ALRTA News – 26 August 2016

INDUSTRY MEETS TRANSPORT DEPARTMENTS

This week the ALRTA Executive Director attended a meeting of peak industry associations and Federal and State transport departments, hosted by the NHVR in Brisbane.

The meeting is an important part of a series which occurs twice each year.  Here is how it works:

  1. Industry-Departments:  Key policy staff from industry associations and all transport departments (including NHVR & NTC) meet with a broad agenda.  This is where we hope to iron out issues / problems prior to the TISOC meeting (see below).
  2. TISOC:  The Transport and Infrastructure Senior Officials Committee is made up of the heads of all transport departments.  They meet to discuss the strategic agenda for national transport reform and make recommendations for the consideration of Ministers.
  3. TIC: The Transport and Infrastructure Council is made up of all transport ministers, plus the Local Government Association.  This is where the big decisions about law reform and charging are made.  The ALRTA has observer status at these meetings and can speak on agenda items if invited to do so.

While discussions are confidential, I can tell you that the agenda was primarily focused on the interaction of the various departments and different levels of government to produce a seamless national regulatory system.   It is one thing to have consistent heavy vehicle laws, but it won’t feel like a single national system unless all of the players are working together and interpreting and applying the laws the same way.

BASELINE ROADWORTHINESS SURVEY

This NHVR’s National Roadworthiness Baseline Survey (NRBS) is now well underway with approximately 60% of the 9,000 vehicle samples collected.

The project is being rolled out in stages, so sampling in NSW is almost complete whereas it won’t commence in WA until mid-Sept. The inspections will be complete by end Sept and the data will be analysed in the latter part of the year.

I have heard reports that some individuals and their vehicles have been stopped and inspected at different locations on consecutive days.  Given that a single inspection can take up to 45min, this would be most concerning…..and pointless.

The NHVR has informed the ALRTA that those who are inspected as part of the NRBS are issued with a certificate that is valid for the duration of the survey period.  If you show the certificate you will not be inspected again.

However, the NRBS is not the only inspection type being conducted.  For example, police taskforces are still operating ‘business as usual’ and inspecting vehicles for their own purposes.  This might include the use of dogs which is definitely not part of the NRBS.

The message is that you will not be inspected twice as part of the NRBS, but you might still be unfortunate enough to be stopped by other inspecting authorities, possibly even on the same day.

ANIMAL WELFARE RD&E STRATEGY

This week the Chair of the ALRTA Animal Welfare Committee (John Beer) attended the 6th meeting of the National Primary Industries Animal Welfare RD&E Strategy in Melbourne.

Participants included industry groups, research bodies, government, welfare advocates, processors and retailers.

While the meeting was useful for better understanding the welfare issues considered important by consumers, communities, buyers and suppliers, it was clear that land transport was not receiving the attention it deserves.

The livestock sector can only provide an assurance of best practice animal welfare outcomes when all steps in the production and supply process are considered – including road transport.   To get road transport right, we must also get driver welfare right, and that means that the other parties in the chain who provide loading and unloading facilities need to think about how their infrastructure and practices impact on the drivers ability to get the job done safely and efficiently.

The ALRTA has requested that land transport be included as a core consideration of future meetings.

THE FUTURE OF PERMIT APPLICATIONS

ALRTA Vice President Graeme Hoare participated in a meeting with NHVR this week to discuss a strategy for moving permit applications into the NHVR’s new online Customer Portal, AccessCONNECT.

The new portal has been in operation since 1 August 2016. So far, the system has proven stable and there have been no complaints from users.  Customers who have set up profiles can lodge new permits in a matter of minutes.

But as saying goes “out with the old, in with the new”, the NHVR is keen to phase out reliance on the old application channels.

It has been agreed that the old email and online ‘smart forms’ will be discontinued from 30 September 2016.  That will give you another 6 weeks to move into the new system.

However, the fax and mail channels will remain open to cater for regional areas and you should still be able to pay by cheque.  But don’t expect these to last forever – it will be costly for NHVR to maintain these manual systems and there will come a day when it can no longer be justified.

IMPROVE SAFETY AND REDUCE CONGESTION WITH HIGH PRODUCTIVITY VEHICLES

Higher productivity trucks can improve safety and halve the number of trips required to move goods, the Australian Trucking Association’s Senior Engineering Adviser, Chris Loose, said today.

Mr Loose was releasing the second edition of the ATA’s Truck Impact Chart, which includes guidance on the impacts of using different truck combinations. The chart and its associated technical advisory procedure was developed by the ATA’s Industry Technical Council.

“The updated truck impact chart clearly shows that larger trucks can reduce the number of truck trips required to move a load of goods, reduce fuel needs, reduce emissions and reduce the amount of road space needed to move goods from A to B,” Mr Loose said.

“When deciding what truck combination to use or allow on our roads to do a particular job we need to pay attention to the wide range of truck impacts in order to make the right call.”

The updated truck impact chart compares different truck combinations and includes information on the number of trips required to move 1,000 tonnes, fuel use, driver requirements, overall length, emissions, and the amount of road space required.

Mr Loose said the document also provided a range of supporting and related information including on emissions, fuel quality, license requirements, safety statistics, and impacts such as low speed swept paths.

“Not only can bigger trucks move more with less, but they can do it with less emissions, less fuel consumption, a better safety record and with more experienced drivers who have to meet tougher licensing requirements,” Mr Loose said.

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.

Download the truck impact chart

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