Weekly News – ALRTA urges fair decision on charging

ALRTA URGES FAIR DECISION ON CHARGING

The ALRTA urges Transport Ministers to make a fair decision on heavy vehicle charges to apply from 1 July 2016.

The decision will be made at the Australian Transport and Infrastructure Ministerial Council on Friday, 6 November 2015.

ALRTA National President Kevin Keenan said a fair decision was important for maintaining trust in the PAYGO system and for incentivising government investment in road infrastructure.

“NTC modelling demonstrates that operators are currently over-charged by around $200m annually.  These charges hurt transport operators and increase costs for all other businesses that rely on our services”, said President Keenan.

“We are happy to pay our fair share but the over-charging must stop”, he said.

PAYGO is an agreed cost recovery model though which government expenditure on road infrastructure and services attributable to the heavy vehicle sector is recovered though vehicle registration and fuel-based charges.

In 2014, the NTC discovered flaws in the PAYGO model and recommended that Ministers decrease registration charges by 6.3% and the fuel levy by 1.14cpl from 1 July 2014.  Instead, Ministers agreed to delay implementation of the new charging methodology until 1 July 2016.

“Industry is aware that Ministers are now actively considering alternative options, some of which would further delay a return to fair cost recovery principles.  We have already had a two year delay, which is more than enough time for governments to adjust to a fairer charging system”, said President Keenan.

“Further delays would be nothing more than a blatant opportunistic tax grab”.

“I also understand that government expenditure on road infrastructure has actually decreased during the past two years of continued over-charging.  This just shows that if charges are not pegged against expenditure from 1 July 2016 we can expect to see further deferment of government spending until fair cost recovery is restored – and then there is every chance that we will end up paying for those delayed projects twice”.

“There is only one fair decision that can be made by responsible governments under an agreed cost recovery model.  We must return to fair cost recovery principles from 1 July 2016 and all over-recovered monies should be returned to industry by maintaining charges at a suitable under-recovery rate until charging neutrality is restored”, he said.

UPDATE ON DRAFT REMUNERATION ORDER

Following on from the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal hearings into the draft remuneration order on minimum payments for contractor drivers 22-25 October 2015, the Tribunal has issued a new direction seeking submissions on the values of individual inputs in their costing model.

Submissions must be made by 13 November 2015 with further submissions in reply due by 25 November 2015.

ABS REPORT ON ROAD FREIGHT MOVEMENTS

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released a new report showing the first snapshot of road freight movements in 13 years.

Over the past two years with the ALRTA I have regularly heard suggestions that the livestock and rural sector represents just 4% of the total road freight task.  The new report clearly demonstrates that this is simply not the case.

Combined, the three categories of livestock, cereal grains and fertilisers make up more than 7% of the total task.  However, there are many other relevant categories that can’t be separated from the data.  For example, this total does not include hay, silage, pellets, molasses, seeds, milk, wool, hides, cotton, fruits, vegetables, water, farm chemicals, farm machinery or general farm supplies.

Whatever the actual total is, one thing is abundantly clear: the livestock and rural sector makes up far more than 4% of the road transport task – 15% would be a much more realistic figure.

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ONE METRE CYCLIST OVERTAKING RULE INTRODUCED IN SA

A new ‘One Metre Rule’ for motorists overtaking cyclists on the road will come into effect in South Australia on October 25.

“Under the changes, motorists will be required to keep at least 1 metre from a cyclist when the speed limit is 60km/h or under, and at least 1.5 metres when the speed limit is over 60km/h,” SA Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Stephen Mullighan said.

“If a driver has a clear view of any approaching traffic and can do so safely they will be allowed to drive to the right of the road and cross double lines to overtake a cyclist.

The ‘One Metre Rule’ is already operational in Queensland, and is being considered for introduction in the ACT, Victoria and Western Australia.

Cycling will also be permitted on footpaths for all cyclists, however cyclists will still be required to ride in a bike lane where one is provided. Mr Mullighan said cyclists also need to do the right thing when out on our roads.

“Drivers often get frustrated when they see cyclists flouting the road rules; we want to remind cyclists they need to obey laws and if they don’t they will be fined and incur demerit points,” Mr Mullighan said.

NHVR BOARD REAPPOINTED FOR SECOND TERM

The ALRTA congratulates the NHVR board of directors which has been re-appointed for a second three year term.

The Board is chaired by the Hon. Bruce Baird AM, with Peter Garkse CEO of the Queensland Trucking Association taking up the role as Deputy Chair for this term.

Other board members include NRMA Motoring & Services Director, Coral Taylor; OH&S, IR and public administration expert, Robin Stewart-Crompton; and senior business leader and Chair of Business South Australia, Vincent Tremaine.

NHVR Chief Executive Officer, Sal Petroccitto said the re-appointment sends a strong message of support for the Regulator and its reform agenda.

However, while continuity is important, we feel that the Board make-up could have been enhanced with the appointment of an additional member with broad experience as a road transport operator.

ATA ISSUES ADVICE ON WHEEL SECURITY

The ATA has published a revised and updated version of its Technical Advisory Procedure [PDF] on wheel end security, developed by its Industry Technical Council.

ATA CEO Chris Melham said wheel security was an essential safety issue for every trucking operator and workshop. “Safety must always be our first priority. A poorly secured wheel can cause component damage and may even result in wheel loss, which is a danger to everyone on the road,” Chris said.

“This advisory procedure provides best-practice advice and extensive technical information on every aspect of wheel security, covering the types of wheels used, removal and installation procedures, checking the wheel assembly and manufacturer torque recommendations.

“Drivers should also be made aware of how they can check wheel integrity during a journey. The advisory procedure includes advice on how to perform these inspections, as well as a guide to help drivers estimate tightening torque when changing wheels out on the road.

“This guidance means that drivers can have confidence in the safety of a changed wheel until they can get back to the workshop.” 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. The procedures are available for free from the ATA’s online resource library.

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