ALRTA Special News – 22 December 2016

URGENT: REVIEW SECURITY FOR VEHICLES AND STAFF

The ALRTA and ATA urges all trucking operators to review security for their vehicles and staff following what appears to be a terrorist attack using a hijacked truck in Berlin this week.

Australia is not immune from terrorism. If you are in the industry and see something that doesn’t add up, contact the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400.

Our thoughts go out to the Berlin victims and their loved ones.

National Security Hotline contact information

HAVE YOUR SAY ON VICTORIAN OWNER DRIVER LAWS

The Victorian Government is currently undertaking a review of the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 (ODFC) with responses due by 31 January 2017.

The ALRTA is assisting with this issue because there is once again the potential for mandatory minimum rates.  We have seen it with the RSRT at the Federal level, we have seen it with the General Carriers Contract Determination in NSW, and now the battleground has shifted to Victoria.  Your state might be next!

The ALRTA and LRTAV are preparing submissions on behalf of rural transporters.

If you are an owner driver that operates a heavy vehicle within Victoria or you come into Victoria from another state you could be affected by any changes to the laws.

Please consider making a short personal submission supporting our campaign against the introduction of new red tape or mandatory minimum rates for rural carriers in Victoria.

What is the ODFC?

The ODFC applies to owner drivers that supply and operate one or more vehicles (whether solely or with the use of additional relief drivers).   It covers sole operators, partnerships and corporations.

It applies to:

  • contracts made in Victoria (or that Victorian law applies to)
  • transport of goods wholly within Victoria
  • interstate journeys where a substantial part of the services are performed in Victoria

The ODFC provides that:

  • The Minister must develop and publish rates schedules for fixed and variable heavy vehicle operating costs
  • Hirers and freight brokers must give contractors & tenderers an information booklet and a copy of the rates schedules (some exceptions apply for short-term work)
  • Contracts must be in writing with specified minimum content
  • Notice be given when contracts are terminated, or a payment made in lieu of notice
  • Hirers cannot require a contractor to pay insurance costs if a copy of current policy has not been provided
  • Hirers cannot make other deductions for services or equipment except in specified circumstances
  • Hirers and contractors are permitted use negotiating agents
  • A Code of Practice be prescribed that can apply to classes of hirers and operators
  • Unconscionable conduct is prohibited
  • Disputes may be referred to the Small Business Commissioner, with rules on costs, processes, representation and time limits
  • A tribunal with specified powers be established to hear disputes if unable to a resolved via the Small Business Commissioner
  • A ‘Transport Industry Council of Victoria’ be established to advise and make relevant recommendations to the Minister for Industrial Relations
  • Protections are enshrined for persons exercising their rights under the ODFC
  • The ODFC prevails over all regulated contracts

What changes are proposed?

The review is ‘all encompassing’ and clearly aimed at assessing the effectiveness of the current arrangements and exploring whether additional laws or guidelines are required.

The only specific recommendations under consideration relate to the development of a non-mandatory rates and cost schedule for tip trucks and measures to ensure that these are applied during normal hiring practices.

What to Include in your submission

Your submission need not be long and formal.  A simple email with a few dot points will do fine.

Some things you should consider including:

  • You are an owner driver or a hirer that is potentially affected by the ODFC
  • You are supportive of a safe and fair operating environment
  • Rural road transport is very different from urban or inter-capital transport tasks because it involves a lot of short-notice work, backloads, part loads, multiple hirers, empty running, and an owner driver can act as both a prime and sub-contractor
  • If you use a tipper, please provide some examples of how you use it (what do you carry, locations, distance, loading/unloading facilities, rates etc). We want to show that rural tipper work is very different to urban tipper work
  • You are concerned that new requirements applicable to tippers to address problems in the construction sector might cause problems for tippers in the rural sector
  • You are strongly opposed to any potential move towards mandatory minimum rates
  • Your experience with minimum rates under the RSRT was that owner drivers could no longer compete with larger trucking companies
  • You have pre-existing equipment finance or other loan commitments that must be serviced and do not want regulatory disruption to your business
  • Negative outcomes for owner drivers will have disproportionate impacts in rural and regional areas, including for all ancillary transport services
  • You are concerned that rural carriers are not adequately represented on the Transport Industry Council of Victoria (this body advises the Victorian Industrial Relations Minister about owner driver matters)

How to lodge your submission

You can email you submission to odfc.yoursay@ecodev.vic.gov.au or post it to:

Deputy Secretary, Industrial Relations Victoria
GPO Box 4509
Melbourne Victoria 3001

Submissions are due by 31 January 2017.  All submissions will be treated in confidence.

Other Information

You can find the key documents here:

REMINDER: NATIONAL CONFERENCE

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

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ALRTA News 16 December 2016

HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY HOLIDAY

Can you believe that 2016 is almost over?  It’s been yet another big one for our family of rural road transport associations and, as this will be our last newsletter of the year, it’s fitting to reminisce about a few of the highlights from 2016.

Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal
The first four months of 2016 made history.  Through threats of jail time, Easter hearings, submissions, letters, media, protest convoys and furious lobbying at all levels, we were successful in abolishing the unfair and unnecessary Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.  There can be no doubt that having strong national and state associations saved our bacon and many smaller operators are only still on the road today thanks to the success of our campaign.


Photo: Our operators protest at Parliament House in Canberra.

Flexible Fatigue Options
The ALRTA worked closely with the NHVR to develop and release the second of our new livestock and rural AFM templates.  Template 2, ‘Long Runs’ provides for up to 15 ½ hours of work time in a single work opportunity on a non-consecutive basis (i.e. one day long, one day short).

Together, with the ‘Fortnightly Cycle’ template, the easy-entry templates provide increased flexibility for operators who are able to demonstrate that they have reasonable risk controls in place.  If you already have BFM it is an easy jump to an AFM template, so keep these in mind as an option for your business.


Photo: Designing AFM Template 2

Getting Serious About Chain of Responsibility
ALRTA has made significant progress in improving the application of chain of responsibility laws to the rural supply chain.

Firstly, we have convinced governments that chain of responsibility laws need to change to positive general duties modelled on WH&S laws to better capture off-road chain parties in the rural supply chain.  The laws have passed QLD Parliament and should be operational by mid-2018.

Secondly, the ALRTA has successfully argued to the QLD Parliamentary Transport and Utilities Committee that the application of chain of responsibility laws to effluent control must be clarified.  The Queensland Minister for Transport has directed the NTC to clarify the matter within the next 12mths.  We are putting all options on the table including a full exemption under the HVNL.

Thirdly, we have thrown our support behind proposals to improve investigation and enforcement powers so that authorised officers can get to root of the problem, rather than just focusing on the driver and operator because the rest of the chain is just ‘too hard’.


Photo: QLD Parliamentary Transport and Utilities Committee

Heavy Vehicle Charging
While our associations have been successful in convincing Governments to freeze total charges at the current level, we are continuing to lobby for an immediate end to overcharging of around $250m each year.  We have made a detailed submission in response to an NTC discussion paper that, in our view, just proposed to ‘fiddle the books’ to make the embarrassing problem go away.

We were pleased with the recent Government response that proposes to establish an independent charging regulator that we hope will ‘de-politicise’ the whole issue and ensure future charges are set at fairer levels.

Other Issues
Of course the ALRTA has also been active on a broad range of other issues including: lobbying during the Federal Election; loading ramps; crate design; red tape in agriculture; vehicle signage requirements; steer axle mass limits; PBS rules; low volume access; reviewing TruckCare; codes of conduct and our fantastic joint National-State Conference in Torquay, Victoria.


Photo: Federal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure (the Hon Darren Chester – right), awards a Life Membership to John Beer at our National Conference

We Just Keep Getting Stronger
I am also very proud to say that through all of this our family of associations has gone from strength to strength.  The ALRTA now has a fully independent secretariat, we have secured two new national sponsors and have agreed ‘in principle’ to move our office into the ATA building.

Across the country, our grass-roots membership has grown to over 800 for the first time in our 31 year history.  There is no better indicator of whether our National and State associations are doing a good job for our industry sector!

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday
After all that hard work, like you, our National Council and secretariat staff are all looking forward to a short break so we can come back refreshed and ready to fight for rural road transport in 2017!

We sincerely wish you all a happy and safe holiday.  Please take some time to catch up with family and friends who have supported you all year – work will still be there when you get back!  If you absolutely can’t get away over Christmas, please consider a trip to our National Conference in Toowoomba, QLD, 17-18 February 2017.

We also thank our National Sponsors (NTI, PACCAR & Dealer, PACCAR Parts, Cummins, BP, Beaurepaires & King Bars) for their support during 2016 and continuing support for 2017.

GETTING READY FOR 2017

We have a stack of meetings organised to wrap up the issues for 2016 and get us set for 2017.

This week, the ALRTA and ATA interviewed several operators about industry’s draft ‘Guide to Braking and Stability Performance for Heavy Vehicle Combinations’.  We want to make sure it is readable and operator friendly before we release it publicly early next year.  Our National and State Secretariats also held a teleconference to discuss operational issues and how we might prepare for a busy 2017.

Early next week, our National Animal Welfare Committee will meet to talk about crate design, infrastructure and chain of responsibility.  The TruckCare Review Committee will also meet to consider what we have learned from our meetings with the five big retailers and plan for the next phase with processors and the authorities that set meat standards.

REMINDER: NATIONAL CONFERENCE

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

ALRTA OFFICE SHUTDOWN

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.

For urgent enquiries please contact Mathew Munro on 0421 082 489 or mathew@alrta.org.au


Photo: Merry Christmas from Tanya, Mat and Colleen. 

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ALRTA News 9 December 2016

PACCAR LAUNCHES KENWORTH T610

This week PACCAR launched the Kenworth T610. It ticks the boxes on innovation, durability, productivity, driver comfort and safety and it’s designed and manufactured in Australia for tough conditions.  The new T610 is one of the most aerodynamic and fuel efficient production trucks ever to carry the iconic Kenworth bug, powered by the Cummins X15 Euro V engine with Advanced Dynamic Efficient Powertrain (ADEPT) technology. ADEPT is a suite of advanced electronic features for the XF15 Euro V engine that interact with Eaton automated manual transmissions, dynamically adapting to operating conditions to enhance fuel economy, with no impact to productivity. Find out more here.

MINISTER CHESTER ANNOUNCES FATIGUE RESEARCH PROJECT

Federal Transport Minister, the Hon Darren Chester MP, has announced an $828,000 investment in a Heavy Vehicle Driver Fatigue Project.  The project will be a collaborative effort between NTC, NHVR, Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity, universities and industry.

The aim of the research will be to assess the current fatigue framework and better inform future fatigue policy.

The funding has been committed for the next two years to ensure that the research is finalised and available to Ministers in 2018.

TRUCKCARE MEETS WITH COSTCO AND METCASH

This week ATA and ALRTA representatives travelled to Sydney to meet with CostCo and Metcash as part of the review of TruckCare.  Again, we found that while each retailer has a different approach to dealing with animal welfare and truck safety issues they are all keenly aware of the increased scrutiny on corporate social responsibility.

The TruckCare review committee will meet before the end of 2016 to consider our learnings across the five big meat retailers and prepare for the next consultation round with major meat processors in early 2017.

ALRTA EXECUTIVE MEETS

The ALRTA Executive Committee met via teleconference this week to discuss issues including secretariat operations, sponsorship, national conference, investigation and enforcement powers and the review of the Victorian Owner Driver and Forestry Contractors Act.  The Executive will next meet in January 2017.

REVIEW OF THE VICTORIAN OWNER DRIVER ACT

The ALRTA Executive has resolved that the ALRTA will make a submission in response to the review of the Victorian Owner Driver and Forestry Contractors Act 2015.   We will also assist LRTAV in the preparation of a state submission and provide grass roots members with tools and information to support the lodgement of individual submissions before 31 January 2017.

NSW GENERAL CARRIERS CONTRACT DETERMINATION

While we are on the subject of owner drivers, the ALRTA understands that the parties negotiating over the interim GCCD have now reached an agreement that will be submitted to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.

There have been disputed reports in the media about coverage of the final order.  The revised order has not yet been published, but as far as we can tell at this stage the outcome is that:

  • The order will apply only to particular sectors including general, furniture and refrigerated;
  • Some new contractual obligations will extend state-wide;
  • Mandatory minimum rates will continue to apply to trips wholly within NSW that are less than a 50km radius from the point of origin; and
  • For longer trips, the mandatory minimum rates now applied in the Sydney area will also extend to trips that start in Sydney and end in the Newcastle – Wollongong corridor.

Importantly, you will remain exempt if you:

  • Transport livestock;
  • Transport primary produce to or from land used for primary production;
  • Are engaged by a primary producer;
  • Use a specialist vehicle such as a tipper; or
  • Are a ‘common carrier’ (i.e. you transport materials for anyone) rather than a ‘contract carrier’ (you transport materials for only one customer).

Industry lobbying efforts have kept rate increases to a minimum and prevented greater geographic coverage than originally proposed by the TWU.

The negotiating parties will be back before the NSW Industrial Relations Commission in January 2017 and the NSW Government is likely to conduct an economic assessment of the proposal.  It is possible that a final order will be published around March 2017.

The ALRTA will provide you with more detail about the order once a final version has been published.

INVESTIGATION AND ENFORCEMENT POWERS

The ALRTA has made a submission to the NTC review of HVNL Investigative and Enforcement Powers.  Our position was developed after consideration of key issues at ATA Council, participation in an NTC workshop and input from ALRTA Executive and State Associations.

In general, the ALRTA favours stronger investigative and enforcement powers because of the impending shift to a new chain of responsibility regime in mid-2018.  This will involve new primary duties on all parties in the chain and a presumption of innocence rather than simply deeming all parties in the chain guilty if a primary offence is detected on the road.

We have made 18 recommendations that, if adopted, would model HVNL powers on WH&S powers making it easier for authorised officers to obtain information, ‘follow the chain’, prosecute across state borders, inspect suspect vehicle fleets, impose immediate injunctions (if required), share information across agencies, publish information about successful prosecutions and share information about driver offences with the owners of heavy vehicles.

The NTC will make recommendations for the consideration of Australian Transport Ministers in May 2017.

ATA APPOINTS NEW CEO

The Australian Trucking Association has appointed the former CEO of the Stockman’s Hall of Fame, Ben Maguire, as its new Chief Executive Officer.

ATA Chair Noelene Watson said that Mr Maguire was an outcome focused, strong, resourceful and committed association chief executive officer.

“Ben is a skilled advocate, highly regarded collaborator and known fair negotiator. He is committed to contributing to whole of business outcomes for the ATA, and is a leader who will mentor staff and control the ATA’s internal processes,” Mrs Watson said.

“He is strategic and innovative, and will deliver results,” she said.

Mr Maguire said he looked forward to working with and representing ATA members and this proud industry.

“Leading the ATA team and working with the board is a privilege, and a role that I am honoured to take on,” Mr Maguire said.

Currently a management consultant, Mr Maguire was CEO of the Stockman’s Hall of Fame in Longreach from 2007 to 2014. In this role, he negotiated partnership agreements with the Royal Flying Doctor Service and managed the inaugural Outback Horse and Heritage Expo in 2013.

From 1998 to 2006, Mr Maguire was the Operations Manager, Business Development Manager and then National Franchise Manager at AGL Energy.

Mr Maguire is co-deputy chair of the Regional Development Australia Southern Inland Committee, and is a member of the Council of the National Museum of Australia.

Mr Maguire will take up the CEO position in early 2017.

The ALRTA welcomes Mr Maguire to the role and we look forward to working together to tackle the big national issues.

GET YOUR WORK DIARY RIGHT

An ALRTA member based in Queensland recently received a court-imposed fine of $5,500 for a work diary breach.

Are you/your drivers doing the right thing? The NHVR has a video available to help drivers to fill out their work diary under the Heavy Vehicle National Law. https://www.nhvr.gov.au/news-events/webcast-hv-tv/get-your-diary-right

REMINDER: NATIONAL CONFERENCE

Registration brochures for the ALRTA and LRTAQ combined National Conference is now available.  The event will be held 17-18 February 2017 in Toowoomba, QLD.

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

REMINDER: 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.

For urgent enquiries please contact Mathew Munro on 0421 082 489 or mathew@alrta.org.au

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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.
Posted in ALRTA Weekly News, Chain of Responsibility, Fuel Charges, General News, Remuneration Order, safety | Tagged , , | Comments Off on ALRTA News – 25 November 2016