Weekly News – 24 June 2016

2016 FEDERAL ELECTION: MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT

There is now just over a week to go until the Federal Election on 2 July 2016.  The result will impact on your road transport business – for better or for worse.

This time around, there is a double dissolution and new voting rules in place.  It is next to impossible to predict the result with any certainty and most polls are forecasting a tight finish.

As always, your vote could be critical.

The ALRTA and our affiliated associations have been monitoring policy announcements and liaising directly with the parties and individual candidates.

We have prepared this election guide to assist you to better understand what the parties are offering your road transport business.  Please take the time to read through this guide and think about how you will exercise your vote on or before 2 July 2016.

THE ALRTA ELECTION STRATEGY

The ALRTA has engaged in a multi-prong lobbying and information sharing campaign in the lead up to the Federal Election. Our activities include:

  • Working with the ATA and COSBOA to agree and investigate key policies of interest;
  • Writing directly to all Labor, Greens and Independent candidates;
  • Meeting key Labor decision makers to discuss the possible return of the RSRT;
  • Funding a marginal seat mail out campaign;
  • Publishing a formal letter from Labor concerning the RSRT and HV Charging;
  • Providing assistance to members to write directly to your local candidates;
  • Producing this election guide; and
  • Issuing a media statement on our considered position.

We trust that these activities will be of assistance to you and will prepare our association for any eventuality following the Federal Election.

KEY TRUCKING ISSUES

The ATA family of associations, including the ALRTA, has prepared a summary report card on key issues relating to the broad themes of:

  1. No Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal;
  2. Practical Safety; and
  3. Strong Trucking Businesses.

We have carefully considered the key policies announced by the Coalition, Labor and Greens in the 2016 Budget and during the election campaign.  Ticks or crosses have been awarded to each party for easy reference.

RL14027B - ATA national report card.jpg

What about the Independents?

There are a number of high profile independent candidates also vying for your vote. We worked closely with many of them during our recent campaign to abolish the RSRT.

It is difficult to assess the positions of each candidate on a very broad range of issues, so instead, we offer you this summary showing who helped abolish the RSRT and who is likely to support bringing back something similar.

TABLE 1

KEY SMALL BUSINESS ISSUES

Eligibility for small business taxation and red-tape concessions is an important point of difference between the Coalition and Labor Parties.

Currently, small businesses are defined as those with an annual turnover up to $2m.

The Coalition has promised to lift the threshold definition to an annual turnover of $10m.

This will benefit thousands of small trucking operators because, as ‘high capital – high turnover’ businesses, many genuinely small businesses currently do not qualify for taxation relief or red-tape concessions.

The benefits of being defined as a ‘small business’ include:

  • Taxation rate reduced from 28.5% to 27.5% for incorporated small businesses;
  • Tax discount of 8 per cent for unincorporated small businesses;
  • Small business instant asset write-off up to $20k per item;
  • Simplified BAS; PAYG; & GST accounting;
  • FBT concessions;
  • Immediate deductibility of professional and pre-paid expenses;
  • Rollover of gains/losses when changing legal structure;
  • Period reduced to two years in which tax commissioner can amend tax assessments.

In addition, the Coalition has committed to introducing ‘unfair contracts’ laws (from 12 November 2016) and also an ‘effects test’ to protect small businesses from negative competitive impacts caused by larger businesses.

Labor has not matched these commitments and will leave the turnover threshold and taxation rate unchanged.

ROAD SAFETY REMUNERATION TRIBUNAL

The Coalition Government, with the support of cross-bench Senators, abolished the RSRT and will not bring it back.

Labor will establish a bi-partisan forum to set minimum rates. Beyond that commitment, it has been unclear what exactly a new rate setting body might look like.

To get a better handle on what direction Labor might take on the issue should they win the election, the ALRTA has met with key Labor decision makers including:

  • The Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition – Senator Collins;
  • The Shadow Minister for Employment – Brendan O’Connor; and
  • The Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure – Anthony Albanese.

Certainly, these influential decision makers openly acknowledge that the 2016 Payments Order did not work and that the Tribunal, and those leading the Tribunal, acted unfairly and inappropriately.

It would appear unlikely that Labor would simply re-introduce the same legislation that established the RSRT. However, a ‘tribunal style’ model remains a likely outcome.

While the ALRTA continues to oppose the concept of minimum rates, we have nonetheless started a discussion with Labor about the fundamental flaws in the previous system and offered a range of suggestions that aim to reduce negative impacts and build in appropriate checks and balances.

We have received a firm commitment that the ALRTA would be invited to participate in any new process to re-introduce minimum rates and that our proposals are sensible and would be considered.

It is also worth noting that some individual Greens candidates are generally supportive of our suggestions.

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ANIMAL WELFARE
Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister, the Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, has made it very clear over the past several years that he strongly supports the live export trade.  While the Minister takes animal welfare violations seriously and addresses them immediately as they arise, he is opposed to knee-jerk blanket market closures.

On the other hand, Labor have previously closed export markets.  In a recent policy announcement, Labor have committed to:

  • Establish an independent Office of Animal Welfare;
  • Appoint an independent Inspector-General of Animal Welfare;
  • Renew the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy; and
  • Review the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme.

The Labor policy is strongly endorsed by animal activist groups who oppose industrial animal production and the live export trade.

The Labor policy has been rejected by the NFF and the Institute of Public Affairs on the basis that it increases red-tape without recognising that good welfare outcomes are already a fundamental part of well-designed livestock production systems.

The ALRTA is supportive of a national approach to animal welfare issues, however we believe that this can be achieved via the Federal Department of Agriculture coordinating a national strategy, rather than establishing an new ‘RSRT style’ authority for animal welfare.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The ALRTA is an apolitical national association.  We work with political parties of all persuasions.

We will not tell you how to vote.

However, we are of the opinion that the overall policy mix offered by the Liberal-National Coalition, if delivered, would result in a superior operating environment for rural transport operators, particularly if you are:

  • An owner driver;
  • A businesses with a turnover between $2m – $10m; or
  • A businesses involved in the live export supply chain.

There are of course many other issues such as: health; education; communications; environment; defense and the state of the Federal Budget.

We expect that you will take all of these issues into account when you are allocating your vote on or before 2 July 2016.

Posted in General News | Comments Off on Weekly News – 24 June 2016

Weekly News – 17 June 2016

LABOR CLARIFIES FUTURE OF RSRT

Next week, the ALRTA will bring you our ‘Federal Election Special Edition’ newsletter in which we will provide you with an overview of the important policy positions of major parties vying to form government after the Federal Election on 2 July 2016.

As you already know, it has been broadly reported that a Shorten Labor Government will bring back the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

The ALRTA has focused our efforts on writing to all Labor, Greens and Independent candidates, and meeting directly with key Labor decision makers on the RSRT issue.

This week, ALRTA received a formal letter for response from the Information Services Unit of the Australian Labor Campaign Headquarters.

We thought you might like to read it for yourself ahead of our analysis in next week’s newsletter.

You can download it here

LET YOUR LOCAL CANDIDATES KNOW WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THE POSSIBLE RETURN OF THE RSRT

Labor has made their formal policy on the RSRT clear in their formal correspondence to ALRTA.

However, there are a lot of individuals that make up the Federal Parliament and we may yet finish up with yet another minority government after the election.  Remember that there is both a double dissolution AND new voting rules – so nothing is a certainty.

That is why it is important for you to make your views about the possible return of the RSRT known to your local candidates now – before any possible negotiations to form a government begin.

If you can spare 15 minutes of your time you can help make a difference.

The ALRTA encourages you, and those who depend on your business, to send an email to your local Labor, Greens or Independent candidates in the next two critical weeks outlining the impact that the RSRT had on your business and why you don’t want it back again.

Some key points you may consider covering include (where applicable):

  • You are an owner driver or a hirer that was affected by the 2016 RSRT Order (or that you were unsure if you were affected);
  • You do not believe that minimum rates and more red tape will improve safety;
  • The Order meant that you could no longer compete on an equal footing with larger companies with employee drivers;
  • You were told that you would no longer have work when the Order commenced;
  • You were no longer able to use affected sub-contractors when the order commenced;
  • You had trouble accessing finance or selling used vehicles;
  • You had pre-existing equipment finance or other loan commitments that needed to be serviced and you did not have enough time to make necessary adjustments.

If you have a little more time to spend on the letter, you might also consider these points:

  • Outline the specific impacts that the Order had on your business;
  • Independent businesses should be free to set their own rates;
  • The Order was too complex to fully understand and you found it difficult to find information on the Fair Work Ombudsman website;
  • The 2016 Payments Order did not account for common situations such as part loads; multiple-hirers; or back loading;
  • The Tribunal did not attempt to consult with operators in regional areas;
  • The RSRT commissioners treated owner drivers with contempt and did not listen to their legitimate concerns;
  • The RSRT was more inclined to listen to unions and big business about what was best for owner drivers;
  • The rate of fatal articulated truck crashes fell by 80% between 1982 and 2015;
  • Crash rates have continued to improve even while real freight charges have been declining;
  • There is no significant difference in crash rates for owner drivers vs employee drivers;
  • The truck driver is not at fault in 84% of crashes involving a truck and another vehicle.

Here is how to find the email address of your local candidates:

You will need to investigate independent candidates individually, but if they are already a sitting member or senator you can find their details here: http://www.aph.gov.au/

CHANGES TO NHVR FEES

From 1 July 2016 most fees administered by the NHVR will remain the same. However, operators should be aware of the following two changes.

  1. Access amendment applications – Applications for access permit amendments will attract a $70 fee. This brings the NHVR in line with the policies and charges of states and territories. An applicant will need to pay a $70 fee and submit a new application for assessment to:
  • amend areas or routes
  • amend road or travel conditions (time/date)
  • change mass/dimension.

The only amendments that will not attract a fee are to add/remove a registration number (for the same vehicle specification) or to change a company trading name/details.

  1. National Driver Work Diary – Transport Ministers from across Australia approved a new nationally agreed price of $25 for work diaries in order to move to full cost recovery for the 2016-17 financial year.

The new price for work diaries will cover the nationwide cost of printing and distribution for all states and territories. The price increase does not affect any other aspect of the purchase process or the locations a driver can purchase a work diary.

More information on the National Driver Work Diary, including locations to purchase can be found at www.nhvr.gov.au/workdiary

HVNL PENALTIES TO INCREASE WITH CPI

The Heavy Vehicle National Law contains provisions for mandatory annual indexation of penalties linked to national CPI, which occurs automatically on 1 July each year.

A summary of the new penalty and infringement amounts for 2016/17 can be found at www.nhvr.gov.au/penalties

NHVR CONSULTING ON OSOM EXEMPTION NOTICES

The NHVR is seeking feedback from affected operators on proposed new Multi-State Class 1 Load Carrying Vehicles Mass and Dimension Exemption Notices.

These Dimension and Mass Exemption Notices are intended to replace the existing annual permits for Class 1 Load Carrying Oversize and Over Mass (OSOM) vehicles in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.

Once implemented, the Notices allow will OSOM operators instant access to the network that was afforded under the annual permit schemes, without having to wait for a permit. www.nhvr.gov.au/news/2016/06/10/nhvr-seeks-feedback-on-new-notices

Before these notices are finalised the NHVR is seeking feedback from all operators who may be affected. Feedback can be provided until Friday 24 June 2016 at nhvr.news@nhvr.gov.au

You can find the notices here:

NHVR ACCESS CONNECT TRIAL

NHVR has commenced a staged rollout of the AccessCONNECT online permit application system.

Once an account has been set up, the system will streamline the permit application process and provide increased flexibility, transparency and traceability.

NHVR is currently seeking additional participants for the first stage rollout.  If you are interested, please contact the ALRTA office and we will assist you to sign up.

QUAD BIKE SAFETY

Quad bikes are a lot of fun and for many in rural Australia they are an essential working vehicle.  Luckily, the farm I grew up on was relatively flat so we never had a major incident.  Two years ago though on a trip to NZ, I hired a more powerful version for ride along the beach and a bit of a sneaky up the sand hills behind.  Suffice to say a bit of grassy ground gave way unexpectedly and I rolled it down the side of a dune into a ditch – but jumped clear and had a lucky escape.

Others are not so lucky.  Safe Work Australia keeps tabs on quad bike fatalities on their ‘quad watch’ page.  There were 22 fatalities last year, with ages ranging from 6yo to 85yo.

My parents never stopped going on about being careful on the quad bike.  If you need to make someone in your life take notice then perhaps send them to this website:  http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/whs-information/agriculture/quad-watch/pages/quad-bike-fatalities#2016

Something that jumps out at you immediately is that most of the fatalities were not wearing helmets.

The NSW Government has launched a $2m package with $500 individual rebates to encourage riders to replace quad bikes with safer vehicles like side-by-side vehicles, fit them with operator protective devices, buy helmets or undertake training courses. More information here: http://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/

REMINDER: UPCOMING EVENTS

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

Trucking Australia Conference

The ATA’s premier annual event ‘Trucking Australia 2016’ will be held 23-25 June 2016 at the new Sea World Resort Conference Centre, Gold Coast, QLD.  The program is a mix of entertainment and business activities featuring a keynote address by the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Kenworth Legends Luncheon, contracts master class and the National Trucking Industry Awards.

Register here

The LRTAWA Annual State Conference will be held 1-2 July 2016 at the Light House Beach Resort in Bunbury. On Friday there will be a demonstration of drug and alcohol testing equipment and a ‘sundowner’ meal including mini-auction.  The Conference Sessions are on Saturday followed by a Gala Dinner and Auction.

Register here

Joint LRTAV / National Conference

The Joint LRTAV – National Conference will be held 5-6 August 2016 at the RACV Resort in Torquay. Friday kicks off with golf in the morning, followed by three short information sessions and a longer session on the RSRT.  Friday night dinner is a special 80s themed event including presentation of Young Driver and Outstanding Industry Contribution Awards.  The main Conference Sessions are on Saturday followed by a Gala Dinner and Auction.

Register here

Posted in General News | Comments Off on Weekly News – 17 June 2016

Weekly News – 10 June 2016

NEW HEAVY VEHICLE CHARGES TO APPLY FROM 1 July 2016

Members are advised that new heavy vehicle charges will apply from 1 July 2016.

The NTC calculates charges using the PAYGO cost-recovery model. Basically, governments tell the NTC how much they have spent on roads (including construction, maintenance, enforcement and regulation) and the NTC recommends how much each type of heavy vehicle should be charged.

Ministers then have the final say on the actual charges that will apply.

You can find the basic rego charges here (Note: individual states may apply further discounts in some cases)

The RUC will decrease from 26.14 cents per litre to 25.9 cents per litre.

The changes being implemented this year are bit unusual. Some operators will pay more and others will pay less. This is because two previous Ministerial decisions are being implemented at the same time.

The NTC reviewed PAYGO in 2013-14 and recommended that charges be reduced by 6.3% for registration and 1.14 cents per litre for fuel.  Instead, Ministers delayed the decision for two years and then elected to freeze charges at the current level.

On 6 November 2016, Ministers agreed to continue freezing revenue at current levels, but at the same time decided to proceed with implementation of the technical changes arising from the 2013-14 review.

This means that charges will now be based on axle groupings in line with industry’s view that this is a fairer charging system for allocating charges over different vehicle classes.  This is why charges will go up for some and down for others.

As part of the review process, ALRTA argued strongly for retention of the discount for road trains because they are restricted to accessing the lowest quality parts of the road network.  Under an axle grouping charging regime, it is not possible to distinguish a trailer used in a road train from other uses.  So, to maintain the discount, the ‘roads component’ of the charge for converter dollies (the only part of the combination specifically for a road train) has been reduced to zero, leaving a nominal small registration charge reflecting the cost of the NHVR.

Overall, government revenue collection will remain the same as last year, but the proportions allocated to some vehicles and combinations will change.

While this might look attractive to you on the surface, please also keep in mind that the freeze has been brought about because governments are collectively overcharging the heavy vehicle sector by around $250m annually but refuse to reduce total charges.

ALRTA MEETS LABOR DECISION MAKERS

This week the ALRTA National President and Executive Director met with the Shadow Cabinet Secretary (and Parliamentary Secretary to the Opposition Leader) Senator Jacinta Collins and the Shadow Employment Minister, the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP.

The main focus of the discussions was the announcement that an elected Shorten Government would resurrect the RSRT and the current continuation of overcharging by the Coalition Government.

These are potentially key points of difference between the parties that are of significant interest road transport sector.

ALRTA will bring you more news on these and other issues closer to the election.

HVNL INVESTIGATION AND ENFORCEMENT POWERS

Following on from our meeting with NTC last week, the ALRTA made a submission on the proposal to review investigative and enforcement powers under the HVNL. At this stage, we think it is prudent to limit any review to information gathering powers that may be required to enhance the new chain of responsibility laws that will be rolled out over the next two years.

It is premature to conduct a broader review until we have more experience with the operation of the new laws. NTC resources would be better spent on alternative projects.

REMINDER: CONSULTATION FORUMS ON RSRT IMPACTS

Members are advised that additional opportunities are now available to attend the consultation forums on the impact of the RSRT.

This week consultation forums were held in Perth and Adelaide. Forums are coming up in Toowoomba, Dubbo, Mildura, Shepparton, Wagga, Tamworth and Tasmania.

To register and for updates on these and other locations, please click here

The ALRTA made a comprehensive 31 page written submission to the Inquiry this week detailing the impacts on operators and fundamental failures in the design of the system.

Marley to continue as trucksafe chair

The TruckSafe accreditation program welcomed three industry leaders to its Board at its recent meeting in Goulburn. Stephen Marley will continue as TruckSafe Chair.

Stephen Marley is the General Manager for his family business Marley’s Transport, and is dedicated to improving safety in the industry. Marley’s Transport TruckSafe accredited since 1998, just two years after the program was developed.

“Safe vehicles, comprehensive management systems and effective driver training are essential to run a safe, professional and viable transport business,” Mr Marley said.

“I’m delighted to continue as Chair, particularly with TruckSafe celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.”

Mr Marley welcomed newly appointed directors Ken Brennan, Julie Russell and Victor Vella to the Board.

“Ken Brennan is the Chief Executive Officer for the ACT Transport Industries Skills Centre (TISC) & Transport Training ACT. As a former police Superintendent with some 32 years of service on the force, Ken brings his extensive experience in enforcement and road trauma issues to his new role on the TruckSafe Board,” Mr Marley said.

“As the Manager, Support Services for RB Russell Transport, Julie Russell goes above and beyond to make sure everyone comes home safely at the end of the day. As part of this, Julie was instrumental in implementing TruckSafe within the business.

“Her efforts have been acknowledged by the industry as the winner of the ATA’s 2015 National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year Award, and we’re delighted to have her on board as a Director of the TruckSafe program.

“Victor Vella has seen both sides of our industry, originally starting out as a truck driver before moving to management roles in his family’s transport business. He has a wealth of knowledge from his work right across our industry, and will bring a strong voice to the Board.”

Mr Marley paid tribute to retiring TruckSafe Director Robert Waldron for his many years of service to the program.

“Bob has been a pillar of strength for the TruckSafe program. As the previous CEO of the ACT Transport Industry Skills Centre, we’ve been privileged to benefit from your knowledge and experience in the industry,” Mr Marley said.

TruckSafe the trucking industry’s own business and risk management system, which aims to improve the safety and professionalism of trucking operators across Australia.

REMINDER: 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 17-18 June 2016 at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. The weekend kicks off with a Golf competition at Adelaide Golf Links in North Adelaide followed by pre-dinner drinks and dinner at the Entertainment Centre.   The Conference Sessions are on Saturday followed by a Gala Dinner and Auction.

Register here

Trucking Australia Conference

The ATA’s premier annual event ‘Trucking Australia 2016’ will be held 23-25 June 2016 at the new Sea World Resort Conference Centre, Gold Coast, QLD. The program is a mix of entertainment and business activities featuring a keynote address by the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Kenworth Legends Luncheon, contracts master class and the National Trucking Industry Awards.

Register here

LRTAWA Conference

The LRTAWA Annual State Conference will be held 1-2 July 2016 at the Light House Beach Resort in Bunbury. On Friday there will be a demonstration of drug and alcohol testing equipment and a ‘sundowner’ meal including mini-auction. The Conference Sessions are on Saturday followed by a Gala Dinner and Auction.

Register here

Joint LRTAV / National Conference

The Joint LRTAV – National Conference will be held 5-6 August 2016 at the RACV Resort in Torquay. Friday kicks off with golf in the morning, followed by three short information sessions and a longer session on the RSRT. Friday night dinner is a special 80s themed event including presentation of Young Driver and Outstanding Industry Contribution Awards.  The main Conference Sessions are on Saturday followed by a Gala Dinner and Auction.

Register here

Posted in ALRTA Weekly News, General News | Comments Off on Weekly News – 10 June 2016

Weekly News – 3 June 2016

Minimum Wages to rise from 1 July 2016

The Minimum Wage Panel of the Fair Work Commission has released a National Wage Case decision.  The decision has determined that from the first pay period on or after 1 July 2016:

  • All modern award classification scales will rise by 2.4%;
  • The Federal minimum wage will rise to $17.70 per hour.

You can find more information here

Beaurepaires Promo

Beaurepaires continues to provide support to the ALRTA through the national sponsorship program.  This month Beaurepaires is offering ALRTA members extra savings with these great deals in partnership with BP, click the link (underlined) below to see details.

Buy 5 tyres and get 1 free + a $50 Diesel Voucher

Save on tax this year – buy in bulk and save + a $500 Diesel Voucher

Buy 7 tyres and get 1 free + $100 Diesel Voucher

ALRTA Attends fundraising events

The ALRTA is an apolitical association with a 30 year history of working with all sides of politics.  As you would expect in the lead up to the 2016 Federal Election, most politicians are holding fund raising events to support their campaigns.

Recently, the ALRTA Executive Director has attended events to help support individuals that have worked closely with our association in recent years, including the Minister for Employment, Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash and Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP.

The ALRTA will always strive to maintain good working relationships with important decision makers of all political persuasions.

NTC Consults Industry investigation powers 

The ALRTA attended an NTC industry consultation session this week to discuss a proposed review of HVNL investigative and enforcement powers.

The review is necessary because of the sweeping changes to chain of responsibility (CoR) laws that are expected to be implemented over this year and next.  Under the old laws, you could be automatically deemed guilty of an offence, with a ‘reasonable steps defence’ that gave you a chance to prove otherwise.

The new laws will switch that around.  At all times, you will have a positive obligation to do everything ‘reasonably practicable’ to control risks.  You will be presumed innocent and it will be up to the enforcement officer to prove otherwise.

While the new laws will be fairer, they will only work if enforcement officers have sufficient investigative and enforcement powers to build cases for prosecution.  However, any proposed new powers need to be looked at very carefully to ensure that they do not overstep what is reasonable and minimally required.

The meeting this week was a good opportunity to start thinking about the scope of current powers and where any new powers need to be focussed.

ALRTA will provide our preliminary written views to NTC next week.  NTC will release a more detailed public discussion paper in September 2016.

Update on Braking Guide

The ALRTA participated in an industry working group meeting this week to finalise the development of a useful guide for optimising performance when mixing and matching different braking technologies as part of articulated combinations.

We are hopeful that we will be able to publish the guide for the use of our members in the very near future – watch this space!

Heavy Vehicle Driver Fatigue Project

The ALRTA has written to the NTC offering ‘in kind’ support and expertise to help support the research work to be undertaken under the Ministerially approved Heavy Vehicle Fatigue Data Framework.

The research project will be led by the Alertness, Safety and Productivity CRC and will aim to scientifically evaluate the impact of HVNL fatigue regulations on road safety risks. ALRTA has previously provided written input into the design of the specific research proposals.

Counting Sheep

…141, 142, 143,….feeling sleepy yet?  Wake up – This is serious business!  We have been hearing reports from around the traps about errors counting or identifying livestock and the problems this is causing up and down the supply chain.

In Victoria we are hearing reports of drivers who are not taking enough care around saleyards and picking up livestock from the wrong pens.  In one instance, store cattle were moved instead of fat cattle and by the time they were returned the store sale was over.  In another case, cows were mistakenly taken with a load of bullocks from the same pen when they were meant to be going different places.

At the LRTAQ Conference we heard about western cattle QLD ‘disappearing’ and then ‘reappearing’ in southern states.  Please also be mindful of potential stolen cattle if you are running in that direction.

So, we just suggest that it may be beneficial to ask your drivers to take more care in noting pen and livestock numbers – particularly when the driver is new or does not have a background in the livestock industry.

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 17-18 June 2016 at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. The weekend kicks off with a Golf competition at Adelaide Golf Links in North Adelaide followed by pre-dinner drinks and dinner at the Entertainment Centre. The Conference Sessions are on Saturday followed by a Gala Dinner and Auction.

Register here

Trucking Australia Conference

The ATA’s premier annual event ‘Trucking Australia 2016’ will be held 23-25 June 2016 at the new Sea World Resort Conference Centre, Gold Coast, QLD.  The program is a mix of entertainment and business activities featuring a keynote address by the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Kenworth Legends Luncheon, contracts master class and the National Trucking Industry Awards.

Register here

LRTAWA Conference

The LRTAWA Annual State Conference will be held 1-2 July 2016 at the Light House Beach Resort in Bunbury. On Friday there will be a demonstration of drug and alcohol testing equipment and a ‘sundowner’ meal including mini-auction.  The Conference Sessions are on Saturday followed by a Gala Dinner and Auction.

Register here

Joint LRTAV / National Conference

The Joint LRTAV – National Conference will be held 5-6 August 2016 at the RACV Resort in Torquay. Friday kicks off with golf in the morning, followed by three short information sessions and a longer session on the RSRT.  Friday night dinner is a special 80s themed event including presentation of Young Driver and Outstanding Industry Contribution Awards.  The main Conference Sessions are on Saturday followed by a Gala Dinner and Auction.

Register here

 

Posted in General News | Comments Off on Weekly News – 3 June 2016

Weekly News – 27 May 2016

ALRTA attends COSBOA Council Meeting

The ALRTA Executive Director attended a meeting of the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA) in Melbourne this week.

The ‘pre-election’ line up of guests was outstanding, including:

  • Minister for Small Business;
  • Minister for Vocational Education and Training;
  • Shadow Cabinet Secretary;
  • Greens spokesperson on innovation and competition policy; and
  • Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.

The meeting was a good opportunity to hear the views of each speaker on important small business issues, and for the ALRTA, an ideal chance to explain the problems with the RSRT and the reasons why they should not be repeated.

In the coming weeks the ALRTA will provide you with a ‘scorecard’ illustrating how the parties measure up on key election issues.

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Photo 1: Minister for Small Business, the Hon. Kelly O’Dwyer MP

Photo 2: Shadow Cabinet Secretary, Senator the Hon. Jacinta Collins with ALRTA Executive Director, Mathew Munro

Australian Beef Industry Sustainability Framework

The ALRTA Executive Director met with representatives from the Red Meat Advisory Council Independent Steering Group this week to discuss the development of a Sustainability Framework for the Australian Beef Industry.

The proposed framework aims to clearly show consumer and community stakeholders what sustainable beef production is and how it is being achieved.

The ALRTA has a good story to tell in this space because we have now taken an ‘end-to-end’ approach to improving safety and welfare outcomes in the livestock transport sector.  It starts with our National Ramps Guide, then TruckCare deals with the ‘in transit’ issues, and finally, LivestockASSIST is there in the rare event that things do go wrong.

I am sure that our good work will be suitably recognised in any final sustainability framework.

LRTAQ Conference: Longreach 19 – 22 May 2016

Last weekend the ALRTA National President, Kevin Keenan, and ALRTA Executive Director, Mathew Munro, attended the LRTAQ Annual Conference in Longreach, QLD.

We could see from the air just how tough the rural sector is doing it at the moment in Central QLD.  Not much grass and not a lot of animals as far as the eye can see in all directions. Over dinner on Saturday night, the Mayor of Longreach, Ed Warren, mentioned just how grateful he was that the LRTAQ had chosen to support the people of Longreach.

The conference program was a most enjoyable experience.  We cruised down the Thompson River, took in the QANTAS museum and ventured out to the Stockman’s Hall of Fame.  There are not too many outback towns that can boast so many attractions.

Of course there was also a serious side. The LRTAQ Committee considered a range of important policy issues at the delegates meeting on Friday.  The Saturday Forum was opened by the Hon Senator Ian McDonald and included presentations on the RSRT, review of the Qld Livestock Loading Scheme, crate safety and road access.

I reckon the highlight of the weekend was the LRTAQ Grey Nomad.  This free event brought together caravaners, trucking operators, police, community supporters and the ATA safety truck to foster a greater level of understanding between the various road users.  There was a great spirit in the air as the grey nomads inspected the inside of the prime movers, examined log books, had a free safety inspection of their vehicles and just generally ‘chewed the fat’ with some of our experienced truck drivers.  LRTAQ even treated a couple of lucky winners with a free $50 fuel voucher courtesy of BP.  Let’s hope they spread the word about the high level of professionalism in our industry.

ALRTA congratulates the LRTAQ Executive elected at the AGM:

  • President: Ian Wild
  • Immediate Past President: David Scott
  • Vice President: Gerard Johnson
  • Treasurer: Ron Pattel
  • Secretary: Gary Willoughby

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Photo 1: LRTAQ President Ian Wild, Immediate Past LRTAQ President David Scott, ALRTA National President Kevin Keenan.

Photo 2: Grey Nomad Breakfast.

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Photo 3: ALRTA Executive Director, Mathew Munro, Senator the Hon. Ian McDonald, NHVR’s John Gilbert.

Reviewing the impact of the RSRT

Last week the ALRTA attended a Roundtable meeting with the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) to discuss the current Inquiry into the impact of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal 2016 Payments Order on owner drivers.

We provided a broad overview of the uncertainty, lack of clarity, financial impact, problems obtaining finance and the inappropriate operation of the Tribunal itself.

The ASBFEO is keen to hear from you about the impact of the RSRT on your business.  Please shoot a short email to advocacy@asbfeo.gov.au if you can spare a few minutes.  It doesn’t have to be too formal.

The ASBFEO is also planning a series of regional consultation sessions and we will advise you of the details when available.

Remember, the RSRT might be gone now but Labor have pledged to bring it back if they win the Federal Election.  It is still important to have your say to help get the message through that we can’t afford a repeat of highly damaging RSRT.

Crash Rates: New Statistics tell the real story

During the furore leading up to the abolition of the RSRT, the TWU were, and still are, peddling a story that there are 330 heavy vehicle related deaths every year.  The problem is that this figure is grossly misleading because it is from way back in 1999 and includes busses.

Given that the official government statistics are updated 4 times a year there really is no excuse for using 17 year old figures – unless you are trying to exaggerate the problem.

Last week the ATA release authorative new figures calculated by the Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) at the University of Adelaide.  The figures show that the rate of fatal articulated truck crashes fell 80 per cent between 1982 and 2015.

During that time, the number of articulated trucks on the road doubled.

A separate study undertaken by industry economist and academic Kim Hassall has shown that owner drivers are not over represented in NTI crash data.  The proportion of the insured portfolio represented by owner drivers almost exactly matches the proportion of their claims.

These statistics demonstrate that we are on the right track with our approach to improving heavy vehicle safety.

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NTC Proposals to deter speeding

All heavy vehicles over 12 tonnes gross vehicle mass (GVM) and all buses over 5 tonnes GVM are currently required to be fitted with a speed limiter that is set to 100 kilometres per hour.

The NTC is proposing two changes to the Heavy Vehicle National Law that will make it easier to take enforcement action when such vehicles are detected travelling in excess of 115km per hour.  In summary:

  • Proposal 1: a provision that will automatically defect a speed limiter over 115km per hr; and
  • Proposal 2: a power to immediately ground such vehicles.

The ALRTA National Executive has previously considered this issue.  Our inclination is to support the proposals, provided that there is some discretion exercised when vehicles are carrying sensitive materials such as livestock, perishables or dangerous goods.

ALRTA will work with ATA to further refine our position before formally responding to the NTC discussion paper.

NTC releases fatigue report

NTC has released the Heavy Vehicle Driver Fatigue Data Final Report which aims to develop a new framework to ensure data about the frequency and impact of driver fatigue is collected in a consistent and comparable way across the nation’s states and territories.

Currently, the lack of information has been hindering reform in the area.  Without data we simply cannot fully understand the risks.

The framework developed by the NTC will result in four fatigue-related projects that:

  • conduct new research to evaluate the fatigue impact of the current laws
  • develop nationally consistent definitions and measurements of fatigue
  • analyse commercial data to evaluate the frequency and impact of fatigue regulations, and
  • review road agencies’ ability to link crash data to driver accreditation.

ALRTA is currently considering a request to support the projects, including financially.

LOCAL Government permit turnaround is improving

NHVR has released new data showing that heavy vehicle permit processing times by local councils have improved in three of the five participating States during the March quarter.

The data showed an improvement in local council processing times in Queensland (an average of 10.2 days down to 8.1), South Australia (10.6 days down to 10.3) and Tasmania (6.1 days down to 5.4). NSW local governments remained steady 15.4 days while Victorian local governments have had an increase from 6.6 days to 7.4 days.

There were 5950 permits processed by state and local government in the January to March quarter, up by 50 per cent on the same period in 2015.

One area of concern to the ALRTA is the information showing areas where permit time is in excess of the statutory requirement of 28 days.  In the vast majority of cases it appears that it is state governments that are responsible for the delays.

You can check how your state and local councils are performing here

How’s your kidney health?  Exclusive member fact sheet

To coincide with national Kidney Health Week, the ALRTA has released an exclusive member fact sheet with key information to help make sure your kidneys are in top shape.

Kidney Health Week is running from 22 – 28 May 2016. The fact sheet was developed in partnership with Kidney Health Australia.

ALRTA National President, Kevin Keenan, said kidney disease was a bigger killer than road accidents, prostate cancer or breast cancer, but didn’t get the same level of publicity

“The problem with kidney disease is that it’s hard to detect – for some people, you can lose up to 90 per cent of kidney function before you even start feeling sick,” President Keenan said.

“This makes it very important to be aware if you’re included in the one in three Australians with an increased risk of kidney disease. Key risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, and if you have a family history of kidney disease or kidney failure.

“There is no cure for kidney failure, but kidney disease can be treated if it’s caught in the early stages. If you think you’re at risk of kidney disease, you should see your doctor for a kidney health test.

“We will continue to release these fact sheets to ALRTA members throughout 2016, each focusing on a new health topic.”

Please contact the ALRTA National Secretariat or your State Association Secretariat to obtain a copy of the exclusive fact sheet.

 

 

Posted in ALRTA Weekly News, General News, LRTAQ | Comments Off on Weekly News – 27 May 2016