Weekly News – BP Sponsorship, ATA Board meet, ALRTA Animal Welfare Committee

BP SPONSORSHIP EXTENDED FOR THREE YEARS

The ALRTA is very pleased to announce that BP will support your association as a Platinum National Sponsor for the next three years.

BP has already been a strong supporter of the ALRTA over the past three years. Our members have enjoyed generous discounts at the pump and the ALRTA has received a direct financial contribution which has supported our national policy and advocacy program.

During the next three years, members will receive an even greater discount at the pump at an expanded number of BP sites.  The direct support provided to our Secretariat will also be increased.  Stay tuned for more news on the improved discounts from March 2016!

Recently, ALRTA welcomed BP representatives Bruce Jones (BP General Manager – Regional & Transport) and Vanda Power (BP Business Development Manager) to our Canberra headquarters.  It was great to hear that BP highly values our sponsorship arrangement and are continuing to enhance their capacity to service the rural and regional transport sector.

The ALRTA thanks BP for their ongoing support and we ask our members to show their appreciation by using quality BP products in their businesses.

ATA BOARD AND COUNCIL MEET

The final ATA Board and Council meetings for 2015 took place in Canberra this week.

The ATA budget outlook remains healthy and upgrades to the ATA headquarters are progressing well.  The ATA has expanded its membership with the approval of an application by the Tasmanian Transport Association (TTA).  TTA has a 60 year history and was previously a member of the ATA until 2008.  There are 40 financial members of TTA, some with 100s of trucks.

One very significant development was an ATA Council agreement that, under some circumstances, the ATA may deal with the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).  Over the past two years, many ALRTA members have been asking me “where is the ATA?” in this space.

The simple answer is that the ATA does not deal in industrial relations matters. The ATA represents the whole of industry and there are inherent conflicts when the interests of employees are weighed against the interests of employers.  However, although the RSRT was created under industrial relations law, it also deals with issues relating to safety and business to business transactions.

For example, the RSRT has already mandated safe driving plans for long distance drivers and requires payment of undisputed amounts to contractors within 30 days.  The ATA has a legitimate interest in these types of issues and would no doubt have plenty to say if proposed by the NTC, NHVR or ACCC.

For this reason, the ALRTA tabled a motion at the ATA Council meeting which does two things:

  • It formally restricts the ATA from dealing with the RSRT on matters relating to employee pay and conditions; but
  • Enables the ATA, with the support of Council, to deal with the RSRT on other matters for example relating to safety or contractor issues.

The motion was passed unanimously.  This agreement opens the door for a more coordinated industry approach to the RSRT in future.

Other issues discussed included: endorsement of the ATA Strategic Plan 2016-18; agreement to establish an industry National Permits Working Group; NHVR Priorities; and outcomes from the recent Transport and Infrastructure Ministerial Council meeting.

ALRTA ANIMAL WELFARE COMMITTEE

The ALRTA National Animal Welfare Committee met this week via teleconference.  As usual, there were plenty of issues to discuss.

We are continuing our campaign to extend the opening hours of export receival facilities to promote the best animal welfare outcome for inbound stock. The Federal Department of Agriculture has recognised that restricted hours are causing problems for transport operators and is seeking to broker a better outcome with registered export premises.

ALRTA has agreed to send a delegation on the invitation of the Regional Livestock Exchange Trust to talk about safety and welfare at their six saleyard facilities on the east coast. It is great to see this saleyard operator being so proactive about their obligations.

As regular readers would know, the ALRTA has released our national loading ramps guide this year and we have been publicising it every chance we get.  One of the more controversial options that our committee is now considering is a ‘user-pay’ system so we can more rapidly encourage upgrades at major commercial facilities.

The key question is, “would you be prepared to pay $5 to have access to a state-of-the-art double deck ramp and perhaps a mobile catwalk that would come alongside your crate and give you safe access to all decks”?  This might save you quite a lot of time and maybe even a ride in a helicopter.  Arguably, however, these are things that should be provided free of charge by the facility operator.  But realistically, how long can we afford to wait?

NHVR INDUSTRY REFERENCE GROUP

The ALRTA attended a meeting of the NHVR Industry Reference Group (IRG) in Canberra this week.  The IRG focuses on ‘bigger picture’ strategic direction and is the highest level industry advisory body to the NHVR.

IRG members were pleased to be informed that representatives from the National Farmers Federation and police have been invited to join the group.  From our perspective, these are welcome additions because very often ALRTA issues cut across these stakeholders.

A broad range of issues were discussed at the IRG including resourcing; cost-recovery; priorities; and communications. While I am unable to disclose the detail of IRG discussions, I can say that the IRG is a very useful forum for openly discussing NHVR operations with the CEO and senior management.

BE SUN SMART

To coincide with Skin Cancer Action Week this week, the ALRTA has re-issued its exclusive member fact sheet on sun safety and skin cancer prevention.

Developed in partnership with the Cancer Council Australia, the fact sheet outlines methods operators can use to protect their workers from excess UV exposure, and signs that people should look out for when it comes to skin changes. The fact sheet was first released for Skin Cancer Action Week last year.

ALRTA National President, Kevin Keenan, said the fact sheet could be used as the basis of a staff toolbox talk, as well as posted on a staff notice board.

“Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. It’s no surprise that outdoor workers, including many in the transport industry, who spend long periods of time working in the sun have a higher risk of skin cancer,” President Keenan said.

“However, the vast majority of skin cancers are preventable. We encourage operators to use the advice in this fact sheet to protect their workers from the effects of the sun this summer, and to share the information across their business.”

To obtain a copy of the fact sheet please contact the ALRTA or your state member association secretariat.

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