Weekly News – NHVR delivers 1st Livestock AFM template, 2015-16 freeze on Road User Charge

NHVR DELIVERS FIRST LIVESTOCK AFM TEMPLATE

The ALRTA welcomes this week’s announcement by the NHVR of the first AFM template for livestock transporters – to be available on the NHVR website from 1 July 2015.

The template allows accredited drivers to work 14hr days each day over a fortnightly cycle with ‘risk-offsetting’ restrictions around driving between midnight and 4am.  Drivers will have flexibility around when they can take a minimum of two 24hr breaks over a 14 day period – either together or separately.

ALRTA Vice President Graeme Hoare commended the cooperative approach taken by NHVR to improve the operating environment for livestock transporters.

“NHVR staff have worked closely with ALRTA member operators to understand our driving task and the parallel animal welfare requirements that apply,” said Vice President Hoare.

“The template will deliver much needed flexibility for livestock transporters to complete their often unpredictable tasks in remote environments and take better quality rest at more convenient times and locations. This will improve productivity, driver safety and animal welfare outcomes in the Australian livestock supply chain,” he said.

AFM templates are a whole new approach to AFM entry under the Heavy Vehicle National Law.  Standardised templates allow the fatigue risks to be considered ‘up front’ so that individual operators do not each have to present their own safety case.  This greatly reduces the cost and red-tape associated with an AFM application.

Real world data supplied to the NHVR by the ALRTA, and assessed by fatigue experts, has demonstrated that the Livestock Template is low risk when the appropriate risk offsets are applied.

Vice President Hoare said that he expected the template to be popular with livestock transporters.

“There are many operators who are interested in the AFM option but who have been deterred by the previous complex and expensive application system,” said Vice President Hoare.

“The template package is easy to understand and will be a simple transition for operators already accredited under BFM.  New entrants will also be greatly assisted by the package of supporting information that clearly outlines the operational requirements and how to meet them,” he said.

The ALRTA is continuing to work with the NHVR to broaden the scope of the new template to include all types of rural transport and to develop additional templates suitable for longer work days or the pooling of hours across multiple days.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FREEZES RUC FOR 2015-16

The ALRTA applauds the decision by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss to freeze the heavy vehicle Road User Charge (RUC) at the current rate of 26.14 cents per litre for the 2015-16 financial year.

Earlier this year, the National Transport Commission had recommended that registration and fuel charges be increased by 0.6 per cent.

National President of the ALRTA, Mr Grant Robins, said that Deputy Prime Minister Truss has listened to the concerns of rural and regional transport operators and made a sensible decision.

“This decision is great news for all transport operators and rural and regional economies,” said President Robins.

“While State and Territory Governments have gone ahead and increased heavy vehicle registration charges in line with the NTC’s recommendation, the Federal Government has done the right thing by industry and frozen the RUC at the current level for another year,” he said.

In 2014, the Australian Transport and Infrastructure Ministerial Council acknowledged that the PAYGO methodology was significantly over-recovering monies from the heavy vehicle sector and collectively agreed to implement a revised methodology from 2016-17.

The NTC recommendation to increase charges by 0.6 per cent in 2015-16 was based on out-dated charging methodology still contained in the Model Heavy Vehicle Charges Act 2007.

President Robins said that the charging freeze will help to reduce the level of overcharging that would otherwise have occurred.

“It is a sad fact that Australian Governments have chosen to continue overcharging industry for the past two years – by more than $200m during 2013-14 and $117m in 2014-15,” said President Robins.

“The Federal Government charging freeze means that $11m will now stay in the pockets of transport operators where it belongs,” he said.

The ALRTA sought a charging freeze in a submission to the NTC in April 2015 and in formal correspondence to all Australian Transport Ministers in May 2015.

POLITICAL DEAL TO CONTINUE FUEL INDEXATION

This week the Federal Government and Opposition struck a deal to introduce new legislation giving certainty to the continuation of fuel tax indexation that was introduced under temporary tariff arrangements on 30 October 2014.

The deal will see an extra $1.1 billion in road funding delivered to local governments under the Federal Roads to Recovery Program over the next two years. It is predicted that indexation will raise an additional $23 billion over the next decade which will also be spent on road infrastructure projects.

Heavy vehicle transport operators are not affected by indexation because fuel tax credits automatically increase with each adjustment.  However, if legislation is not passed before 30 October 2015, trucking businesses would have to repay the additional fuel tax credits received over the previous 12 months – so the deal is very welcome news indeed!

HEALTHY HEART – EXCLUSIVE MEMBER FACT SHEET

ALRTA has today released an exclusive member fact sheet on heart health and how to reduce your risk of heart disease. To obtain a copy, please contact either your state association or the ALRTA National Secretariat.

Developed in partnership with the Heart Foundation, ALRTA National President, Grant Robins, said the fact sheet provided drivers with pointers to help reduce their risk of heart disease, as well as essential knowledge on how to recognise a heart attack.

“More than a million Australians between the ages of 30 and 65 are at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke, but they may not even know it,” President Robins said.

“By raising awareness of the risks and knowing how to identify the signs of a heart attack in yourself or others, we can make a real difference to health outcomes for these people.”

2013 National Professional Driver of the Year Robert Schalkwyk urged drivers not to take their health for granted, following his own close brush with heart disease last year.

“I was having a company medical, where they picked up a heart murmur – probably harmless, but I was told to go get it checked out just in case. I had an ultrasound, where they found out I was having problems with my heart valves,” he said.

“Long story short, I ended up having open heart surgery in April last year.

“I’d felt a bit tired, but that was about it. I’ve always tried to take care of myself, but it was a genetic thing that couldn’t be avoided.

“In hospital, I really noticed the difference my general fitness made after the operation. Others in the same position were really struggling, particularly if they were smokers or carrying a bit of extra weight.

“When I walked out of the ward three days after my open heart surgery, they were taking another bloke back to the ICU. I don’t want to see one of my workmates go through that.

“I thank God that those medicals are in place. We have these facilities, and I urge all drivers to use them and take them seriously. Don’t just think ‘she’ll be right’.

“But general health and fitness is just as important too. We have meetings and seminars on workplace safety all the time. We need to start treating driver health the same way.

“Last year, I was given six months to live. Today, I’m back in full time employment. It’s a lot better than the alternative.”

The fact sheets will continue to be released to ALRTA members throughout 2015, each focusing on a new health topic.

NATIONAL CONFERENCE 

A reminder that you still have time to register for the ALRTA/LRTAWA joint National / State Conference to be held in Bunbury WA 3-4 July 2015.  We are planning a special night on Friday, 3 July, to celebrate our 30th Anniversary and we invite all members past and present to join us!

For registration information please visit: http://www.lrtawa.org.au/events

Our national sponsors have very kindly donated some great auction items, with the sale proceeds supporting our national association.

The big ticket auction item at ALRTA National Conference is a 15L, 525 Hp Cummins ISX EGR Engine. It’s a proven base engine design with leading engine breaking performance. It has dual overhead camshafts and uses the Cummins HPI fuel system known for its proven reliability. View the full specs here.

Beaurepaires have also donated a full B Double set of high mileage tyres and BP have provided a 16GB mini ipad.

Please contact the secretariat if you’d like more details or want to place a bid by phone.

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