ALRTA News – 19 May 2017

TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE COUNCIL DECISIONS

ALRTA National President Kevin Keenan observed the 7th meeting of the Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) in Brisbane today.

At the meeting, Federal and State Transport Ministers discussed a range of issues including rail investment, heavy vehicle road reform, automated vehicles, road safety and regulation.

Here is a summary of several important decisions.

Heavy Vehicle Road Reform
Ministers agreed to:

  • work towards implementing independent price regulation for heavy vehicles;
  • design and consider a forward-looking cost base;
  • undertake charging trials;
  • examine revenue impacts for Governments;
  • assess community service obligations;
  • assess governance and institutional arrangements;
  • develop charging and rebate options for operators; and
  • develop low cost technologies for data capture purposes.

Road Safety
Ministers agreed to convene an independent reference group to inquire into progress under the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020.  ALRTA has recently written to all Ministers recommending representation from the rural and remote heavy vehicle sector.

Heavy Vehicle Regulation
Ministers agreed to:

  • implement a national registration scheme for heavy vehicles, including funding agreements, a national number plate, removal of rego sticker requirements, improved transactions and seamless interstate transfer capability;
  • A raft of new safety measures under the Heavy Vehicle Road Safety Initiative 2017-18;
  • Increase allowable volumetric load capacity where mass is not a constraint, including improved access for PBS level 1 vehicles and 4.6m high vehicles that meet prescribed conditions; and
  • Increase the accountability of road managers to the NHVR for road access requests.

ALRTA understands that the projects approved under the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative 2017-18 includes our proposal to investigate the feasibility of user-pay loading and unloading infrastructure.  More news on this next week.

ALRTA MEETS PROCESSORS

Last week Mark Collins (LRTAQ), Justin Fleming (ATA TruckSafe) and Mathew Munro (ALRTA Executive Director) met with six meat processors in south east Queensland to progress our holistic review of the TruckCare animal welfare accreditation system.


Above: Mark Collins, Justin Fleming, Craig Price (Kilcoy Pastoral Company) & Mathew Munro.

The processors included:

  • JBS
  • Swickers
  • Kilkoy Pastoral Company
  • Highchester Meats
  • Teys Australia
  • Australian Country Choice

We have previously met with RSPCA, Fletchers International and retailers including Coles, Woolworths, ALDI, CostCo, Metcash and Superbarn.

So far, our consultations have indicated that there is an increasing and unmet need for TruckCare, especially for exported meat and products destined for sale in more socially responsible retailers such as Coles, Woolworths and McDonalds.  Customers are more frequently asking questions about the transport phase of the livestock supply chain and they want assurance that all relevant legislated standards are being met from paddock to plate.

The TruckCare system can provide this assurance.

To be relevant to all consumers, TruckCare must reflect both domestic and international animal welfare standards.  It needs to meet the minimum standards, but also continually evolve to meet changing market expectations.

There can be no doubt that processors will embrace TruckCare if it is demanded by their customers.  In the USA and Europe this is already happening – there is enormous amount of information on meat packaging and penalties apply for misleading statements.

However, it is becoming very clear that the supply chain is not willing to pay a premium for the services of TruckCare accredited operators.  Rather, TruckCare is just seen as requirement that will give you a ‘licence to play’ in same way that others in the supply chain must demonstrate to customers and authorities that they are meeting minimum health, quality and labor standards.

So, where does that leave us?

There is a cost in becoming TruckCare accredited and in maintaining that accreditation.  A revised TruckCare system will need to broaden its appeal by becoming more relevant to consumers, while at the same time lowering costs by removing unnecessary requirements.

There is also a question of ‘critical mass’.  Processors are concerned that they would not currently be able to source enough TruckCare accredited operators if it was to become a mandatory requirement…….but there is little incentive to become TruckCare accredited unless it is demanded by your customers.  It is the classic ‘chicken or the egg’ scenario.

Another important factor is the naming of the system.  The term ‘TruckCare’ does not mean much to consumers unless it is accompanied by some explanation.  On the surface, it would seem that accredited operators are just looking after their truck.

Next week, the ATA is hosting a workshop in Canberra to consider all of the feedback we have gathered from the review so far and to plan the next phase.  Look out for more news as the review progresses towards a re-launch of a revised accreditation system.

ELECTRONIC STABILITY CONTROL

ALRTA participated in an industry-government meeting to discuss draft Australian Design Rules (ADR35 and ADR38) that propose to mandate electronic stability control for new prime movers and trailers.

As always, there are several technical issues that must be worked though, but the elephant in the room for ALRTA members is of course whether or not ESC should be mandated for all trailers, or whether there is a good case to exempt trailers operating in harsh and remote environments.

The National Policy Session at this year’s joint ALRTA-LRTAQ National-State Conference brought together operators, technology suppliers, trailer manufacturers, engineering experts and government representatives to present their perspectives on the issue.  It is fair to say that there is a diversity of opinions.

There really is no doubt about whether ESC technology will improve safety on sealed roads – the evidence is quite overwhelming.

But some operators who have trialled ESC in harsh and remote environments have concluded that it brings more trouble than it is worth.  Their experience suggests that the technology is very difficult to maintain in good working order (and even more difficult to fix when on the road for weeks at a time), is not compatible with rugged spring suspension and can intervene at inappropriate times.

ALRTA understands that the Federal Government will release a regulatory impact statement for public comment in the middle of 2017.  ALRTA Council will carefully consider this very important issue on 24 May 2017.

NHVAS VEHICLE CHECKS NOW ONLINE

Almost 6500 National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) members can now track their current nominated vehicles in the mass and maintenance management modules on-line through the NHVR’s website.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto has released the NHVAS Active Vehicle Module (AVM) search tool which will allow operators to check the status of a vehicle by entering either the vehicle registration, VIN or chassis number, or accreditation label number.

“This will be a big step forward for the operators of almost 100,000 vehicles nominated under the scheme’s Maintenance Module and 36,000 vehicles nominated under the Mass Module,” Mr Petroccitto said.

“Owners and operators with multiple vehicles can now check the module status and ensure it is current.

“In the past operators have told us that they want to do the right thing and ensure their nominated vehicles are current, but a lack of visibility of a vehicle’s status is often raised as an issue.

“Importantly those responsible for safety in other heavy vehicle supply chain roles such as weighbridge operators, consignees and consignors can also check that a vehicle’s accreditation nomination is current.

“With Chain of Responsibility laws coming in mid 2018, this is another tool to support the industry to better apply risk management processes to focus on safety outcomes.”

Operators accredited under the scheme can now log on to www.nhvr.gov.au/avm-search to check their NHVAS nominated vehicle status.

The NHVAS provides flexibility in managing fatigue and concessions for mass and maintenance for operators that have robust and compliant management systems.

There are 6481 heavy vehicle operators in NHVAS with 97,537 vehicles nominated in maintenance and 35,173 in mass.

The NHVAS has been operating since 1999 and was brought under the NHVR in 2014. Heavy vehicle operators can apply for accreditation under Mass, Maintenance, Basic Fatigue Management or Advanced Fatigue Management modules.

ALRTA OFFICE & STAFFING

The ALRTA Office is undergoing some major changes.

Firstly, we will be moving our National Office into the ATA Building from 1 July 2017.  The move will bring the ALRTA closer to the political and transport industry association heart of Canberra.  We are currently negotiating with potential tenants for our current premises.

Secondly, Kiki Josifovski has joined the team in the role of National Marketing Manager.

Kiki has over 12 years’ experience in high profile senior PR management roles and has consulted to a wide variety of organisations on high profile issues in the transport, infrastructure and animal welfare space.

He has a strong familiarity of both the public and private sectors and has been intimately involved in the work of Minister’s offices across a range of portfolios.  His work has received many accolades and has achieved milestone profile building and sponsorship generation outcomes.

He is keen to understand the challenges our members face and is determined to progress the objectives of the ALRTA by building on established accomplishments and seeking innovative ways to engage with ALRTA stakeholders.

You may also have heard a rumour that our National Officer Colleen Mays is leaving.  I am pleased to advise that Colleen will be staying with the ALRTA to continue her great work supporting our administrative, committee, research and project activities.

ALRTA COUNCIL – 24 MAY 2017

Members are reminded that the ALRTA will be holding a Council meeting in Brisbane on Wednesday, 24 May 2017.  Details are:

Start: 11:00am
Close: 5:00pm
Location: BP Australia, 572 Curtin Avenue East, EAGLE FARM QLD 4009

For more information please contact the ALRTA Secretariat.

UPCOMING EVENTS

There are several important events coming up in the next two months, including:

LRTASA Conference

The LRTASA Annual State Conference will be held 16-17 June 2017 at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. The weekend kicks off with a Golf competition at Adelaide Golf Links on the fringe of the CBD followed by pre-dinner drinks and dinner at the Entertainment Centre.   The Conference Sessions are on Saturday followed by a Gala Dinner (with entertainment by the legendary Mick Meredith) and Auction.

Register here: http://lrtasa.com.au/lrtasa-conference-2/

Trucking Australia Conference

The ATA’s premier annual event ‘Trucking Australia 2017’ will be held 21-23 June 2017 at the Darwin Convention Centre.  The program is a mix of entertainment and business activities featuring the Kenworth Legends Luncheon, chain of responsibility master class and the National Trucking Industry Awards.

Register here: http://events.truck.net.au/

LRTAWA Conference

The LRTAWA Annual State Conference will be held 30 June – 1 July 2017 at the Light House Beach Resort in Bunbury.

For more information contact: admin@lrtawa.org.au

LRTAV Conference

The Joint LRTAV – National Conference will be held 11-12 August 2017 at the RACV Resort in Torquay.

Check here for more information: http://lrtav.com.au/category/whats-on/

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ALRTA News – 10 May 2017

KEY ANNOUNCEMENTS IN THE 2017-2018 FEDERAL BUDGET

Key points

  • Economic growth forecast to increase to 3 per cent in 2018-19
  • Instant asset write-off to be extended for eligible small businesses to 30 June 2018
  • Key road safety programs extended to 2020-21.

Economic Forecasts

Outcomes Forecasts
2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
(% change) (% change) (% change) (% change)
Household consumption 2.9 3
Private investment
   Dwellings 10.6 -4
Total business investment -10.3 -6 0 3
Mining investment -27.5 -21 -12 -3
Non-mining investment 1.4
Exports of goods and services 6.7 5 4
Imports of goods and services -0.3 3 3 3
Real gross domestic product 2.6 3
Unemployment rate (per cent) 5.7
Consumer price index 1.0 2 2

The Budget forecasts the Australian economy will grow by 2¾ per cent in 2017-18, before increasing to 3 per cent in 2018-19 as the fall in mining investment finally tapers off and household consumption increases.

Mining investment is expected to fall 12 per cent in 2017-18 but only 3 per cent in 2018-19, with the adjustment away from the heights of the mining boom now almost over.

Non-mining investment is expected to increase 4½ per cent in 2017-18 and the same again in 2018-19. Treasury has conceded that the low level of investment growth is ‘something of a puzzle’ given that business borrowing costs are low, business confidence is solid and existing capital assets are being used at above average levels.

This low level of investment growth highlights the importance of the infrastructure spending in the Budget.

Household spending is expected to increase 2¾ per cent in 2017-18 and 3 per cent in 2018-19, underpinned by a decline in the amount of money that households are saving.

Housing investment is forecast to tail off in 2017-18 (1½ per cent growth) before declining in 2018-19 (-4 per cent growth), as work in progress is finished. Treasury reports significant falls in approvals for medium-to-high density dwellings.

Total exports are forecast to increase 5 per cent in 2017-18 and 4 per cent in 2018-19, driven by strong resource exports and favourable farm conditions. The export increase is also driven by robust growth in service exports, primarily inbound tourism and education.

Imports are forecast to grow 3 per cent in 2017-18 and 3 per cent in 2018-19.

The unemployment rate, which was 5.9 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms in March 2017, is expected to come in at 5¾ per cent in 2017-18 and 5½ per cent in 2018-19, consistent with the rebound in economic growth.

Key budget announcements for trucking businesses
Extension of the instant asset write-off
The Government will extend the immediate tax deductibility of asset purchases costing less than $20,000 for eligible businesses until 30 June 2018.

Infrastructure spending
In line with its election commitment, the Government will extend the following infrastructure programs to 2020-21:

  • Roads to Recovery ($400 million per year)
  • Black Spot ($60 million per year)
  • Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity ($40 million per year)
  • Bridges Renewal ($60 million per year)

The Government will also establish a new $472m Regional Growth Fund which includes $200m for an additional round of the Building Better Regions Fund.

Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail has received $8.4b, with construction to commence in 2017-18.

Click on the link below for a detailed breakdown showing the key projects that the Government will fund in each state.
2017-18 budget infrastructure projects

Disclaimer
The Australian Trucking Association has prepared this fact sheet with due care, but our understanding of the Budget measures may change as more information becomes available. In addition, many Budget measures need to be passed by Parliament. The fact sheet is intended for general information only and may not apply to your business circumstances. You should get appropriate professional advice before acting on the information in this sheet.

ALRTA ACTIVITIES THIS WEEK

TruckCare Review
This week the ALRTA Executive Director is joining Mark Collins (LRTAQ) and Justin Fleming (ATA TruckSafe Manager) for two days of meetings with livestock processors in South East Queensland.

The meetings are part of our comprehensive review of the TruckCare system. We will be calling in on Kilcoy Pastoral Company, Highchester Meats, JBS, Swickers, Teys and Australian Country Choice.

The meetings will also be an excellent opportunity to raise other important issues such as effluent management and unloading infrastructure.

Ministerial Council Briefing
President Keenan and the ALRTA Executive Director will participate in a departmental briefing on issues to be discussed at the Transport and Infrastructure Ministerial Council in Brisbane next week.

Mandatory ESC 
ALRTA and other industry stakeholders are meeting this week to consider draft Australian Design Rules that propose to mandate electronic stability control on new prime movers and trailers. This was a hot topic of discussion at the joint ALRTA/LRTAQ National Conference and will be considered at the ALRTA Council meeting on 24 May 2017.

NHVR COR FORUMS

The NHVR is delivering a number of information sessions across the country to discuss amendments to Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws that are coming in mid 2018.

The latest sessions added are:

NEW SOUTH WALES

10 May – Blacktown – Blacktown RSL

11 May – Newcastle – West Bowling Club, New Lambton

QUEENSLAND

16 May – Townsville – Mercure Hotel

25 – 28 May – Brisbane Truck Show, Convention Centre (FREE FOR TRUCK SHOW ATTENDEES – just turn up on the day, or if you wish to make a booking go to: www.nhvr.gov.au/cor

(Please note all sessions will start strictly on time.)

Thursday 25 May – 1.30 – 3.30pm

Friday 26 May – 12am – 2.00pm, Afternoon session: 2.30 – 4.30pm

Saturday 27 May – 11am – 1.00pm, Afternoon session: 3.00 – 5.00pm

For dates and locations of all NHVR CoR information sessions visit www.nhvr.gov.au/cor

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ALRTA Special News – 5 May 2017

SPECIAL EDITION: NZ EFFLUENT REPORT


Last week I spent 4 days in regional NZ and I didn’t see a sheep.  Not one.

But perhaps even more surprising is that the NZ National Government, regional councils and district councils take livestock effluent control seriously – and they understand that it is a shared responsibility across the entire livestock supply chain.

In cooperation with industry, the NZ Government has made specific provision for effluent loss under road transport laws, developed an industry code of practice, published a national guide for effluent disposal facilities, agreed regional stock truck effluent strategies and dedicated funding for effluent control infrastructure construction and maintenance.

So how is it that they have it so right and we have got it so wrong?

To find out, last week ALRTA sent seven representatives to Waikato, NZ, to speak with key decision makers and to inspect the effluent management system first hand.  Our representatives included:

  • Mick Debenham – LRTAV
  • Trevor Solly – LRTAV
  • Robert Hodge – LRTAV
  • Lynley Miners – LBRCA
  • Raymond Sutton – LBRCA
  • Mark Collins – LRTAQ
  • Mathew Munro – ALRTA Secretariat

The ALRTA delegation was graciously hosted by Waikato Regional Council, based in Hamilton.  We were received as honorary special guests and afforded every respect and courtesy.  It was the full red carpet treatment.

Above: The ALRTA delegation with Isy Kennedy (2nd from left).

A ball of energy who goes by the name of Isy Kennedy (Waikato Stock Truck Effluent Programme) was instrumental in arranging and leading two days of visits to transport depots, farms, saleyards, meat processors, roadside facilities, effluent processing sites and industry and government decision makers.  Our own ALRTA National Officer, Colleen Mays, liaised closely with Isy and our National Animal Welfare Committee to develop the schedule and to make sure that the trip went smoothly for our delegates.

Before I give you my ‘shiny-arse’ summary of the study trip, let’s first hear from Mick Debenham who has kindly provided the excellent report below.

TRANSPORT OPERATOR REPORT: MICK DEBENHAM

On Wednesday the 26th of April an ALRTA delegation flew to Auckland on the North Island of New Zealand for a planned study tour of livestock effluent dump points and treatment plants in the Waikato region that had been put together by Isy Kennedy from the Waikato Regional Council.

I coincidently bumped into Isy last year while in New Zealand on holiday when I stopped to look at a roadside effluent dump point.  Isy is the Senior Transport Planner for the Waikato Regional Council and also part of the National Stock Effluent Working Group (NSEWG) and has been the driving force behind the Waikato Regional Council’s current and planned roadside effluent dump points.

After we all met up at the airport we travelled in our little van to Hamilton our base for the next few days.

Thursday started with breakfast at 7am and we then travelled to Pukekohe to meet Don Wilson who is chair of the National Livestock Transport Safety Group and partner in On Road Transport Ltd who run a fleet of stock trucks. We inspected his truck wash and treatment facility which uses a screen to separate the solids and a settlement pond for the liquid which was then irrigated onto pasture.

Above: On Road Transport’s wash, screen and settlement pond.

After he answered our many questions he then took us to a nearby dairy farm that uses a weeping wall to remove the solids from the dairy and feed pad effluent before the liquid ran into a lined dam before irrigation to pasture.

Above: The on farm weeping wall, it has two separate sections the left is still empty after both were recently cleaned out and the right is almost full again. The effluent runs through the pipe on top of the dividing wall and enters at the rear, the grill (weeping wall) is at the opposite end and the liquid runs out before running to the dam for irrigation onto pasture.

Don then very kindy shouted us all to a lovely lunch at Patumahoe before we travelled back to Hamilton where we met Isy at a local abattoir owned by family company Greenlea.  Here we inspected the truck unloading area and wash/dump point.  Greenlea use a sophisticated processing plant to remove all solids from all their waste before the liquid is sent to town sewerage.

Last stop for today was the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) in Hamilton where we met with Rob Bullick, Principal Investment Advisor, Planning and Investment where he outlined how much roadside effluent dumps cost and the funding arrangements between the NZTA and local council which took us through till 5.30pm.

Friday started at 7am again with breakfast after which we met Isy at the Waikato Regional Council office where we were given a traditional Maori blessing (Mihi) by members and staff of the Council who also sang to us as part of the Mihi, then we all introduced ourselves individually and council presented us with gift bags filled with little goodies including a Waikato “Truck Legends” cap and metal badge.

The seven of us with Isy, Cathy and Nigel from Council and Raj from NZTA headed to our first stop the Morrinsville Saleyard to inspect the truck wash and dump point, we were also lucky enough to be there on sale day so there was plenty to look at.

Above : Our group chat with a driver who has called into the Tapapa STE disposal site to empty his tanks with 48 large Friesian chopper cows on.

Next stop after morning tea at Tirau was the Councils first road side dump point at Tapapa where I met Isy last year.  The reason Isy happened to be there last year was that this dump point was originally two dams to contain the effluent but due to seepage from the dam the Council was just starting to install a concrete tank to contain the effluent which is then carted away by a contractor who uses it for compost.

Next stop was the Mynoke vermiculture facility that mixes various solid wastes before it is spread onto the ground in windrows for the worms to work their magic and convert it to vermicaste which is then sold as a soil renovator that has been shown to improve the yield of maize crops by up to 20%.

Above: Te Kuiti saleyard and STE disposal site with 2 grates for trailers that have 2 tanks.

Then on to another dairy farm to inspect their irrigation system followed by lunch at Arapuni courtesy of Waikato Regional Council.  After lunch we walked across the magnificent suspension bridge overlooking the Arapuni hydro power station on the Waikato River.

The newest of the Waikato regions dump points was our next stop at the TeKuiti Saleyards where there was also a cattle sale taking place.  After a quick inspection (as we were behind schedule) we had to retrieve some of our party from the yards and say goodbye to Nigel Cathy and Raj before travelling with Isy to Otorohanga to visit the depot of Lime Haulage who run 30 odd stock trucks to inspect their truck wash, followed by a quick look at the local truck wash where the council intend to build a dump point.

We then headed back to Hamilton where we arrived at 7pm and presented Isy with a couple bottles of Aussie red to thank her for all the time and effort she had put into arranging our trip and coordinating those people who were kind enough to allow us to visit them and explain what they do.

What did we learn?

Maori culture protects the streams and as such there is a strong political, social and regulatory desire to ensure this happens and as such containment of stock effluent is already ingrained into society, dairy farms all appear to have systems to contain effluent and spread it onto pasture at suitable times of the year as both liquid and solids.

New Zealand livestock carriers have the same difficulty in getting stock prepared for transport as we do in Australia.

Stock Effluent in NZ is not considered part of the load when a vehicle has stock on board and as such carriers can’t be fined for a load restraint breech when loaded for an effluent spill, they can however be fined for a spill under environment protection legislation.  However, it appears that this is rare as when a fine is challenged on the fact that no place to empty/dispose of the effluent was available the fine is withdrawn.

Stock effluent is however considered part of the load when a stock truck has no stock on-board.

The funding for installing and managing STE (Stock Truck Effluent) disposal sites is collected via a charge to all ratepayers as it is seen as something that everyone benefits from with rural land owners paying about double that of urban residents, about $4 per year with Isy suggesting that they would like to see that doubled.

While NZ are a lot further advanced than us with a network of effluent dumps they still have a long way to go but it has been great to hear their stories, what they have learnt and see their progress and it means we can now speed up our own work on establishing a network of strategically placed effluent dumps with what we have learnt from them while in New Zealand.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR REPORT: MATHEW MUNRO

The Waikato region (south of Auckland on the North Island) is one of the premier dairy regions in the world.  The combination of rich volcanic soils, reliable rainfall and proximity to major processors has pushed land values to $100k per hectare in prime areas.  It is little wonder that sheep have been consigned to the back blocks.

The Waikato region was a great place to conduct our study tour because it is a ‘worst case scenario’ as far as livestock effluent production is concerned.   The grass is always a lush green and the trucks and sale yards are full of dairy cattle.

Above: NZ painters carry 27 shades of green, 1 blue, 1 black and 1 white. 

The Waikato Regional Council has the most advanced effluent strategy in NZ, with one ‘in transit’ roadside effluent disposal facility already operational, ten more on the drawing board, co-operative funding of several ‘end of trip’ effluent disposal facilities and (hold onto your hat) a broad-scale levy in place to fund the effluent strategy across ten constituent district councils.

Prior to landing in NZ, I was able to examine several published NZ effluent guides, codes and strategic plans.  However, really is no substitute for speaking with all of the major players face-to-face and there was certainly a variety of opinions expressed concerning the overall success of the NZ strategy.

Here is a summary of some key learnings:

Attitude:  There can be no doubt that the entire supply chain takes the effluent issue more seriously in NZ.  Effluent is generally considered to be a road safety, environment and amenity issue.  Some also consider it to be a human health hazard and detrimental to the road surface, however these views are not universal.  Animal welfare and biosecurity appear to be secondary issues only. A glaring contrast is that action is being driven by government in NZ, whereas the transport sector is driving the issue in Australia.

Types of Facilities:  Most disposal facilities capture effluent, separate solids, discharge liquid and periodically physically remove accumulated solids.   There are three basic types of facility:

  • Lowest Cost:  Physical capture and piped to a containment tank.  There is no onsite treatment and captured effluent is occasionally pumped out and taken away.
  • Medium Cost:  As above but with some level of on-site biological treatment.  This works well on high volume farms (e.g. weeping wall with large capture dam and onsite irrigation).
  • High Cost:  Chemical and mechanical treatment in a fully enclosed controlled environment (e.g. shed with negative air pressure). This process can use sulfuric acid, polymer, caustic soda plus mechanical separation and compression techniques.

Disposal of Liquids: NZ authorities apply significant charges (based on volume and concentration) to accept discharged liquids as ‘trade waste’ into the sewage system and there are large penalties if contaminated liquids flow or leach into natural waterways – so there is a strong incentive to either evaporate, irrigate on site, or apply active treatments that reduce the effluent content of liquids as much as possible before discharge.  At Greenlea, $1.2m was spent on a chemical processing plant to avoid an estimated $1m annual cost of trade waste disposal.

Disposal of Solids:  Solids need to be periodically removed from the accumulation site.  Slurries can be pumped into tanks while drier substances can be excavated.  Off-site disposal can involve landfill, spreading, mixing with fertilizer, composting and vermiculture (worm farms).

Above: Finished product from the worm farm.

Rules on Emptying Trailer Tanks:  Containment tanks are not mandatory.  Even so, vehicles are prohibited from having a switch inside the cabin to operate containment tank valves.  The idea is that drivers cannot empty tanks conveniently from a moving vehicle or at unmanaged sites.  The driver is required to position the outflow over a grate and then exit the vehicle to check the alignment before discharge.  In our observations however, most trailers have tanks and these can be operated from inside the vehicle.

Cost of Construction:  This is highly dependent on a number of factors.  The lowest cost facility we encountered was just $20k (extension on a pre-existing truckwash).  At the other end of the scale, a fully enclosed chemical treatment plant will set you back around $1m.  On the roadside, the biggest costs relate to the road infrastructure (turning lanes etc) and land purchase.   Generally, a decent on-farm or road-side facility will cost $250k – $500k (plus road infrastructure and land purchase where necessary) with a further $30k in annual maintenance costs.

Above: Fully enclosed facility at Greenlea.

In-transit Facilities in NZ:  The next 10 roadside facilities in Waikato will involve a dumping grate, piped to a tank which is emptied via a pump to tanker for offsite disposal as required.   Initially, it was thought that containment dams would be used but the cost of lining large dams to prevent leaching in accordance with new rules has proven prohibitive.  Lessons are constantly being learned concerning the finer details of the design.  For example, existing grates need to be widened or side splash boards added to prevent effluent escape on site.  Also, due regard needs to be paid for the likely direction being travelled by a laden vehicle to avoid turning across traffic.  We saw some great innovations such as automatic flushing when vehicles exit the site.

Funding: The NZ Transport Authority (NZTA) has responsibility for funding 100% of road infrastructure and signage.  NZTA will contribute 50% towards other construction costs and maintenance.  Waikato Regional Council contributes the other 50% which is raised via a levy on all rate payers.   Private facilities are privately funded.  Waikato Regional Council is prepared to offer financial incentives to make private facilities publicly available.

Permits and Controls: The responsibility for planning, building, environmental and cultural controls for effluent facilities largely rests with the NZ regional councils.  Just like in Australia, farmers and operators report that approvals are complex, costly, uncertain and different in each region.

Above: Looking forward to seeing this on the Australian roadside?

Curfews: While the NZ industry code of practice stipulates a target of 75% of livestock being curfewed prior to transport, ‘on the ground’ opinions vary wildly.  Processors reckon it is around 90% while Drivers and operators will tell you it is actually below 10%.

Road Transport Laws: Transport operators generally cannot be infringed when effluent falls from a loaded vehicle.  However, penalties do apply for inappropriate discharge from containment tanks or if effluent falls from an unladen vehicle.  While NZ does have ‘chain of responsibility’ laws, these are not applied to persons preparing animals for transport – and hence there is no legal responsibility motivating a change of practice in this area.  As a general rule, entities accepting the delivery of livestock should also accept the delivery of effluent – but this is not always the case in practice.

Enforcement: On road enforcement of load restraint is rare.  However, Waikato Regional Council is VERY active in enforcing laws designed to prevent effluent from entering waterways.

Establishing New Facilities:  It takes many years to establish a new road side facility in NZ.  Despite the strong political will to deliver, it still takes significant time to gather data, consult with stakeholders, survey / map potential sites, negotiate with land owners, navigate planning/environment rules, obtain funding, establish maintenance agreements and carry out construction.  Difficult, but not impossible!

Where to from Here?

ALRTA has taken a quantum leap in our understanding of how to establish and maintain effluent management facilities.  We now have expert contacts, reference documents and practical knowledge acquired from seeing the NZ system in operation for ourselves.

In consultation with our state associations, we are refining our national effluent strategy and building a business case to establish Australia’s first ‘in transit’ effluent disposal facility.   While we have learned a lot, there are of course several important differences between Australia and New Zealand in terms of distances travelled, feeding regimes and political structure (NZ has no states).

There will no doubt be many challenges ahead, but rest assured that ALRTA and our state associations are actively working towards vastly improved effluent management in Australia involving all levels of government and the entire supply chain.

Our National Council will meet to consider next steps on 24 May 2017.

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ALRTA News 21 April 2017

ALRTA HEADING TO NEW ZEALAND

The ALRTA is sending seven representatives to Waikato, NZ, next week to inspect effluent management infrastructure in the livestock production chain.  The delegation includes:

  • Mark Collins – LRTAQ
  • Lynley Miners – LBRCA
  • Raymond Sutton – LBRCA
  • Mick Debenham – LRTAV
  • Trevor Solly – LRTAV
  • Robert Hodge – LRTAV
  • Mathew Munro – ALRTA Secretariat

It is fair to say that the holistic approach to effluent management in Waikato is light years ahead of Australia.  There is one operational roadside facility already in place, 10 more in development, plus several others at saleyards and processors that are open for public use.

Capturing effluent in disposal facilities is only one part of the problem – what then do you do with it?  There is a variety of approaches in NZ including connection to urban sewage systems, irrigation and vermiculture – we will get to see this in practice.

The ultimate aim of the study tour is to develop a business case to establish managed roadside effluent disposal facilities in hotspots around Australia.

In NZ, we will be meeting with key stakeholders throughout the supply chain who can tell us about data generation, site selection, construction, funding, maintenance, management, decision making, responsibilities, and perhaps most importantly, what problems we might expect here in Australia and how these are dealt with in NZ.

MINISTERIAL COUNCIL TO MEET ON 19 MAY 2017

ALRTA National President Kevin Keenan has accepted an invitation to observe the 7th meeting of the Transport and Infrastructure Ministerial Council in Brisbane on 19 May 2017.   ALRTA will participate in a briefing shortly before the meeting.

FATIGUE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AGREED

The NTC Heavy Vehicle Fatigue Data Research Project Steering Committee met via teleconference.

The $828,000 project is a collaborative effort between NTC, NHVR, Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity, universities and industry.  The aim of the research is to assess the current fatigue framework with a particular focus on the increased risk (if any) of nose-to-tail shifts.

ALRTA is a member of the steering committee.  We have raised serious concerns about the proposed methodology for examining nose-to-tail shifts.  With the support of ATA representatives, ALRTA has consulted with member operators and supplied the steering committee with a detailed ‘real world’ shift scenario, plus an alternative research option that controls key variables and is therefore far more ‘research friendly’ than the original research proposal.

The steering committee agreed this week to adopt the ALRTA’s proposed methodology, and further consideration will be given to extending the research scope to include a ‘real world’ scenario.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ABOLISHES 457 VISAS

The Federal Government has announced that 457 visas will be abolished and replaced with a new visa with increased security checking.  The decision has been made to improve employment opportunities for Australians and increase vetting of visa holders.

This decision will have minimal impact on road transport because truck driving was not included in the occupation list for 457 visas.  It remains possible to bring truck drivers into Australia under labour agreements – this was an important arrangement for relieving skill shortages in some regional areas during the mining boom.

WHO IS IN CONTROL OF AN AUTOMATED VEHICLE?

Interested parties have been asked to make submissions about how the concepts of control and proper control in the Australian Road Rules should apply to automated vehicles.

The NTC has released a discussion paper, Clarifying control of automated vehicles, calling for input on the development of national enforcement guidelines to clarify if the human driver or the automated driving system is in control at certain levels of driving automation.

Chief Executive of the NTC Paul Retter said agreement on a position about the definition of ‘proper control’ is a fundamental step in preparing Australia for the safe deployment of automated vehicles.

“Our existing road transport laws are based on the principle that the human driver is in control of the vehicle. Vehicles with an automated driving system that can perform parts of the driving task challenge these concepts of control,” Mr Retter said.

“We need to arrive at an agreed position early to provide certainty for police and enforcement agencies.

“Agreeing on a nationally-consistent approach is also expected to provide more certainty for consumers, automotive manufacturers and insurers around the question of who may be liable for damages following a crash or incident involving automated vehicles.

“National guidelines will help ensure drivers are treated consistently in different parts of the country.”

One proposal in the discussion paper considers allowing a driver to supervise automated driving without needing to have a hand on the wheel for certain levels of driving automation. This would include introducing new indicators related to alertness and readiness to intervene.

The discussion paper explores three key questions:

  1. Who is in control of an automated vehicle – the human driver or the entity responsible for the automated driving system?
  2. How should the proper control test apply to the human driver in vehicles at different levels of automation?
  3. How should the proper control test apply to the automated driving system when it is engaged?

Submissions for this discussion paper are open until 4pm Friday, 2 June 2017 via the NTC website.

Feedback from this consultation will inform the development of national enforcement guidelines which will be presented to transport ministers in November 2017.

DEADLINE EXTENDED FOR NATIONAL TRUCKING AWARDS

ATA has extended the deadline for the nominations to be made for the National Trucking Industry Awards 2017.  The new closing dates is now Friday, 5 May 2017.

The categories are:

  • Outstanding Contribution to the Trucking Industry
  • National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year
  • National Professional Driver of the Year
  • National Training Excellence Award

The awards will be presented at Trucking Australia 2017 21-23 June, at the Darwin Convention Centre during the Gala Dinner on the Foundation Sponsors Day.

Click here for more information.

ALRTA RECRUITMENT

ALRTA interviewed applicants for the National Marketing Officer position this week.  We have decided on a preferred applicant and hope to make an announcement soon.

MEETING NOTICE: ALRTA NATIONAL COUNCIL

Members are advised that the ALRTA will be holding a Council meeting in Brisbane on Wednesday, 24 May 2017.  Details are:

Start: 11:00am
Close: 5:00pm
Location: BP Australia, 572 Curtin Avenue East, EAGLE FARM QLD 4009

For more information please contact the ALRTA Secretariat.

NO NEWSLETTER NEXT WEEK

I will be unable to write up a newsletter next week while on tour in NZ.  Look out for the ‘NZ Special’ News in the week following.

Posted in ALRTA Weekly News, ATA, Fatigue, National Council | Tagged , , | Comments Off on ALRTA News 21 April 2017

ALRTA News 14 April 2017

HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY EASTER

The ALRTA National Council and Secretariat wish you all a safe and happy Easter.

It’s not the longest of holidays but still a good chance for a partial re-charge, so make sure you take the opportunity to spend some time with loved ones who support you while you are hard at work! Also, remember to be mindful of any travel restrictions or double demerits that apply in your state.

The ALRTA National Secretariat will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday.

MINISTERIAL SAFETY ROUNDTABLE

Hot on the heels of last week’s meeting between the ALRTA National President and the Federal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, the Hon. Darren Chester MP, the ALRTA Executive Director was invited to a roundtable meeting of industry leaders hosted by Minister Chester in Melbourne.

The roundtable had a clear safety focus and was an excellent opportunity to discuss rest areas, amenities, education of light vehicle drivers, development of an industry master code and the two projects that ALRTA has proposed under the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative 2017-18.  On the side of the meeting, ALRTA briefly discussed the lack of roadside effluent management infrastructure directly with Minister Chester and his Advisor.  We have arranged to continue the discussion after the May Budget.

MEETING WITH NTC

While in Melbourne, the ALRTA Executive Director met with the NTC to discuss progress on clarifying the application of Chain of Responsibility Laws to persons preparing livestock for transport.  NTC has developed several options that will be put to the states for consideration.

NOTICE OF INTENTION TO DEVELOP INDUSTRY CODE

The ALRTA has formally lodged a notice of intention to ask NHVR to register an industry code of practice for ‘Managing Effluent in the Livestock Supply Chain’.  We have proposed that the code will cover:

  • Preparation of livestock prior to road transport.
  • Minimising risk of effluent escape in transit.
  • Roadside disposal facilities for vehicles in transit.
  • End of trip disposal facilities and truck washes.
  • Communication throughout the supply chain.

Development of a code is a significant process involving technical research, risk assessment, identification of appropriate controls and wide consultation across the supply chain.  We have proposed that the code would be operational by 1 January 2019.

ALRTA EXECUTIVE MEETS

The ALRTA National Executive met via teleconference this week to discuss operational issues including building management, recruiting and our National-State financial arrangements.

I am pleased to inform members that ALRTA has now formally agreed terms with ATA to move our National Headquarters into the ATA Building from 1 July 2017.   This move will bring our association closer to the beating heart of Canberra, including other transport associations and Parliament House.

FIX EXTENDED PAYMENT TIMES

Extended payment times are a growing problem for small trucking businesses and must be fixed, the Chair of the Australian Trucking Association, Geoff Crouch, said this week.

Mr Crouch made the comments following the release of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman’s Final Report into Payment Times and Practices. The ATA made a detailed submission to its inquiry.

“The ATA has been calling for extended payment times to be fixed and now the small business ombudsman has backed the need for the Government to act. In the trucking industry, some big business customers are demanding payment terms of up to 120 days,” Mr Crouch said.

“The report recommends that industry codes should include best payment practices, including set payment times. In the 2016 election campaign, the ATA called for a mandatory code covering payment terms for small trucking businesses and related issues.”

Mr Crouch said the ATA supported the ombudsman’s other recommendations to the Government, which would deliver shorter and more certain payment times and practices.

“The Government has made valuable reforms for small business – such as the introduction of the small business ombudsman and lower company taxes, but its small business agenda must also include fixing extended payment times,” he said.

“The Government must act, and introduce shorter payment times for its own procurement, require businesses who sign government contracts to pay their suppliers in line with these shorter payment times, and legislate maximum payment times for business to business transactions.”

The inquiry into payment times and practices was the first self-initiated inquiry conducted by the ombudsman, illustrating the importance of the ombudsman and its ability to start its own inquiries on issues impacting small businesses.

“The ability of the small business ombudsman to self-initiate an inquiry is critical to giving small business a louder voice,” Mr Crouch said.

“The ATA’s submission to the review of the ombudsman endorsed its ability to self-initiate inquiries and supports its approach to consulting with small business.”

“It is also important that recipient created tax invoices (RCTI) are not used to extend payment times. In our submission to the inquiry and also our submission to the review of the Victorian Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act, the ATA recommended against big businesses being able to use RCTIs to artificially extend their payment terms by delaying the issue of those invoices,” he said.

The trucking industry consists almost entirely of small businesses, 98 per cent of road freight transport businesses having 19 employees or fewer.

REMINDER: 2017 SAFETY INNOVATION AWARD

ALRTA and NHVR reminds members that nominations for the joint 2017 Safety Innovation Award are now open.

The Award recognises and rewards rural road transport operators who have identified HVNL related safety risks and implemented successful, innovative control measures.

Applications will close on June 30, 2017.  The winner will be announced at the LRTAV Conference 11-12 August, 2017.

Nominations are open to all livestock, bulk and rural carriers who are financial members of LRTAQ, LBRCA, LRTAV, LTAT, LRTASA or LRTAWA.

You can nominate yourself or a fellow carrier who takes a proactive approach to controlling safety risks!

Application forms are available here.

Posted in ALRTA Weekly News, NHVR, NTC, Safety Innovation Award | Comments Off on ALRTA News 14 April 2017