ALRTA News – 26 August 2016

INDUSTRY MEETS TRANSPORT DEPARTMENTS

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

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

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

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

BASELINE ROADWORTHINESS SURVEY

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

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

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

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

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

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

ANIMAL WELFARE RD&E STRATEGY

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

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

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

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

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

THE FUTURE OF PERMIT APPLICATIONS

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

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

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

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

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

IMPROVE SAFETY AND REDUCE CONGESTION WITH HIGH PRODUCTIVITY VEHICLES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Download the truck impact chart

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ALRTA News – 19 August 2016

ALRTA LAUNCHES NEW LOGO

The ALRTA has launched a new corporate logo.

Speaking at the joint ALRTA and Livestock and Rural Transporters of Victoria National-State Conference on 6 August 2016, ALRTA National President, Kevin Keenan, said that the new logo better reflects the ALRTA’s broader range of interests.

“Over the 30 year history of the ALRTA our association has been evolving.  Back in 1985, several state livestock transport associations got together and formed the Australian Livestock Transport Association to represent their interests at the national level”, said President Keenan.

“Since then, all states have become involved, we have added a national member chapter and our focus has broadened to include all rural transport tasks”.

“The grass roots membership of the ALRTA’s state associations is now highly diverse.  In addition to livestock carriers who initially formed the base of our association, we have hundreds of members who transport bulk grain, fertiliser, hay, milk, fruit, vegetables, water, fuel, machinery and general farm supplies”.

“We are proud of who we are and what we do.  I believe that our new national logo will instantly convey our national focus on the entire rural supply chain”, he said.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the rural road transport task comprises close to 20% of the total road transport task when measured in billion tonne kilometres.

JOHN BEER AWARDED LIFE MEMBERSHIP

The ALRTA has awarded an honorary life membership to 50 year industry veteran, John Beer.

The life membership was presented by the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP, at the joint ALRTA and Livestock and Rural Transporters of Victoria (LRTAV) National-State Conference on 5 August 2016.

ALRTA National President, Kevin Keenan, said that Mr Beer had made an enormous contribution towards the betterment of the rural transport industry and to our affiliated associations.

“John is one of the most passionate individuals I know, especially when it comes to driver safety and animal welfare.  He was the driving force behind the development of the ALRTA National Guidelines for Loading Ramps and Forcing Yards and the promotion of an innovative new side loading platform that greatly reduces safety risks to drivers and animal handlers”, said President Keenan.

“John started out as a young driver hauling livestock as well as fencing posts, hay and grain.  Together with his wife Melva, he now operates his own single-truck transport business J & M Beer Carrying Service Pty Ltd from Romsey in central Victoria”.

“Some people would unknowingly owe their health or their lives to the efforts John has put into improving infrastructure around livestock facilities.  His contribution to the rural transport sector over many decades deserves the highest level of recognition and the ALRTA is proud to award John an honorary Life Membership”, he said.

Beer was previously the State President of the LRTAV for 7 years and National President of the ALRTA for 2 years.

In a decorated career, Beer holds a Life Membership of LRTAV and was the first recipient of the ALRTA McIver Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Livestock and Rural Transport Industry.  In July, Beer was a finalist in the National Trucking Industry Awards for Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Trucking Industry.

Left to Right: David Smith (LRTASA President); Kevin Keenan (ALRTA National President); John Beer (ALRTA Life Member); Federal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, the Hon Darren Chester MP.

CATTLE AND SHEEP WELFARE STANDARDS

Over the past few years the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (a cooperative effort between the Commonwealth and States) has produced several new sets of nationally consistent standards and guidelines for animal welfare in various parts of the livestock production chain.

Already, standards and guidelines for the Land Transport of Livestock have been implemented in all states and territories except WA (pending).  This has resulted in a mix of mandatory enforceable requirements that chain parties must adhere to as well as some voluntary ‘best practice’ guidance material.

Earlier this year, standards and guidelines for Livestock at Saleyards and Depots were finalised and are now awaiting endorsement from Agriculture Ministers.

Right now, the endorsed new standards and guidelines for Cattle and for Sheep are being progressively implemented around the country.

To find out where things are up to in your State, and who will be enforcing the rules, click on the links below:

Standards and Guidelines for Cattle

Standards and Guidelines for Sheep

INQUIRY INTO PAYMENT TERMS

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) has announced that it will soon launch an Inquiry into payment time issues.  The ASBFEO will look at:

  • Current practices;
  • The impact of payment timing on small businesses; and
  • Options for improving the situation.

While the Inquiry is not specific to the trucking sector, the ASBFEO has recently reviewed the RSRT system and is quite familiar with cash flow problems that can cripple small trucking businesses.

One of the only broadly supported elements of the RSRT Orders was compulsory 30 day payment terms.  The ALRTA and ATA are also exploring the possibility of a mandatory code of conduct established under the Australian Competition and Consumer Act 2001 that could, among other things, address payment terms.

The ALRTA will engage with the ASBFEO on this important issue during the Inquiry period.

RATE THE PERFORMANCE OF THE FIRS REGULATOR

The Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS) is administered by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

The ALRTA is now seeking your feedback on the performance of the Department in administering FIRS.   If you have vehicles registered under FIRS, please click here to download a short survey form.

Forms can be returned to the ALRTA (mathew@alrta.org.au) until COB, Thursday, 25 August 2016.

The survey is entirely confidential and we will not identify either yourself or your business.  ALRTA will collate the responses and provide the information to the Department.

NHVR RELEASES BLUEPRINT FOR HEAVY VEHICLE REFORM

The NHVR has released its five-year blueprint for a safer, productive and more compliant heavy vehicle industry.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester said the Agenda document would link three key strategies to continue the reform of the heavy vehicle industry.

“This plan focuses on the three national strategies for Safety, Compliance and Assurance, and Productivity to guide Australia’s regulatory heavy vehicle agenda between now and 2020,” Mr Chester said.

“As a regulator, the NHVR will set the standard in relation to heavy vehicle safety, while taking a balanced approach to cutting red tape and improving industry access to services and products.

“Australia’s reliance on a safe and sustainable road freight industry across urban, rural and remote communities will only grow with a large portion of that growth driven by interstate freight movements.”

Setting the Agenda – Strategies for a Safer, Productive and more Compliant Heavy Vehicle Industry, includes an Action Plan to ensure the strategies are delivered.

Key items of the Action Plan include:

  • Developing a safety risk management framework
  • Developing and delivering a national heavy vehicle awareness road safety campaign
  • Guidance and education material on Chain of Responsibility
  • Implementing new guidelines for the registration of Industry Codes of Practice

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said these strategies underpin the NHVR’s long-term Strategic Directions 2016 document released in May.

“A number of key items are already being delivered including a national health check of Australia’s heavy vehicle fleet, a national inspection manual and national notices to reduce the reliance on permits,” he said.

“The heavy vehicle industry has told us they are looking for a safe level playing field whether it’s an operator in an outback community, a transport company in the middle of a major city or a business involved in the supply chain purchasing transport services.

“This will improve industry and the Regulator by focusing resources on activities that provide the greatest safety and productivity benefits through addressing unacceptable high-risk behaviours.

“I am excited by the prospect of industry, including supply chain parties, and the NHVR working together to achieve the Regulator and industry we envisage for 2020.”

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ALRTA News – 12 August 2016

RECRUIT A MATE AND EARN A $350 REWARDS PACK

Yes, you read that right!

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

  • A $100 fuel voucher – thanks to BP;
  • A $100 parts voucher – thanks to PACCAR Parts; and
  • A $150 tyre voucher – thanks to Beaurepaires.

And that’s not all – the new member will also receive the same rewards package!

Here’s how it works:

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

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

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

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

So, what are you waiting for?

NATIONAL-STATE CONFERENCE WRAP UP

The ALRTA-LRTAV joint National-State Conference has been a resounding success. The conference program was very well attended and jam-packed with top notch speakers and special events.

The RACV Resort in Torquay proved to be a very attractive venue with more than 200 delegates attending over Friday-Saturday, 5-6 August 2016.

Friday, 5 August
Friday kicked off with golf in the morning followed by a stellar line up of speakers including the Victorian Minister for Minister for Roads and Road Safety, the Hon Luke Donnellan MP; Ex-Federal Independent Senator for Victoria, John Madigan; and Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell.

In the evening, delegates were treated to a keynote address by the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP.

   
Left: Minister Donnellan & President Keenan
Right: David Smith, Minister Chester & President Keenan

The Minister then presented a Life Membership to John Beer in recognition of his enormous contribution to livestock and rural transport over more than 50 years.  We then watched an excellent promotional video about the ProWay Crate P.A.L. side loading frame featuring John Beer, that has since gone on to reach more than 130,000 hits on facebook.

Click on these links to check out the ProWay video and our national ramps guide.

Minister Chester congratulated the three finalists for the LRTAV Young Driver of the Year Award.  It was a tough decision for the judges, but the honor was awarded to Rob Hodge.

  
Left: ALRTA Life Member, John Beer
Right: LRTAV Young Driver of the Year, Rob Hodge

Saturday, 6 August
The Saturday conference program also included some great speakers including the NHVR CEO, Sal Petroccuitto; ATA Chair, Noelene Watson; and Eric Henderson, Director of Regulatory Services, VicRoads.  The ALRTA President and Executive Director also updated delegates about the issues being dealt with at the National level.

Some of the highlights over the day included:

  • A special presentation of a model b-double livestock truck to the NHVR CEO;
  • The announcement of PACCAR Parts as out newest National Sponsor;
  • The launch of our National Member Drive;
  • The launch of a new ALRTA Logo; and
  • A ‘soft’ launch of the second livestock and rural AFM template.


Above: ALRTA VP’s Graeme Hoare and Stephen Marley with NHVR CEO, Sal Petroccuitto (centre)

The Gala Dinner was a chance to recognise and thank our long term national sponsors: PACCAR & Dealer; NTI; Cummins; Beaurepaires and BP – along with our two newest sponsors PACCAR Parts and King Bars.

I was especially moved by the special announcement that LRTAV member Shane Knight has been inducted into the Road Transport Hall of Fame. Shane humbly accepted the honor but felt undeserving – after all, it was only 43 years of hard work and dedication to the industry that got him here.

In addition, the LRTAV presented two special awards to Marla Stone and Alina Hawkins in recognition of the hard yards they put into defending our industry during the high stakes and often demoralising RSRT Campaign.  These two ladies faced the RSRT head on and stood shoulder to shoulder with us without blinking right until the very end. We could not have swung the pendulum back in our favor without passionate supporters like these!

    
Left: Hall of Fame Inductee, Shane Knight
Right: Significant Contributors, Marla Stone & Alina Hawkins

The awards were followed by our major auction event.  As usual, our sponsors donated a range of items to help support the work of our associations over the coming year.  Some of the major items included: a Cummins engine; King Bull Bar; York Axles; B-double set of tyres; iPads; a Michael Clarke signed cricket bat; and a range of merchandise packs.  We thank all of our donors and the buyers of these quality items.

The evening was topped off by well known comedian, Mick Meredith.  It would be best if I don’t repeat any of his hilarious routine here!

A Big Thank You
It takes a huge effort to organize and execute major events like these.

The ALRTA thanks all of the LRTAV Executive and members who contributed to planning and running the various sessions over the two days.  We reserve a very special thanks to Melisa Champness and her team of helpers who were right at the center of it all from day 1 – this one will be hard to top!

Also, the ALRTA and LRTAV thank all of our National and State sponsors for your support, as well as all of the delegates who attended to help make it such a special and memorable event.

NEW ERA FOR LIVESTOCK MANAGEMENT

The NHVR will release their second livestock fatigue template, “Long Runs”, on Monday, 15 August.

The “Long Runs” template provides additional flexibility where operators demonstrate appropriate control of fatigue. The template is designed to allow operators up to 15 ½ hours of work time in a single work opportunity on a non-consecutive basis (i.e., one day long, one day short).

According to the NHVR Executive Director, Productivity and Safety Geoff Casey: “I’m pleased to deliver more options to the livestock industry to operate more efficiently and maintain high safety standards. This template will kick start the process to allow the NHVR to work closely with individual businesses on their fatigue management systems.”

To design more flexible schedules, operators would need to accredit their business by putting transport fatigue management procedures in place, training staff and drivers, and undergoing regular audits. Currently, about 12 per cent of all operators under Advanced Fatigue Management are livestock operators so they are well positioned to take advantage of the template.

NHVR has worked with ALRTA to introduce controls and countermeasures as part of their fatigue risk management systems.

ALRTA National President, Kevin Keenan, said that the NHVR understood the realities of the livestock transport task.

“Livestock transport is like no other freight task.  Operators are simultaneously dealing with heavy vehicle laws and animal welfare laws, and often in rural and remote environments where access to driver and animal facilities can be difficult”, said President Keenan.

“The NHVR is delivering more flexible fatigue options that enable our drivers to deal with the operational realities of the task while remaining compliant with the law”, he said.

Click on this link for more information about the Livestock Transport Fatigue Management Scheme.

ALRTA ANNOUNCES PRIORITIES FOR 2016-17

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has announced the key industry priorities for 2016-17.

The priorities were determined at a meeting of the ALRTA National Council in Torquay Victoria on 4 August 2016.  The priority issues are:

  • Effluent;
  • Establishing a national standard for low-volume road access;
  • Responding to the threat of the NSW General Carrier Contract Determination;
  • Improving driver and animal welfare;
  • Heavy vehicle charging.

ALRTA National President, Kevin Keenan, said that while progress has been made on many fronts, there is still plenty of work to do.

“Over the past few years the ALRTA has been punching well above its weight.  In partnership with government, industry and community stakeholders we have seen off the RSRT, broadened the coverage of chain of responsibility laws to better capture pre-transit livestock preparation, released National Guidelines for Ramps and Forcing Yards, extended the 160km log book exemption to all HVNL states, worked with NHVR to produce the first AFM templates and achieved an exemption from mandatory ABS for trailers operating in off-road conditions,” said President Keenan.

“The ALRTA will build upon this solid foundation during 2016-17.”

“Effluent loss can be a problem for other road users as well as for the transmission of pests and diseases.  We will seek to establish guidance material on how persons preparing livestock for transport can meet their duties under the new chain of responsibility laws.”

“Like many across the industry, the ALRTA is gravely concerned about the prospect of RSRT-like requirements for owner drivers arising from the recent NSW General Carrier Contract Determination.  We will work with other parties across the industry to convince decision-makers that rate setting simply does not work in the rural transport sector.”

“The future of heavy vehicle charging is also high on our agenda.  We can’t just sit back and let Governments continue to overcharge us by more than $200m a year while they beaver away in the background on a new user-pay system that could greatly disadvantage transport operators using second and third tier country roads.  We will work to ensure that we get the best value from our taxes and charges and avoid an overly complex solution to the charging problem,” he said.

ELECTION RESULTS: ALRTA AGM

The ALRTA National Executive was re-elected for a further one year term at the AGM held on 4 August 2016.  Our National Executive is:

  • National President: Kevin Keenan (LRTAV)
  • Vice President: Graeme Hoare (LBCA)
  • Vice President: Stephen Marley (LRTAWA)
  • Treasurer: Ron Pattel (LRTAQ)
  • Secretary: John Beer (LRTAV)
  • ATA Representative: David Smith (LRTASA)
  • Immediate Past President: Grant Robins (LRTAWA)

ELECTION RESULTS: LRTAV AGM

The ALRTA congratulates the following office bearers elected at the LRTAV AGM on 6 August 2016:

  • President: Mick Debenham
  • Vice President: Graham Howell
  • Vice President: David Rogers
  • Treasurer: Trevor Fry
  • Secretary: Peter Sheils
  • Immediate Past President: John Beer


Above: LRTAV President, Mick Debenham (left), and Immediate Past President, John Beer (right).

Posted in ALRTA Weekly News, General News, LBCA, Livestock, LRTAQ, LRTASA, LRTAV, LRTAWA, LTAT, Media Releases, Member Benefits, NHVR, Ramp Plans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on ALRTA News – 12 August 2016

ALRTA News – 28 July 2016

FEDERAL AND STATE TRANSPORT MINISTERS TO ADDRESS JOINT NATIONAL-STATE CONFERENCE

Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) and Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Victoria (LRTAV) are pleased to announce that the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP, and the Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety, the Hon Luke Donnellan MP, will address our joint National-State Annual Conference on Friday, 5 August 2016.

The Conference will be held at the RACV Resort, Torquay, Victoria over 5-6 August 2016.

Other notable speakers include:

  • Federal Nationals Senator for NSW – John Williams;
  • Ex-Federal Independent Senator for Victoria – John Madigan;
  • NHVR CEO – Sal Petroccitto;
  • Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman – Kate Carnell;
  • ATA Chair – Noelene Watson.

ALRTA National President, Kevin Keenan, said that the stellar line up of speakers reflects the importance of rural road transport in supporting the national economy.

“Road transport is typically the first and last link of our agricultural supply chains, bringing vital supplies to our production centres and taking value-added produce to our markets.  Agricultural exports contribute around 20% of total export earnings and the rural freight task comprises up to 20% of all road freight movements”, said President Keenan.

“In agreeing to address delegates at our joint National-State Conference next week, it is clear that Transport Ministers at both the Federal and State levels recognise the vital role that rural road transporters play in connecting our production centres with domestic and international markets”.

“I encourage all rural road transporters and other interested persons to come along to the conference and engage with our speakers and fellow delegates on a range of important matters affecting the safety and viability of our industry”, said President Keenan.

Registration forms can be found here: http://lrtav.com.au/conference/

PHONE BIDS INVITED FOR CONFERENCE AUCTION ITEMS

Thanks to the support of our National and State sponsors, there is a great range of items up for auction at next week’s conference.

If you are in need of particular products or services, why not make a bid on an item?  You might grab a bargain and can help your association at the same time.

You can find the details of the major auction items here.

If you are interested, but can’t make it along, we are happy to take phone bids on the night or you can pre-nominate your limit and we will bid for you.

Please call our National Secretariat and we will record your details and arrange someone to call you when the auction begins.

FEDERAL ELECTION DELIVERS A MAJORITY GOVERNMENT – EVENTUALLY

After one of the longest Federal Election campaigns in Australian history, we had one of the longest waits for a result!   While we are all a little exhausted, Prime Minister Turnbull did eventually achieve a majority government which bodes well for political stability over the next three years.

The Senate is another story entirely and there will be even MORE cross bench Senators than last time around.  Part of the reason for that was the double dissolution which made it easier for smaller parties to achieve a minimum quota for election. I think we will see substantially fewer cross-bench Senators in the next Parliamentary term when only half of the chamber is up for election and the minimum quotas are back at the normal level.

For now at least, the result means that we will not see a return of the RSRT in this term of Parliament.  However, it is not certain that the Turnbull Government will have the support of the Senate to deliver on other important promises such as a cut to the company tax rate or the extension of small business concessions.

Parliament resumes on 30 August 2016.

NHVR OPENS ACCESS PORTAL FOR ALL CUSTOMERS

Following a successful trial of over 1,500 applications, the NHVR will open the new AccessCONNECT Customer Portal to all customers from 1 August 2016.

Portal users will be able to:

  • create and lodge access applications
  • save and re-use their applications
  • save vehicles for use in applications
  • enhanced route planning functionality
  • track their application’s progress
  • view their payment history

The way Road Managers receive access requests from the NHVR is not changing with this rollout of the Customer Portal.   A new Road Manager Portal is expected to begin early system pilots in late 2016.

ALRTA RESPONDS TO PAYGO REVIEW

The ALRTA has made a submission in response to the NTC’s discussion paper on ‘Heavy Vehicle Charges – Options for improving the accuracy and stability of the PAYGO heavy vehicle charges methodology’.

The ALRTA does not support any further change to the PAYGO system at this stage.

Sometimes, you just have to call a spade a spade.  We consider that the perceived problems with the current system are largely motivated by:

  • Government unwillingness to accept the NTC recommendation to decrease registration charges by 6.3% and the fuel levy by 1.14cpl from 1 July 2014;
  • Government preference for ‘balancing the books’ by inflating expenditure inputs without actually spending a greater amount of money than would already be spent in any particular year; and
  • A longer-term government strategy to implement a new heavy vehicle charging system that will directly link forward looking asset capital and operational costs with some form of user-pay charging (e.g. mass-distance-location charging).

During 2012-2014, PAYGO was subject to an extensive review and co-design process which specifically considered the fundamental issues around volatility, predictability, lag, calculation of the cost base and the methodology for allocating costs across the vehicle fleet.

At the time, stakeholders were in general agreement with a range of technical improvements, some of which were implemented as part of the 2016-17 charging determination.

However, Governments have clearly demonstrated an unwillingness to accept any decrease in revenue as the financial price of moving to a fairer and more predictable system.  While we have registered our protest, the fox is still in charge of the hen house, and there is every likelihood that the PAYGO rules will be changed to suit the government agenda.

Meanwhile……….cumulative overcharging of our industry is fast approaching $1b. If they won’t give it back, they should at least commit to spending it on roads or related safety initiatives.

Regulation of Agriculture

The Productivity Commission has released a draft report on the Inquiry into the Regulation of Agriculture.  The ALRTA made a comprehensive submission to the Inquiry in February 2016.

The draft report makes a number of recommendations on farm animal welfare and transport issues that are of particular interest to the ALRTA.

Farm Animal Welfare

  1. The Australian Government should establish an independent body to develop national standards and guidelines for farm animal welfare.
  2. State and Territory Governments should: separate general agriculture and farm animal welfare enforcement activities; publically report on enforcement activities; increase resourcing for enforcement.
  3. State and territory governments should also consider recognising industry quality assurance schemes as a means of achieving compliance with farm animal welfare standards where the scheme seeks to ensure compliance (at a minimum) with standards in law, and involves independent and transparent auditing arrangements.

Road Transport

  1. States and territories that are participating in the Heavy Vehicle National Law should increase the number of routes that are gazetted for heavy vehicle access.
  2. Permits should only be required in locations where there are significant risks to public safety or infrastructure that must be managed on a case‑by‑case basis.
  3. The Australian, state and territory governments should pursue road reforms to improve the efficiency of road infrastructure investment and use, particularly through the introduction of road-user charging for selected roads, the creation of Road Funds, and the hypothecation of revenues in a way that incentivises the efficient supply of roads.

Analysis

The report also found that the RSRT was highly inappropriate and that the operation of the NHVR should be reviewed.  However, the RSRT has since been abolished and the Queensland Auditor-General has recently tabled a comprehensive review of the NHVR.

If contained in the final report, some of these draft recommendations will be extremely useful for pursuing the ALRTA’s safety and productivity agenda.  For example, formal recognition of TruckCare by State and Territory Governments as a means of complying with animal welfare laws would be beneficial, and any reduction in road access permit requirements is always most welcome.

The ALRTA must approach other proposals with caution such as road user charging for ‘selected roads’ and the creation of an independent farm animal welfare body.

The ALRTA will carefully consider the draft report and make a further submission on key matters of interest.

NTI RELEASES FINDINGS OF CRASH STUDY

NTI’s National Truck Accident Research Centre (NTARC) has released findings of the latest study into heavy vehicle crash incidents in Australia.

In this study which continues an ongoing series of investigative research, NTARC has analysed most heavy motor losses, managed by the insurer, over $5000 between 2011 & 2015.

National Director of Research Owen Driscoll, confirmed this morning that this culminated the largest ever study into heavy vehicle incidents across Australia.

‘This analysis reviewed 14,000 incidents where NTI contributed close to $500m over a 5 year period.’ Of course it will be the precursor to the early 2017 release of the 7th in the series of ‘Major Truck Crash Incidents’ over $50,000, which NTARC publishes biennially,’ he said.

‘Whilst we have not reviewed those incidents ‘off the network’ involving farming, mining and earthmoving sectors, this is the first study where we have independently identified specific State results. Furthermore, our research previously has been limited to larger losses and with the focus of this study for generally all on-road losses, the findings are quite interesting.’ Driscoll said.

‘In time a comprehensive research report will be forthcoming, although for now this is a snapshot of the study . . .’

  • 44% of reported incidents were single vehicle accident with the remainder involving individual or multiple third party vehicle(s).
  • in single vehicle crashes, the top (4) predominant causes were identified;
    • inappropriate speed for the prevailing conditions – 14.4%
    • fatigue influenced crashes – 7.4%
    • mechanical, although the majority related to tyre failure & non accident related fires, – 7.2%
    • animal strike – 1 out of every 7 reported single vehicle accident involve hitting animals, mostly cattle & ‘roos; welcome to Australia
  • In multiple vehicle incidents, which accounts for 56%, we found that;
    • on 68% of the reports, the truck was responsible for the loss, although we are reminded that in fatal incidents involving other traffic, the lighter vehicle is usually held to account.
    • 34% of the incidents involved the heavy vehicle impacting the rear of the other vehicle.
    • 14% where the insured unit struck third parties when changing lanes.
    • 11% in cases where the driver of the heavy vehicle failed to give wa
  • In reported losses involving mechanical & vehicle operating issues:
    • tyre failure due to over or under inflation, heat, road conditions or defects accounted for 32% of reported incidents with consequential vehicle damage.
    • 1 in every 5 losses on this issue were contributed to truck or trailer fires, with the seat causal factor usually wiring & electrical.
    • there is an increasing trend in turntable / ring failure due to incorrect coupling, higher stress factors associated with increased capacity of dog trailers and general maintenance to cover wear & tear. This accounted for 17% of associated mechanical issues.
    • Losses attributed to brake & steering failure were inconsequential
  • Otherwise it was established that;
    • in States such as NSW & Victoria where traffic density is proportionately higher, we experienced more incidents involving third parties,
    • for example; leading to a crash incident rate of 1 loss per 37 items insured in NSW, in contrast to the Northern Territory where it was 1 incident for every 66 items. Suffice to say though, the average cost of losses in the NT was substantially greater.
    • as is the case with the Major Crash studies, most incidents occur on outbound journeys from home base and usually early in the week.
    • whilst December was consistently the quietest month, there was no specific month that was noted as any worse than the other
  • And when it came to the average ages of drivers involved, :
    • the oldest come from Queensland and the youngest from the NT.
    • overall nationally, the average age was 45 years 248 days.
    • 40% were over the age of 50 years with 1 in every 4.2 drivers in the study were over 55.
    • those under 25 years recorded 4% of losses, not indicative of the quality of their driving but rather indicative of the fact that proportionally this industry does not attract many from this age group.

Media enquiries can be directed to Owen Driscoll NTI’s National Manager Industry Relations & National Director of truck accident research.

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Weekly News – 15 July 2016

ALRTA PRESENTS AT COSBOA SMALL BUSINESS SUMMIT

Last week the ALRTA Executive Director made a joint presentation with the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) at the COSBOA Small Business Summit in Brisbane.

The topic was ‘RSRT Case Study – How NOT to deal with Small Business’.

Really, we couldn’t have asked for an easier topic.  Our recent experience with the highly inappropriate operation of the RSRT gave us plenty of examples of woeful consultation practices.  The hard part was fitting in all of the material in a 30min presentation.

The presentation was an excellent opportunity for the ALRTA to highlight the importance of not bringing back the RSRT directly to the leaders of hundreds of small business associations and several high ranking Federal politicians – not to mention the ASBFEO Ombudsman who is currently preparing a report to Government on this very topic

AUDITOR-GENERAL REPORTS ON NHVR ACCESS REFORMS

The Queensland Auditor-General has released a report on ‘Heavy Vehicle Road Access Reforms’ which examines how well the NHVR has addressed the root causes of the access management system failure and whether it is on track to deliver its access management responsibilities.

Here is the report’s conclusion:

Industry operators across participating states and territories continue to face inconsistent processes and decisions for getting a heavy vehicle permit, and the industry has yet to obtain any substantial benefit from the new law with regard to access permit management. More than two years after ‘go live’ the NHVR has not implemented a fully effective one-stop-shop for access management.

From early 2013 until February 2014, the NHVR had invested $9.3 million in its access management system, but during 2014–15, it processed only about 12 per cent of the heavy vehicle permit volumes across participating states and territories.

Even when the NHVR addresses the current access management process and system issues, this will only deliver the benefits expected of the reforms if
the NHVR, state, territory and local government road managers work effectively together to implement the HVNL. This area requires more attention.

However, the NHVR Board and management have learnt from their mistakes — they now engage better with their stakeholders and have changed their project management approach, releasing system changes in stages after much planning and testing.

This demonstrates the NHVR’s commitment not to repeat the same problems. But some stakeholders remain concerned about the NHVR’s ability to deliver access management efficiently and effectively.  They perceive that the pace of change and system rectification is too slow, and that there has been insufficient communication with them.

From the ALRTA’s perspective, this conclusion comes as no surprise.  However, there is no point in attributing blame for the initial failure, we need to focus on what is being done to fix the problem.  Yes, progress has been slow, but NHVR are consulting with us and we can ill-afford a repeat of the previous disaster. Better to get it right than get it quickly.

The audit also makes several recommendations relating to improved budgeting; monitoring of reasons for access refusal; targeted assistance for local governments and, most importantly, making sure that Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads is supporting the NHVR to meet the objectives of the HVNL.

These are reasonable recommendations but some elements could go further.  For example, the ALRTA would like to see the NHVR publish an annual report on the reasons for refusal, along with an assessment of whether or not the reasons given are in line with the relevant Ministerial Guidelines.  Also, it is worth noting that the audit report recognises that the 28 day statutory time frame for permit approvals is a significant problem.

GCCD COVERAGE NARROWS

The Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) NSW Branch advised the ALRTA this week that the extended coverage of the NSW General Carriers Contract Determination (GCCD) to include all owner-driver contracts throughout NSW provides specific exemptions for the transportation of livestock and primary produce.

In a statement by ARTIO, clarification is given that Section 309 (4) (f) and (h) of the NSW Industrial Relations Act 1996 rules out livestock and primary produce moved to/from a farm.

ARTIO further inform that specialised vehicles including work carried out by vehicles such as tippers, tankers, low loaders and car carriers (unless the vehicle carries goods other than those for which the vehicle is intended) seem to be excluded from the coverage also though general freight not destined to a farm appears to be affected.

For the majority in our industry this is welcomed news.  We will keep you updated on any relevant development –  Bec Coleman, LBCA

LRTAWA ANNUAL CONFERENCE

The ALRTA National President and Executive Director attended the LRTAWA Annual Conference held in Bunbury, 1-2 July 2016.

The Conference held against the backdrop of the Federal Election.  Local Candidate and Federal Coalition Whip, the Hon. Nola Marino MP, popped in to address the Conference in between campaigning around the electorate polling booths. Nola Marino was a champion of the rural trucking sector throughout the RSRT abolition campaign and continues to passionately support a strong and viable future for rural transport operators.

The traditional ‘Talbot (Mark) & Power (Darren)’ duo was most entertaining over the weekend.  As if the family wasn’t already talented enough, along came another singing, guitar playing, joke telling, whip cracking Talbot (Ben) to MC the gala dinner.

One very interesting announcement made during the conference sessions was that Main Roads WA will now be taking on a ‘one stop shop’ function for all permit applications.  I am hoping that the Department has taken notice of the QLD Auditor General’s report on how the NHVR has performed in that very same function!

ALRTA congratulates the LRTAWA Executive elected at the AGM:

  • President: Stephen Marley
  • Vice President (bulk): Darren Power
  • Vice President (livestock): Shannon Dawson
  • Treasurer: Mark Sullivan

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ALRTA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR  ON LEAVE

The ALRTA Executive Director will be on leave from Monday, 11 July 2016, returning to the office on Monday, 25 July 2016.

For urgent enquiries please contact Tracy Fairhall on (02) 6247 5434 or office@alrta.org.au

REMINDER: ALRTA NOTICE OF AGM AND COUNCIL MEETING

Members are advised of the upcoming ALRTA AGM and Council Meeting on Thursday, 4 August 2016, at the RACV Torquay Resort, 1 Great Ocean Road, Torquay, Victoria.

Details are:

  • 3:00pm: Council Meeting
  • 7:30pm: Annual General Meeting

For more details please contact the ALRTA Secretariat.

REMINDER: JOINT LRTAV / NATIONAL CONFERENCE

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The Joint LRTAV – National Conference will be held 5-6 August 2016 at the RACV Resort in Torquay. Why not give yourselves a break and enjoy the magnificent facilities at Torquay whilst meeting people from other states and helping to support the LRTAV and ALRTA as we enter into a new era with a new Government!

Friday sees the conference kick 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 80’s 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.

Don’t miss out on this informative conference, or opportunity to soak up the beauty of the Great Ocean Road!

Register here

 

Posted in General News | Comments Off on Weekly News – 15 July 2016