ALRTA News – 28 July 2016

FEDERAL AND STATE TRANSPORT MINISTERS TO ADDRESS JOINT NATIONAL-STATE CONFERENCE

Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) and Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Victoria (LRTAV) are pleased to announce that the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP, and the Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety, the Hon Luke Donnellan MP, will address our joint National-State Annual Conference on Friday, 5 August 2016.

The Conference will be held at the RACV Resort, Torquay, Victoria over 5-6 August 2016.

Other notable speakers include:

  • Federal Nationals Senator for NSW – John Williams;
  • Ex-Federal Independent Senator for Victoria – John Madigan;
  • NHVR CEO – Sal Petroccitto;
  • Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman – Kate Carnell;
  • ATA Chair – Noelene Watson.

ALRTA National President, Kevin Keenan, said that the stellar line up of speakers reflects the importance of rural road transport in supporting the national economy.

“Road transport is typically the first and last link of our agricultural supply chains, bringing vital supplies to our production centres and taking value-added produce to our markets.  Agricultural exports contribute around 20% of total export earnings and the rural freight task comprises up to 20% of all road freight movements”, said President Keenan.

“In agreeing to address delegates at our joint National-State Conference next week, it is clear that Transport Ministers at both the Federal and State levels recognise the vital role that rural road transporters play in connecting our production centres with domestic and international markets”.

“I encourage all rural road transporters and other interested persons to come along to the conference and engage with our speakers and fellow delegates on a range of important matters affecting the safety and viability of our industry”, said President Keenan.

Registration forms can be found here: http://lrtav.com.au/conference/

PHONE BIDS INVITED FOR CONFERENCE AUCTION ITEMS

Thanks to the support of our National and State sponsors, there is a great range of items up for auction at next week’s conference.

If you are in need of particular products or services, why not make a bid on an item?  You might grab a bargain and can help your association at the same time.

You can find the details of the major auction items here.

If you are interested, but can’t make it along, we are happy to take phone bids on the night or you can pre-nominate your limit and we will bid for you.

Please call our National Secretariat and we will record your details and arrange someone to call you when the auction begins.

FEDERAL ELECTION DELIVERS A MAJORITY GOVERNMENT – EVENTUALLY

After one of the longest Federal Election campaigns in Australian history, we had one of the longest waits for a result!   While we are all a little exhausted, Prime Minister Turnbull did eventually achieve a majority government which bodes well for political stability over the next three years.

The Senate is another story entirely and there will be even MORE cross bench Senators than last time around.  Part of the reason for that was the double dissolution which made it easier for smaller parties to achieve a minimum quota for election. I think we will see substantially fewer cross-bench Senators in the next Parliamentary term when only half of the chamber is up for election and the minimum quotas are back at the normal level.

For now at least, the result means that we will not see a return of the RSRT in this term of Parliament.  However, it is not certain that the Turnbull Government will have the support of the Senate to deliver on other important promises such as a cut to the company tax rate or the extension of small business concessions.

Parliament resumes on 30 August 2016.

NHVR OPENS ACCESS PORTAL FOR ALL CUSTOMERS

Following a successful trial of over 1,500 applications, the NHVR will open the new AccessCONNECT Customer Portal to all customers from 1 August 2016.

Portal users will be able to:

  • create and lodge access applications
  • save and re-use their applications
  • save vehicles for use in applications
  • enhanced route planning functionality
  • track their application’s progress
  • view their payment history

The way Road Managers receive access requests from the NHVR is not changing with this rollout of the Customer Portal.   A new Road Manager Portal is expected to begin early system pilots in late 2016.

ALRTA RESPONDS TO PAYGO REVIEW

The ALRTA has made a submission in response to the NTC’s discussion paper on ‘Heavy Vehicle Charges – Options for improving the accuracy and stability of the PAYGO heavy vehicle charges methodology’.

The ALRTA does not support any further change to the PAYGO system at this stage.

Sometimes, you just have to call a spade a spade.  We consider that the perceived problems with the current system are largely motivated by:

  • Government unwillingness to accept the NTC recommendation to decrease registration charges by 6.3% and the fuel levy by 1.14cpl from 1 July 2014;
  • Government preference for ‘balancing the books’ by inflating expenditure inputs without actually spending a greater amount of money than would already be spent in any particular year; and
  • A longer-term government strategy to implement a new heavy vehicle charging system that will directly link forward looking asset capital and operational costs with some form of user-pay charging (e.g. mass-distance-location charging).

During 2012-2014, PAYGO was subject to an extensive review and co-design process which specifically considered the fundamental issues around volatility, predictability, lag, calculation of the cost base and the methodology for allocating costs across the vehicle fleet.

At the time, stakeholders were in general agreement with a range of technical improvements, some of which were implemented as part of the 2016-17 charging determination.

However, Governments have clearly demonstrated an unwillingness to accept any decrease in revenue as the financial price of moving to a fairer and more predictable system.  While we have registered our protest, the fox is still in charge of the hen house, and there is every likelihood that the PAYGO rules will be changed to suit the government agenda.

Meanwhile……….cumulative overcharging of our industry is fast approaching $1b. If they won’t give it back, they should at least commit to spending it on roads or related safety initiatives.

Regulation of Agriculture

The Productivity Commission has released a draft report on the Inquiry into the Regulation of Agriculture.  The ALRTA made a comprehensive submission to the Inquiry in February 2016.

The draft report makes a number of recommendations on farm animal welfare and transport issues that are of particular interest to the ALRTA.

Farm Animal Welfare

  1. The Australian Government should establish an independent body to develop national standards and guidelines for farm animal welfare.
  2. State and Territory Governments should: separate general agriculture and farm animal welfare enforcement activities; publically report on enforcement activities; increase resourcing for enforcement.
  3. State and territory governments should also consider recognising industry quality assurance schemes as a means of achieving compliance with farm animal welfare standards where the scheme seeks to ensure compliance (at a minimum) with standards in law, and involves independent and transparent auditing arrangements.

Road Transport

  1. States and territories that are participating in the Heavy Vehicle National Law should increase the number of routes that are gazetted for heavy vehicle access.
  2. Permits should only be required in locations where there are significant risks to public safety or infrastructure that must be managed on a case‑by‑case basis.
  3. The Australian, state and territory governments should pursue road reforms to improve the efficiency of road infrastructure investment and use, particularly through the introduction of road-user charging for selected roads, the creation of Road Funds, and the hypothecation of revenues in a way that incentivises the efficient supply of roads.

Analysis

The report also found that the RSRT was highly inappropriate and that the operation of the NHVR should be reviewed.  However, the RSRT has since been abolished and the Queensland Auditor-General has recently tabled a comprehensive review of the NHVR.

If contained in the final report, some of these draft recommendations will be extremely useful for pursuing the ALRTA’s safety and productivity agenda.  For example, formal recognition of TruckCare by State and Territory Governments as a means of complying with animal welfare laws would be beneficial, and any reduction in road access permit requirements is always most welcome.

The ALRTA must approach other proposals with caution such as road user charging for ‘selected roads’ and the creation of an independent farm animal welfare body.

The ALRTA will carefully consider the draft report and make a further submission on key matters of interest.

NTI RELEASES FINDINGS OF CRASH STUDY

NTI’s National Truck Accident Research Centre (NTARC) has released findings of the latest study into heavy vehicle crash incidents in Australia.

In this study which continues an ongoing series of investigative research, NTARC has analysed most heavy motor losses, managed by the insurer, over $5000 between 2011 & 2015.

National Director of Research Owen Driscoll, confirmed this morning that this culminated the largest ever study into heavy vehicle incidents across Australia.

‘This analysis reviewed 14,000 incidents where NTI contributed close to $500m over a 5 year period.’ Of course it will be the precursor to the early 2017 release of the 7th in the series of ‘Major Truck Crash Incidents’ over $50,000, which NTARC publishes biennially,’ he said.

‘Whilst we have not reviewed those incidents ‘off the network’ involving farming, mining and earthmoving sectors, this is the first study where we have independently identified specific State results. Furthermore, our research previously has been limited to larger losses and with the focus of this study for generally all on-road losses, the findings are quite interesting.’ Driscoll said.

‘In time a comprehensive research report will be forthcoming, although for now this is a snapshot of the study . . .’

  • 44% of reported incidents were single vehicle accident with the remainder involving individual or multiple third party vehicle(s).
  • in single vehicle crashes, the top (4) predominant causes were identified;
    • inappropriate speed for the prevailing conditions – 14.4%
    • fatigue influenced crashes – 7.4%
    • mechanical, although the majority related to tyre failure & non accident related fires, – 7.2%
    • animal strike – 1 out of every 7 reported single vehicle accident involve hitting animals, mostly cattle & ‘roos; welcome to Australia
  • In multiple vehicle incidents, which accounts for 56%, we found that;
    • on 68% of the reports, the truck was responsible for the loss, although we are reminded that in fatal incidents involving other traffic, the lighter vehicle is usually held to account.
    • 34% of the incidents involved the heavy vehicle impacting the rear of the other vehicle.
    • 14% where the insured unit struck third parties when changing lanes.
    • 11% in cases where the driver of the heavy vehicle failed to give wa
  • In reported losses involving mechanical & vehicle operating issues:
    • tyre failure due to over or under inflation, heat, road conditions or defects accounted for 32% of reported incidents with consequential vehicle damage.
    • 1 in every 5 losses on this issue were contributed to truck or trailer fires, with the seat causal factor usually wiring & electrical.
    • there is an increasing trend in turntable / ring failure due to incorrect coupling, higher stress factors associated with increased capacity of dog trailers and general maintenance to cover wear & tear. This accounted for 17% of associated mechanical issues.
    • Losses attributed to brake & steering failure were inconsequential
  • Otherwise it was established that;
    • in States such as NSW & Victoria where traffic density is proportionately higher, we experienced more incidents involving third parties,
    • for example; leading to a crash incident rate of 1 loss per 37 items insured in NSW, in contrast to the Northern Territory where it was 1 incident for every 66 items. Suffice to say though, the average cost of losses in the NT was substantially greater.
    • as is the case with the Major Crash studies, most incidents occur on outbound journeys from home base and usually early in the week.
    • whilst December was consistently the quietest month, there was no specific month that was noted as any worse than the other
  • And when it came to the average ages of drivers involved, :
    • the oldest come from Queensland and the youngest from the NT.
    • overall nationally, the average age was 45 years 248 days.
    • 40% were over the age of 50 years with 1 in every 4.2 drivers in the study were over 55.
    • those under 25 years recorded 4% of losses, not indicative of the quality of their driving but rather indicative of the fact that proportionally this industry does not attract many from this age group.

Media enquiries can be directed to Owen Driscoll NTI’s National Manager Industry Relations & National Director of truck accident research.

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