come along and listen to what we can do for your business.  If you like what you hear, we’d love to have you on board.  Joining our national grass-roots association of more than 800 rural carriers will give you a much bigger voice than you could have on your own.

For more information about timing, location and a more detailed programme, please contact Colleen in the ALRTA Secretariat on (02) 6247 5434 or office@alrta.org.au.

REMINDER: HAVE YOUR SAY ON THE LOAD RESTRAINT GUIDE

The NTC is working closely with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to review the current edition of the Load Restraint Guide and we are seeking your feedback on how the guide can be improved.

The Load Restraint Guide provides transport drivers, operators, and other participants in the transport chain of responsibility with basic safety principles which should be followed for the safe carriage of loads on road vehicles.

This project aims to ensure the guide:

  • is easy to access and understand
  • meets the needs of the people who use it
  • is accurate, up to date and reflects the practices that have developed since the last edition of the Guide was published in 2004.

You can have your say about the format and structure of the new guide by completing a short survey .

Find out more about the Load Restraint Guide

Posted in ALRTA Weekly News, General News | Comments Off on ALRTA News – 11 November 2016