ALRTA News – 2 September 2016

FEDERAL PARLIAMENT RESUMES

The 45th Australian Federal Parliament resumed on Tuesday this week…..and already the Turnbull Government’s thin 1 seat majority has been put to the test – and failed.

Late yesterday, several Coalition members were absent from the House of Representatives (mostly to leave early to travel home) and Labor ambushed the Government by moving, and winning, three successive votes and then coming within just one vote of establishing a Royal Commission into the banking sector.

The motions won by Labor were on procedural matters (e.g. one of the votes prevented the House from adjourning until the next sitting) but this is still highly embarrassing for a Government that claims to have a solid working majority.  In fact, they are the first defeats if this kind since 1962!

Turnbull will be thanking his lucky stars that the Government was in the end able to muster the numbers to prevent the Labor proposed Royal Commission and perhaps something even more serious such as a no confidence motion in the Prime Minister.

I would hazard to guess that there will be no more early marks for Government members for the remainder of the Parliamentary term.

ATA COUNCIL MEETS DURING TRUCK WEEK

ATA Council met on Thursday in Canberra to coincide with Truck Week 2016.

ALRTA President Kevin Keenan was part of a Truck Week industry delegation that met with several Parliamentarians including the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and the Minister for Small Business.  The delegation was carrying important messages about industry regulation and how we can improve safety.

The ALRTA successfully proposed to the ATA Council that increases in steer axle mass be included in the ATA’s 3-year strategic plan (7.5t on standard singles and 12.5t on twin steer with load sharing); that the ATA adopt a clear position opposing mandatory minimum rates for owner drivers; and, importantly, that the ATA take appropriate steps to prevent or limit the application of mandatory minimum rates.

These successful motions will open the door for the ATA to actively oppose the TWU’s current push to extend the application of mandatory minimum rates in NSW via the General Carrier Contract Determination (GCCD).   While the GCCD contains provisions that exempt most rural carriers, it represents the ‘thin edge of a wedge’ that will leads as straight back down the path to RSRT style regulation.

INCREASING VOLUMETRIC LOAD CAPACITY

Do you fill your trailer before reaching your mass limits? If so, we want to know!

The NTC has released an issues paper on ‘Increasing heavy vehicle volumetric load capacity without increasing mass limits’.

As the name suggests, the paper explores options for allowing increases in vehicle dimension (height, length and width) for tasks in which the freight would normally fill a standard trailer well before the statutory mass limits are reached.

Heavier freight such as livestock or grain are unlikely to benefit from the proposal, but the rural freight task is highly diverse, and there may be circumstances where additional volume would be beneficial for specific tasks.

The closing date for submissions is 26 September 2016.  Please drop me a line if you want to talk about how the proposal could benefit you.

TIME TO MOVE ONLINE

The NHVR’s Customer Portal is the new way for industry to prepare, lodge and track their Access permit applications. It is free for users and businesses to register for the Customer Portal, using a simple sign up process and just a few easy steps to lodge your permit application.

After consulting with Industry reference groups, access permit applications via email and online ‘smart forms’ will be discontinued from 30 September 2016.  The fax and mail channels will remain open and customers will still be able to pay by cheque.

Progress to Date
The AccessCONNECT Program team has worked with stakeholders and industry to create the Customer Portal, and released the product in stages to industry over a 3 month period from 4th May to 31st July 2016. During this staged roll out, over 1,500 Access permit applications were lodged through the Portal, accounting for almost 20% of all applications. The NHVR fully released the Customer Portal for Access permit applications to all of the industry from 1st August 2016.  Within the first few weeks, 40% of all Access permit applications are now being lodged through the new service.

Benefits of the Customer Portal
The initial review of performance and feedback from customers has been positive:

  • Well-made applications: improved quality of information included in applications when lodged
  • Reduced number of  requests for further information due to completed application details
  • Time saved in getting applications to Road Managers to commence assessment quicker
  • Re-using previous application data: ability to re-use vehicle configurations and permit applications
  • Understanding application progress: new Case Tracker – where applications are at in the assessment process
  • Improved routing capability: a new and improved integrated Route Planner product

Channel Migration
Since 1st August 2016, the Customer Portal has steadily seen an increase in use as outlined in the table below:

Total Lodgements Customer Portal Website Email Fax Mail
1,201 478 174 520 15 14
First 2 weeks: 40% 14% 43% 1% 1%

The NHVR would like to see as many applications as possible lodged through the Customer Portal to start streamlining the processing of Access permit applications and ensure better quality information is provided for consent processing.

For further information on the Customer Portal or AccessCONNECT Program, please email accessconnect@nhvr.gov.au or phone 1300 MYNHVR (1300 696 487) standard 1300 call charges apply (check with your phone provider).

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