Weekly News – 17 June 2016

LABOR CLARIFIES FUTURE OF RSRT

Next week, the ALRTA will bring you our ‘Federal Election Special Edition’ newsletter in which we will provide you with an overview of the important policy positions of major parties vying to form government after the Federal Election on 2 July 2016.

As you already know, it has been broadly reported that a Shorten Labor Government will bring back the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.

The ALRTA has focused our efforts on writing to all Labor, Greens and Independent candidates, and meeting directly with key Labor decision makers on the RSRT issue.

This week, ALRTA received a formal letter for response from the Information Services Unit of the Australian Labor Campaign Headquarters.

We thought you might like to read it for yourself ahead of our analysis in next week’s newsletter.

You can download it here

LET YOUR LOCAL CANDIDATES KNOW WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THE POSSIBLE RETURN OF THE RSRT

Labor has made their formal policy on the RSRT clear in their formal correspondence to ALRTA.

However, there are a lot of individuals that make up the Federal Parliament and we may yet finish up with yet another minority government after the election.  Remember that there is both a double dissolution AND new voting rules – so nothing is a certainty.

That is why it is important for you to make your views about the possible return of the RSRT known to your local candidates now – before any possible negotiations to form a government begin.

If you can spare 15 minutes of your time you can help make a difference.

The ALRTA encourages you, and those who depend on your business, to send an email to your local Labor, Greens or Independent candidates in the next two critical weeks outlining the impact that the RSRT had on your business and why you don’t want it back again.

Some key points you may consider covering include (where applicable):

  • You are an owner driver or a hirer that was affected by the 2016 RSRT Order (or that you were unsure if you were affected);
  • You do not believe that minimum rates and more red tape will improve safety;
  • The Order meant that you could no longer compete on an equal footing with larger companies with employee drivers;
  • You were told that you would no longer have work when the Order commenced;
  • You were no longer able to use affected sub-contractors when the order commenced;
  • You had trouble accessing finance or selling used vehicles;
  • You had pre-existing equipment finance or other loan commitments that needed to be serviced and you did not have enough time to make necessary adjustments.

If you have a little more time to spend on the letter, you might also consider these points:

  • Outline the specific impacts that the Order had on your business;
  • Independent businesses should be free to set their own rates;
  • The Order was too complex to fully understand and you found it difficult to find information on the Fair Work Ombudsman website;
  • The 2016 Payments Order did not account for common situations such as part loads; multiple-hirers; or back loading;
  • The Tribunal did not attempt to consult with operators in regional areas;
  • The RSRT commissioners treated owner drivers with contempt and did not listen to their legitimate concerns;
  • The RSRT was more inclined to listen to unions and big business about what was best for owner drivers;
  • The rate of fatal articulated truck crashes fell by 80% between 1982 and 2015;
  • Crash rates have continued to improve even while real freight charges have been declining;
  • There is no significant difference in crash rates for owner drivers vs employee drivers;
  • The truck driver is not at fault in 84% of crashes involving a truck and another vehicle.

Here is how to find the email address of your local candidates:

You will need to investigate independent candidates individually, but if they are already a sitting member or senator you can find their details here: http://www.aph.gov.au/

CHANGES TO NHVR FEES

From 1 July 2016 most fees administered by the NHVR will remain the same. However, operators should be aware of the following two changes.

  1. Access amendment applications – Applications for access permit amendments will attract a $70 fee. This brings the NHVR in line with the policies and charges of states and territories. An applicant will need to pay a $70 fee and submit a new application for assessment to:
  • amend areas or routes
  • amend road or travel conditions (time/date)
  • change mass/dimension.

The only amendments that will not attract a fee are to add/remove a registration number (for the same vehicle specification) or to change a company trading name/details.

  1. National Driver Work Diary – Transport Ministers from across Australia approved a new nationally agreed price of $25 for work diaries in order to move to full cost recovery for the 2016-17 financial year.

The new price for work diaries will cover the nationwide cost of printing and distribution for all states and territories. The price increase does not affect any other aspect of the purchase process or the locations a driver can purchase a work diary.

More information on the National Driver Work Diary, including locations to purchase can be found at www.nhvr.gov.au/workdiary

HVNL PENALTIES TO INCREASE WITH CPI

The Heavy Vehicle National Law contains provisions for mandatory annual indexation of penalties linked to national CPI, which occurs automatically on 1 July each year.

A summary of the new penalty and infringement amounts for 2016/17 can be found at www.nhvr.gov.au/penalties

NHVR CONSULTING ON OSOM EXEMPTION NOTICES

The NHVR is seeking feedback from affected operators on proposed new Multi-State Class 1 Load Carrying Vehicles Mass and Dimension Exemption Notices.

These Dimension and Mass Exemption Notices are intended to replace the existing annual permits for Class 1 Load Carrying Oversize and Over Mass (OSOM) vehicles in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.

Once implemented, the Notices allow will OSOM operators instant access to the network that was afforded under the annual permit schemes, without having to wait for a permit. www.nhvr.gov.au/news/2016/06/10/nhvr-seeks-feedback-on-new-notices

Before these notices are finalised the NHVR is seeking feedback from all operators who may be affected. Feedback can be provided until Friday 24 June 2016 at nhvr.news@nhvr.gov.au

You can find the notices here:

NHVR ACCESS CONNECT TRIAL

NHVR has commenced a staged rollout of the AccessCONNECT online permit application system.

Once an account has been set up, the system will streamline the permit application process and provide increased flexibility, transparency and traceability.

NHVR is currently seeking additional participants for the first stage rollout.  If you are interested, please contact the ALRTA office and we will assist you to sign up.

QUAD BIKE SAFETY

Quad bikes are a lot of fun and for many in rural Australia they are an essential working vehicle.  Luckily, the farm I grew up on was relatively flat so we never had a major incident.  Two years ago though on a trip to NZ, I hired a more powerful version for ride along the beach and a bit of a sneaky up the sand hills behind.  Suffice to say a bit of grassy ground gave way unexpectedly and I rolled it down the side of a dune into a ditch – but jumped clear and had a lucky escape.

Others are not so lucky.  Safe Work Australia keeps tabs on quad bike fatalities on their ‘quad watch’ page.  There were 22 fatalities last year, with ages ranging from 6yo to 85yo.

My parents never stopped going on about being careful on the quad bike.  If you need to make someone in your life take notice then perhaps send them to this website:  http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/whs-information/agriculture/quad-watch/pages/quad-bike-fatalities#2016

Something that jumps out at you immediately is that most of the fatalities were not wearing helmets.

The NSW Government has launched a $2m package with $500 individual rebates to encourage riders to replace quad bikes with safer vehicles like side-by-side vehicles, fit them with operator protective devices, buy helmets or undertake training courses. More information here: http://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/

REMINDER: UPCOMING EVENTS

There are several important events coming up in the next two months, including:

Trucking Australia Conference

The ATA’s premier annual event ‘Trucking Australia 2016’ will be held 23-25 June 2016 at the new Sea World Resort Conference Centre, Gold Coast, QLD.  The program is a mix of entertainment and business activities featuring a keynote address by the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Kenworth Legends Luncheon, contracts master class and the National Trucking Industry Awards.

Register here

The LRTAWA Annual State Conference will be held 1-2 July 2016 at the Light House Beach Resort in Bunbury. On Friday there will be a demonstration of drug and alcohol testing equipment and a ‘sundowner’ meal including mini-auction.  The Conference Sessions are on Saturday followed by a Gala Dinner and Auction.

Register here

Joint LRTAV / National Conference

The Joint LRTAV – National Conference will be held 5-6 August 2016 at the RACV Resort in Torquay. Friday kicks 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 80s 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.

Register here

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