ALRTA News 23 September 2016


It is with great sadness that we share the news of Shane Knight’s passing early on the morning of the 19th September, surrounded by his family. Shane Knight has been a passionate member of the LRTAV for more than 25 years and Vice President for four years.  Shane was also was also a regular contributor on the ALRTA National Council.

Shane was made a life member of the LRTAV in 2013, won the inaugural Significant Contribution to the Rural Transporting Industry award in 2015 and was inducted into the National Road Transport Hall of Fame this year, which we were delighted to celebrate with him and his family at our joint ALRTA-LRTAV Joint National-State Conference in Torquay, Victoria.

Shane has been a staunch supporter of our associations and was a driving force behind the development of our National Guidelines for Loading Ramps and Forcing Yards. Shane was passionate about driver welfare, and he had no issue with bringing people to task when they did not have driver welfare at the top of their list.

Shane and his wife Jeanine operate S & J Knight Livestock Transport from Tanjil South near Moe. He was father and father in law to Mark (Ralph) and Sarah, Kylie and Jason, Matthew and Sarah (Dot). Shane was a proud and adored Grandpa to Charlie, Levi and Leo.

We will miss Shane and extend our sincere condolences to Jeanine and family.

Funeral arrangements – The funeral of Mr Shane Knight will be held at Latrobe Valley Funeral Services Chapel, 6 Ollerton Ave, Moe on MONDAY (September 26th 2016) at 11am. At the conclusion of this service the funeral will proceed to the Willow Grove Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to West Gippsland Palliative Care or The National Trucking Hall of Fame would be appreciated. Envelopes at the service.


The ALRTA National Animal Welfare Sub-Committee met via teleconference this week to discuss a range of issues including effluent control; crate safety; and promotion of best practice loading infrastructure.  The Sub-Committee has agreed that the ALRTA should host a broad stakeholder workshop on effluent and crate safety in early November.  Look out for more details in the coming weeks.

Shortly afterwards, an ALRTA delegation (LBCA President Lynley Miners, ALRTA Executive Director and ALRTA National Officer) met with the RSPCA CEO (Heather Neil) and Chief Scientific Officer (Melina Tensen) to talk about the proactive steps our industry is taking to improve animal welfare outcomes.  We extended an invitation to RSPCA to be part of our effluent workshop and assist in our comprehensive review of the truckCare system.


Last week the ALRTA President and Executive Director headed to Temora NSW for an LBCA Forum that brought together transport operators, local councils, NSW RMS, TfNSW and the NHVR for an open discussion about improving road access with a particular emphasis on last mile, 4.6m height, livestock loading scheme and grain harvest mass management scheme.

Not unexpectedly, inadequate funding for local roads was seen as one of the key constraints to opening up more of the network, but equally, the perception that heavier trucks are less safe and cause greater pavement damage is also common at the state and local levels of government.

In fact, when measured on a ‘tonne kilometre’ basis, larger or heavier trucks are safer and do less damage than using a greater number of smaller vehicles for the same work.  Clearly, we need to do more to get that message out there to encourage local councils to take up livestock loading and grain harvest schemes.

The NSW Government has several programs in place right now that target new funding at country roads, bridges and truck washes.  Some Councils are clearly much better than others at building a credible case to access these monies and we saw some excellent examples where the funds had been used to connect up important parts of their local network that benefit local residents, rural transporters and local businesses. Much can be learned by others from these great examples.

Some issues can be downright frustrating and I would think could be solved with the application of a little bit of common sense.  For example, stock crates have been built at 4.6m and used on country roads for two decades – can’t we just accept that there is no evidence of a problem and formalise the current arrangement?

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I reckon that the forum was a very useful conversation starter that has improved understanding, established personal connections and teased out some of the issues and opportunities for improving access to the road network.  Of course, the challenge now is the convert the talk into concrete actions – council by council if need be.


The NTC invites you to attend a workshop to discuss the unknown changes, opportunities and challenges for Australia’s transport system.  The key question is:How should we regulate land transport in the future?

The forums will be used to help shape a final report that will be considered by Ministers in May 2017.  It is expected that the findings will better inform future potential research and policy projects that affect the way governments regulate your business.

The workshops will be held during October in most capital cities.  ALRTA representatives will attend and make sure we are heard, but you are also welcome to come along yourself – if you are able to get to one of the venues.

More information can be found here.


As reported last week, the new chain of responsibility laws have been introduced into the QLD Parliament and will be rolled out across all HVNL states over the next 12 months.

The NHVR is now preparing materials to inform operators and supply chain parties about the new laws.  But, before they do that, they want to know about your understanding of, and attitude towards, chain of responsibility.

I have certainly heard some comments that are way off the mark as well as very strong opinions about what chain of responsibility laws ought to be able to do. Potentially, there is a lot to be learned by listening to our grass roots operators.

If you can spare 15 minutes, please take the time to complete the NHVR’s online survey which is open until 10 October 2016.  Your participation will help to shape the delivery of education materials and identify best practice within the freight and logistics sector.

You can find the survey here.


Members are advised that the ALRTA will be holding an SGM and Council meeting in Canberra on Friday, 21 October 2016.  Details are:

Council: 8:30am
SGM: 9:30am
Close: 3:00pm
Location: ATA Board Room, Lvl 3, Minter Ellison Building, National Circuit, Forrest, ACT.

The purpose of the AGM is to consider the ALRTA’s audited accounts for 2015-2016.

For more information please contact the ALRTA Secretariat.


Time is running out to get your $350 rewards pack!  All you need to do is help sign up a new member to one of our six fabulous state associations.

If you recruit a mate to join any one of our family of state associations between 5 August 2016 and 5 October 2016, we will send you a $350 rewards pack that includes:

  • A $100 fuel voucher – thanks to BP;
  • A $100 parts voucher – thanks to PACCAR Parts; and
  • A $150 tyre voucher – thanks to Beaurepaires.
  • And that’s not all – the new member will also receive the same rewards package!

Here’s how it works:

  • You recruit a new member;
  • They fill out an application form, make payment and nominate you as the referrer;
  • You both receive a $350 rewards package in the mail shortly after 5 October 2016.

All members are also eligible to enjoy ongoing benefits such as fuel discounts via the BP network, special tyre offers and extended coverage with NTI insurance products.

You can obtain more information and application forms from our state associationshere.

This offer is strictly limited to the first 50 new members Australia wide.

So, what are you waiting for?

Posted in ALRTA Weekly News, Chain of Responsibility, Livestock | Tagged , | Comments Off on ALRTA News 23 September 2016

ALRTA News – 16 September 2016


On 13 September 2016, the Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 was introduced into Queensland Parliament.

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 better hold off-road parties responsible for matters such as effluent containments and loading infrastructure.  However, it also includes some changes that we might not support.   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.

There are a zillion other little amendments that will need to be examined and compared with the current law to fully understand with actual implications.

The Queensland Parliament Transportation and Utilities Committee has invited submissions on the Bill by 28 September 2016.  The ALRTA will seek advice on the amendments and make representations as necessary.


The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman has this week completed the Inquiry into the effect of the RSRT Contractor Driver Minimum Payments Road Safety Remuneration Order 2016.

The ALRTA made a very detailed and comprehensive submission to this Inquiry – we do not EVER want to see the RSRT or anything like it return in future!

A report has been prepared and formally delivered to the Federal Minister for Small Business, the Hon Michael McCormack MP.  The report was tabled in the Federal Parliament.  Let’s hope the NSW Government and NSW Industrial Relations Commission is taking note.

Here is the accompanying press release outlining the report’s findings (article below).


Small business owner-truck drivers impacted by the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal’s (RSRT) Payments Order suffered significant financial and emotional distress as a result of the now defunct Order, according to the findings of an inquiry undertaken by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell.

The ASBFEO was instructed by the Small Business Minister in May, to undertake the inquiry looking into the ramifications of the Order for small businesses.

Ms Carnell said the inquiry drew on industry feedback, written and verbal submissions from owner-truck drivers and incorporated evidence from community forums held around the country.

“The stories we heard were heart-breaking; fundamentally what we found was the Order caused significant financial and emotional distress for small business owner-drivers; many lost work, resulting in a loss of income that impacted not only on their business, but their entire family,” Ms Carnell said.

“Tragically, the inquiry also heard evidence that a small number of people found the Order compounded their mental health battles and financial difficulties to the extent that they took their own lives, so it’s our strong recommendation that mental health implications be considered when regulation like this is developed in the future.

“While the Order was only operational for a short time, some businesses continue to struggle in its aftermath, with many unable to secure work again due to the uncertainty and confusion the complex Order created within the industry,” she said.

Ms Carnell said given the Payments Order only set minimum rates of pay for owner-drivers, it was found to have had a discriminatory impact on mum-and-dad operators.

“These pay rates did not apply to big business logistics companies with employed drivers; only mum-and-dad owner-operators were impacted by the Order.  This of course created an unfair system whereby small business drivers weren’t able to compete on a level playing field,” Ms Carnell said.

“To suggest that road safety will improve by implementing a payments system that only affects owner-operators, not the big companies, is extremely misguided; road safety is an issue for all drivers.

“We found no evidence that owner-operators are less safe than employed drivers.  In fact, evidence shows that the number of accidents involving trucks has decreased, and many of the accidents that do occur, are the fault of motor vehicles,” she said.

Ms Carnell said the ASBFEO inquiry also investigated the conduct of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, and found it was overly legalistic and adversarial in its operation.

“For many owner-drivers, this was their first experience with this kind of process; they were unaware of proper procedures, and as a result were unprepared for what followed,” Ms Carnell said.

“I’ve been around business and politics for a lot of years and I have never encountered anything like these tribunal hearings. Some of the stories of those involved in the Tribunal were certainly eye-opening; a lack of respect for owner-drivers, unreasonable treatment of people who were not lawyers or barristers, and not listening to people who were just telling their story simply because they didn’t say it in legalese, were just a few of the observations relayed to us.

“It was obvious through the evidence that we gathered, that tribunals like this aren’t the answer when it comes to developing regulation of this kind, and that the development and implementation of future regulation – by any government agency – that impacts on small business, should involve extensive consultation with the sector,” she said.

A copy of the report is available here.


Last month, the NHVR released the second AFM template for livestock and rural carriers which allows up to 15 ½ hrs or work time in a single work opportunity on a non-consecutive basis (i.e. to be followed by a 12hr work day).

This comes in addition to template 1 that allows a fortnightly work cycle. Together, the templates can provide accredited operators with much needed flexibility in their operations.

I know that for many years AFM has just been too hard for most.  However, the release of these pre-approved templates has made applying for AFM much cheaper and much easier.  You do not have to prove that the system is safe, you just need to show that you can follow the system outlined in the template – and if you already have BFM it is not a big leap to an AFM template.

Information about the Livestock Transport Fatigue Management Scheme is available here.


Have you heard about the new ProWay Crate P.A.L. side loading frame?  It can really make your unloading task far safer and more efficient.  Check out a special video featuring John Beer that is now posted on the ALRTA website.


Next year, our National Conference will be hosted by LRTAQ in Toowoomba, QLD, 16-18 February 2017.   Planning is already underway and we look forward to bringing you another great program of speakers, opportunities to have your say, and social events.

Some of our states have also locked in their dates for 2017:

  • LBCA: 31 March – 1 April 2017 – Dubbo, NSW.
  • LRTASA: 16-17 June – Adelaide, SA.


The ALRTA is excited to advise members of the new staffing arrangements in our National Office.

The new team is:

  • Executive Director – Mathew Munro
  • Finance Manager – Jack Evans
  • Marketing Manager – Tanya Ballat
  • National Officer – Colleen Mays

Tanya re-joins our team, but this time around she is working exclusively for the ALRTA.  The position is now focussed only on our national sponsors, raising the profile of the national association and delivering promotions/benefits that attract grass-roots members across all states.

Colleen is our first ‘National Officer’ – a new role that combines administrative, research and policy functions.  Colleen was raised in rural NSW and has previously worked with Animal Health Australia, in the Federal public service and at deputy-director level at Engineers Australia.

Please make our new team members feel welcome! I am confident that the new staffing arrangements will support the delivery of even better outcomes for member operators around the country.


Time is running out to get your $350 rewards pack!  All you need to do is help sign up a new member to one of our six fabulous state associations.

We already have 34 new members signed up, with just 16 reward packs still available to 5 October 2016. Here are the details once again.

If you recruit a mate to join any one of our family of state associations between 5 August 2016 and 5 October 2016, we will send you a $350 rewards pack that includes:

  • A $100 fuel voucher – thanks to BP;
  • A $100 parts voucher – thanks to PACCAR Parts; and
  • A $150 tyre voucher – thanks to Beaurepaires.
  • And that’s not all – the new member will also receive the same rewards package!

Here’s how it works:

  • You recruit a new member;
  • They fill out an application form, make payment and nominate you as the referrer;
  • You both receive a $350 rewards package in the mail shortly after 5 October 2016.

All members are also eligible to enjoy ongoing benefits such as fuel discounts via the BP network, special tyre offers and extended coverage with NTI insurance products.

You can obtain more information and application forms from our state associationshere.

This offer is strictly limited to the first 50 new members Australia wide.

So, what are you waiting for?

Posted in ALRTA Weekly News, Chain of Responsibility, Fatigue, Remuneration Order | Tagged , | Comments Off on ALRTA News – 16 September 2016

ALRTA News – 9 September 2016


This week ALRTA attended a meeting of the NTC Load Restraint Guide (LRG) Maintenance Group.  While the LRG is an important reference tool for operators, enforcement officers and courts, it has become outdated since it was last reviewed 12 years ago and it is incomplete in some important aspects.

For example, the current version includes only minimal reference to livestock loading and there are zero references to effluent control.

Last year the ALRTA successfully lobbied for a new approach to chain of responsibility laws that will better capture off-road parties in the livestock supply chain.  Now that Ministers have agreed to implement the new laws, it is time to more clearly articulate the duties of the various parties with respect to effluent control.

I am pleased to report that there was unanimous support across the states, NTC, NHVR and key industry bodies for livestock loading and effluent control to be included in the revised guide.  This should take the form of key ‘high level’ concepts that can support the separate development of specific guidance material on effluent control (e.g. that effluent is part of the ‘goods’ being transported; that effluent spills are load restraint breaches; and that off-road parties have a duty to prevent on-road load restraint breaches).

Critically, the LRG will also refer to the more detailed industry effluent guide, effectively giving it some level of recognition under the HVNL.

While the ALRTA is making steady progress on this issue, the wheels of government are slow when all of the jurisdictions are involved.  Ministers won’t consider the final revised LRG until November 2017, and then there will still be legislative processes to play out before the new guide is properly recognised.

Later this year, the ALRTA will invite supply chain parties to participate in the development of the more detailed guidance material so that all of the elements can eventually come together at the same time.  This will create a fundamentally different operating environment that educates and empowers enforcement officers while motivating off-road chain parties to prepare animals correctly prior to transport.


Effluent control is not the only area where chain of responsibility has been ineffective in the livestock supply chain.

The ALRTA has written to the NTC outlining our perspectives on how the new chain of responsibility laws ought to be applied to livestock loading infrastructure and inviting the NTC to clarify duties and work with the ALRTA to improve safety for our drivers and other road users.

Over the past 40 years, there has been a dramatic improvement in the standard of prime movers and trailers used for the livestock freight task.  The safety performance of a modern, purpose built, combination is scarcely comparable to the vehicles used in the 1970s and 80s.

As technology has advanced, so too has the price of purchasing and maintaining a contemporary heavy vehicle combination.  Professional livestock transporters invest many hundreds of thousands of dollars in their on-road equipment and are subject to regular observation or inspection by enforcement authorities.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for livestock loading and unloading infrastructure.  All too often, drivers of modern vehicles have no choice but to use the very same loading ramp that was built for vehicles designed a generation ago (or even longer).

Outdated livestock loading infrastructure is neither vehicle-friendly or animal-friendly.  Drivers know that a prolonged and tedious loading or unloading process can significantly affect their fatigue levels over the full length of a transport task.

ALRTA has taken a proactive approach toward promoting improvements in the design, construction and operation of livestock loading ramps and forcing yards by developing and publishing national guidelines.  While the guide has been well received by some livestock facilities, there are many others that remain resigned to doing the absolute bare minimum in line with the lowest-cost option – or simply will take no action at all.
It is simply not acceptable that we continue the practice of putting this important sector in the ‘too hard basket’, thereby exposing our drivers and other road users to on-road safety risks that can, and should be, controlled by off-road parties in the chain.

With the imminent introduction of the new chain of responsibility laws, there is an excellent opportunity for the ALRTA to partner with authorities such as the NTC and NHVR to more clearly articulate the responsibilities of the parties in the livestock supply chain.


In cooperation with the LBCA, the ALRTA has prepared a written evidentiary statement warning the Industrial Relations Commission about the dangers of extending minimum rates for owner drivers in NSW and flagging the prospect of further ‘regulatory creep’ that could extend the rates to sectors that are currently exempt.

The ALRTA has discussed the issue with other interested parties and we have concluded that the best option for our association is to play a supporting role rather than make direct representations in the formal industrial proceedings.

Firstly, we believe that the majority of our membership is exempt from the current interim
General Carriers Contract Determination.  Basically, you are unlikely to be covered if you carry livestock; use a specialised vehicle (e.g. a tipper, tanker, low loader); go to or from a farm; are engaged by a primary producer; or undertake work for more than one primary contractor.

Secondly, the parties who are ‘registered industrial organisations’ in NSW are collectively opposing the right of any new organisation to join the proceedings in their own right.  Some other associations are using a large part of their resources just trying to get seat at the table.  Due to the fact we are largely exempt, it would be an even harder task for the ALRTA.

Nonetheless, given our recent experiences with the RSRT and the clear strategy of the TWU to bring owner drivers into the industrial relations system, we do think it is important to support the efforts of the affected parties in opposing the TWU proposals.  Our evidentiary statement has been provided to support the case of ‘RFNSW – Australian Industry Group’ case.

Readers of last week’s newsletter would also be aware that ALRTA has successfully brought motions to the ATA Council that requires the ATA to adopt a clear position opposing mandatory minimum rates for owner drivers; and, importantly, that the ATA take appropriate steps to prevent or limit the application of mandatory minimum rates.

ALRTA met with NatRoad this week to explore opportunities for a cooperative campaign both in NSW and Federally to investigate and pursue opportunities for a political solution.


I have been informed of a recent incident in which an internal mezzanine deck collapsed and smothered several sheep. While this is a tragic and rare event, it is important that we do everything we can to minimise these risks.

Please remind your drivers to check that all deck anchor points are secure and that taller animals are not placed underneath sections that could be lifted out of place.

There are eyes and ears everywhere in the animal welfare space.  Wherever you are, you are an ambassador for our industry so make sure you are always mindful of animal welfare laws and apply best practice.

Posted in General News | Comments Off on ALRTA News – 9 September 2016

ALRTA News – 2 September 2016


The 45th Australian Federal Parliament resumed on Tuesday this week…..and already the Turnbull Government’s thin 1 seat majority has been put to the test – and failed.

Late yesterday, several Coalition members were absent from the House of Representatives (mostly to leave early to travel home) and Labor ambushed the Government by moving, and winning, three successive votes and then coming within just one vote of establishing a Royal Commission into the banking sector.

The motions won by Labor were on procedural matters (e.g. one of the votes prevented the House from adjourning until the next sitting) but this is still highly embarrassing for a Government that claims to have a solid working majority.  In fact, they are the first defeats if this kind since 1962!

Turnbull will be thanking his lucky stars that the Government was in the end able to muster the numbers to prevent the Labor proposed Royal Commission and perhaps something even more serious such as a no confidence motion in the Prime Minister.

I would hazard to guess that there will be no more early marks for Government members for the remainder of the Parliamentary term.


ATA Council met on Thursday in Canberra to coincide with Truck Week 2016.

ALRTA President Kevin Keenan was part of a Truck Week industry delegation that met with several Parliamentarians including the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and the Minister for Small Business.  The delegation was carrying important messages about industry regulation and how we can improve safety.

The ALRTA successfully proposed to the ATA Council that increases in steer axle mass be included in the ATA’s 3-year strategic plan (7.5t on standard singles and 12.5t on twin steer with load sharing); that the ATA adopt a clear position opposing mandatory minimum rates for owner drivers; and, importantly, that the ATA take appropriate steps to prevent or limit the application of mandatory minimum rates.

These successful motions will open the door for the ATA to actively oppose the TWU’s current push to extend the application of mandatory minimum rates in NSW via the General Carrier Contract Determination (GCCD).   While the GCCD contains provisions that exempt most rural carriers, it represents the ‘thin edge of a wedge’ that will leads as straight back down the path to RSRT style regulation.


Do you fill your trailer before reaching your mass limits? If so, we want to know!

The NTC has released an issues paper on ‘Increasing heavy vehicle volumetric load capacity without increasing mass limits’.

As the name suggests, the paper explores options for allowing increases in vehicle dimension (height, length and width) for tasks in which the freight would normally fill a standard trailer well before the statutory mass limits are reached.

Heavier freight such as livestock or grain are unlikely to benefit from the proposal, but the rural freight task is highly diverse, and there may be circumstances where additional volume would be beneficial for specific tasks.

The closing date for submissions is 26 September 2016.  Please drop me a line if you want to talk about how the proposal could benefit you.


The NHVR’s Customer Portal is the new way for industry to prepare, lodge and track their Access permit applications. It is free for users and businesses to register for the Customer Portal, using a simple sign up process and just a few easy steps to lodge your permit application.

After consulting with Industry reference groups, access permit applications via email and online ‘smart forms’ will be discontinued from 30 September 2016.  The fax and mail channels will remain open and customers will still be able to pay by cheque.

Progress to Date
The AccessCONNECT Program team has worked with stakeholders and industry to create the Customer Portal, and released the product in stages to industry over a 3 month period from 4th May to 31st July 2016. During this staged roll out, over 1,500 Access permit applications were lodged through the Portal, accounting for almost 20% of all applications. The NHVR fully released the Customer Portal for Access permit applications to all of the industry from 1st August 2016.  Within the first few weeks, 40% of all Access permit applications are now being lodged through the new service.

Benefits of the Customer Portal
The initial review of performance and feedback from customers has been positive:

  • Well-made applications: improved quality of information included in applications when lodged
  • Reduced number of  requests for further information due to completed application details
  • Time saved in getting applications to Road Managers to commence assessment quicker
  • Re-using previous application data: ability to re-use vehicle configurations and permit applications
  • Understanding application progress: new Case Tracker – where applications are at in the assessment process
  • Improved routing capability: a new and improved integrated Route Planner product

Channel Migration
Since 1st August 2016, the Customer Portal has steadily seen an increase in use as outlined in the table below:

Total Lodgements Customer Portal Website Email Fax Mail
1,201 478 174 520 15 14
First 2 weeks: 40% 14% 43% 1% 1%

The NHVR would like to see as many applications as possible lodged through the Customer Portal to start streamlining the processing of Access permit applications and ensure better quality information is provided for consent processing.

For further information on the Customer Portal or AccessCONNECT Program, please email or phone 1300 MYNHVR (1300 696 487) standard 1300 call charges apply (check with your phone provider).

Posted in General News | Comments Off on ALRTA News – 2 September 2016

ALRTA News – 26 August 2016


This week the ALRTA Executive Director attended a meeting of peak industry associations and Federal and State transport departments, hosted by the NHVR in Brisbane.

The meeting is an important part of a series which occurs twice each year.  Here is how it works:

  1. Industry-Departments:  Key policy staff from industry associations and all transport departments (including NHVR & NTC) meet with a broad agenda.  This is where we hope to iron out issues / problems prior to the TISOC meeting (see below).
  2. TISOC:  The Transport and Infrastructure Senior Officials Committee is made up of the heads of all transport departments.  They meet to discuss the strategic agenda for national transport reform and make recommendations for the consideration of Ministers.
  3. TIC: The Transport and Infrastructure Council is made up of all transport ministers, plus the Local Government Association.  This is where the big decisions about law reform and charging are made.  The ALRTA has observer status at these meetings and can speak on agenda items if invited to do so.

While discussions are confidential, I can tell you that the agenda was primarily focused on the interaction of the various departments and different levels of government to produce a seamless national regulatory system.   It is one thing to have consistent heavy vehicle laws, but it won’t feel like a single national system unless all of the players are working together and interpreting and applying the laws the same way.


This NHVR’s National Roadworthiness Baseline Survey (NRBS) is now well underway with approximately 60% of the 9,000 vehicle samples collected.

The project is being rolled out in stages, so sampling in NSW is almost complete whereas it won’t commence in WA until mid-Sept. The inspections will be complete by end Sept and the data will be analysed in the latter part of the year.

I have heard reports that some individuals and their vehicles have been stopped and inspected at different locations on consecutive days.  Given that a single inspection can take up to 45min, this would be most concerning…..and pointless.

The NHVR has informed the ALRTA that those who are inspected as part of the NRBS are issued with a certificate that is valid for the duration of the survey period.  If you show the certificate you will not be inspected again.

However, the NRBS is not the only inspection type being conducted.  For example, police taskforces are still operating ‘business as usual’ and inspecting vehicles for their own purposes.  This might include the use of dogs which is definitely not part of the NRBS.

The message is that you will not be inspected twice as part of the NRBS, but you might still be unfortunate enough to be stopped by other inspecting authorities, possibly even on the same day.


This week the Chair of the ALRTA Animal Welfare Committee (John Beer) attended the 6th meeting of the National Primary Industries Animal Welfare RD&E Strategy in Melbourne.

Participants included industry groups, research bodies, government, welfare advocates, processors and retailers.

While the meeting was useful for better understanding the welfare issues considered important by consumers, communities, buyers and suppliers, it was clear that land transport was not receiving the attention it deserves.

The livestock sector can only provide an assurance of best practice animal welfare outcomes when all steps in the production and supply process are considered – including road transport.   To get road transport right, we must also get driver welfare right, and that means that the other parties in the chain who provide loading and unloading facilities need to think about how their infrastructure and practices impact on the drivers ability to get the job done safely and efficiently.

The ALRTA has requested that land transport be included as a core consideration of future meetings.


ALRTA Vice President Graeme Hoare participated in a meeting with NHVR this week to discuss a strategy for moving permit applications into the NHVR’s new online Customer Portal, AccessCONNECT.

The new portal has been in operation since 1 August 2016. So far, the system has proven stable and there have been no complaints from users.  Customers who have set up profiles can lodge new permits in a matter of minutes.

But as saying goes “out with the old, in with the new”, the NHVR is keen to phase out reliance on the old application channels.

It has been agreed that the old email and online ‘smart forms’ will be discontinued from 30 September 2016.  That will give you another 6 weeks to move into the new system.

However, the fax and mail channels will remain open to cater for regional areas and you should still be able to pay by cheque.  But don’t expect these to last forever – it will be costly for NHVR to maintain these manual systems and there will come a day when it can no longer be justified.


Higher productivity trucks can improve safety and halve the number of trips required to move goods, the Australian Trucking Association’s Senior Engineering Adviser, Chris Loose, said today.

Mr Loose was releasing the second edition of the ATA’s Truck Impact Chart, which includes guidance on the impacts of using different truck combinations. The chart and its associated technical advisory procedure was developed by the ATA’s Industry Technical Council.

“The updated truck impact chart clearly shows that larger trucks can reduce the number of truck trips required to move a load of goods, reduce fuel needs, reduce emissions and reduce the amount of road space needed to move goods from A to B,” Mr Loose said.

“When deciding what truck combination to use or allow on our roads to do a particular job we need to pay attention to the wide range of truck impacts in order to make the right call.”

The updated truck impact chart compares different truck combinations and includes information on the number of trips required to move 1,000 tonnes, fuel use, driver requirements, overall length, emissions, and the amount of road space required.

Mr Loose said the document also provided a range of supporting and related information including on emissions, fuel quality, license requirements, safety statistics, and impacts such as low speed swept paths.

“Not only can bigger trucks move more with less, but they can do it with less emissions, less fuel consumption, a better safety record and with more experienced drivers who have to meet tougher licensing requirements,” Mr Loose said.

This is the latest in the ATA’s series of technical advisory procedures, which provide best practice guidance for trucking operators, maintainers and suppliers about key technical issues.

Download the truck impact chart

Posted in ALRTA Weekly News, General News | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on ALRTA News – 26 August 2016