Counting time: Victoria and South Australia get ready to deliver

As we come up to the five month anniversary of the 20 May 2011 Ministerial Council decision to fix the counting time problem, officials in both Victoria and South Australia are well aware that the spotlight is on them to get the laws fixed in both States.

We’ve asked Ministers in both States to make sure that their officials get the change made in less than six months from the date of the decision: there’s one month to go!

The key officials have recently had some good things to say about how their work is progressing. Pleasingly, they’re making a real effort to deliver the change with little or no gap in timing between the two States.

… while the NTC looks at further finetuning

Meanwhile, honouring a promise that was made to Ministers on 20 May, the NTC has started some work to think about whether any further finetuning to the counting time provisions might be needed sometime in the future.

The NTC invited both industry and State Governments to a meeting on this issue in October and it was good to see that the NTC has re-discovered the benefits of having both sides in the one room at the same time. For fatigue management legislation, it’s absolutely essential that there’s an opportunity to truly understand what each person is saying.

Both the NTC and the State Government officers were very clear that the discussion about whether any finetuning might be needed in the future has no bearing on implementing the decision from 20 May.

One of the truly interesting discoveries coming out of this meeting was just how closely the NTC’s ‘fatigue experts’ have been studying the WA fatigue management scheme and how positively they were talking about many of its features.

It gives some real hope for how our calls for a more flexible and realistic fatigue management scheme for rural and regional Australian might work out – more on that in the next News.

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