ALRTA News – 25 November 2016

NATIONAL CONFERENCE REGISTRATIONS NOW OPEN

The ALRTA and LRTAQ are pleased to invite you to attend our combined National Conference 17-18 February 2017 in Toowoomba, QLD.

The conference is a great opportunity to hear from expert speakers about the issues that affect road transport businesses, meet your elected executive team and most importantly – have your say.  You can also mingle with our national and state sponsors in an informal environment while you take a well-earned break catching up with old friends and making new ones.

By attending our combined National Conference in Toowoomba, you will be helping to support local hotels, event spaces and caterers as well as boosting the local economy with every dollar you spend in the city or surrounding areas.  This is also a major fund raising event for our associations to help us work with all levels of government to ensure that our businesses remain profitable and safe.

The Conference will be opened by the Hon. Stirling Hinchliffe, QLD Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games.

The full program and registration details can be found here.  Further details will be announced closer to the event.

We hope to see you there!

RETAIL GIANTS CONSIDER TRUCKCARE

Recently, the ALRTA and ATA met with Coles, Woolworths and ALDI supermarket representatives in their head offices in Sydney and Melbourne.

We have been learning a lot about how the major retailers are reacting to changing community attitudes to corporate social responsibility.  There is no doubt that vocal advocacy groups are making representations to governance boards and shareholders, who are in turn demanding that retail management pay greater attention to animal welfare issues.

Still, it is also true that no supermarket can realistically offer a specific line of ‘cruelty free’ meat because it would imply that their other products do not meet this standard.  So while we are unlikely to ever see broad product segregation on this basis, the supermarket giants are developing quality assurance systems that can track meat throughout the supply chain and ensure that EVERY product is delivered in an ethical, safe and sustainable manner.

So far, all of the supermarkets we have visited agree that road transport is an important component of the production process and that the TruckCare system can give retailers and consumers a vital pillar of the welfare assurance they are increasingly demanding.

Interestingly, Australian retailers are looking to international rather than domestic welfare standards because these are generally better understood by consumers.  This means that a revised TruckCare system will need to meet international best practice rather than minimum domestic standards.  I know that all of our member operators continually strive to observe all Australian animal welfare laws, but in the not too distant future, this alone may not be enough to meet the evolving demands of our major retailers.

We still have a couple more retailers to visit, after which time we will consider what we have learned and progress to the next step of consulting with major meat processors.   We expect that a revised TruckCare system will be re-launched towards the end of 2017.

WORKING TOWARDS NATIONAL CRATE GUIDELINES

The ALRTA has written to Safe Work Australia and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland requesting that the authorities work together to progress the development of national guidelines for the design of livestock crates used in heavy vehicle transport.

While we support the work so far progressed by each authority with respect to the design and operation of cattle crates, the ALRTA is increasingly concerned about the potential for a proliferation of crate guidelines at the national and state levels, and for different livestock species.

Livestock crates are mobile infrastructure routinely operated, bought and sold across state borders.  It makes good sense that crate guidelines should be nationally applicable, noting any significant state differences that may apply.

In addition, it is important to understand that crates are often interchangeable with mezzanine floors that can be used (or not used) depending on the livestock species.  Thus, from a manufacturer or operator perspective, there is little difference between a cattle crate and a sheep crate.

On this basis, there really is no compelling reason to establish separate guidelines for cattle crates that are not also applicable to sheep crates.  While the decks may be spaced differently for species such as pigs, most other fundamental safe design principles are the same.

We consider that the ALRTA’s National ‘Guide for the Safe Design of Livestock Loading Ramps and forcing Yards’ are a good example of an ‘ideal’ approach cross-jurisdictional and multi-species factors.  This guide was developed in consultation with all supply chain stakeholders including producers, saleyards, processors, equipment designers, transporters, safety authorities and welfare advocates.
We are hopeful that Safe Work Australia and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland will jointly progress the development of national crate guidelines on a similar basis, including consultation with the ALRTA and crate manufacturers.

NATIONAL INQUIRY INTO PAYMENT TERMS

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) has launched an inquiry to examine payment times and practices in Australia.

During consultations about the impact of the RSRT and on other matters, the ASBFEO has consistently heard that late payments, together with other adverse payment practices of some big businesses, is a critical issue impacting Australian small businesses.

The ASBFEO has concluded that the issue is not just contained within a single industry sector – it appears to have become a systemic problem in Australian corporate culture and throughout the Australian economy.  Collectively Australian small businesses are owed around $26 billion in unpaid debts at any one time.

As part of this Inquiry, the ASBFEO will look at:

  • The practice of corporations setting payment terms particularly for small businesses;
  • Trends in payment terms and late payment with emphasis on commercial dealings between small business with large corporations or governments;
  • The effects and impacts that long payment times have on small businesses; and
  • Potential regulatory and market-based responses available including recent developments such as unfair contracts legislation.

The ASBFEO will present a final report to the Minister for Small Business, the Hon. Michael McCormack MP, in March 2017.

INDEPENDENT PRICE REGULATOR CRITICAL FOR TRUCKING INDUSTRY

The trucking industry welcomes the Australian Government’s commitment to consult on options for an independent price regulator for heavy vehicle charging, the Chair of the Australian Trucking Association, Noelene Watson, said today.

The commitment is in the Australian Government’s response to Infrastructure Australia’s Australian Infrastructure Plan.

“Trucking operators are overcharged for our use of the roads, with the National Transport Commission finding that truck and bus operators will be overcharged by $515 million over the next two years,” Mrs Watson said.

“Establishing an independent price regulator is a critical reform that should be progressed with urgency.

“The Government has previously committed to transition to independent heavy vehicle price regulation by 2017-18, and the trucking industry strongly encourages the Government to maintain this schedule.

“The independent price regulator should be set up so transport ministers can set legally binding pricing rules in accordance with legislated pricing and consultation principles. Ministers must not have the power to override or review pricing determinations, and there must be merits-based appeals to the Australian Competition Tribunal.

“We look forward to taking up Minister Fletcher’s commitment of extensive consultation with the industry.”

Mrs Watson said independent price regulation and the reform of heavy vehicle charging was also dependent on supply side reform.

“In shifting to a forward looking cost base for heavy vehicle charging, it is critical that the model includes regular audits of the cost of maintaining and building roads,” she said.

“If trucking operators are to pay for forecast expenditure, it needs to be transparent and accountable.”

Both the ATA and ALRTA have provided the National Transport Commission and the Government with rigorous submissions setting out a possible architecture for independent price regulation.

PRELIMINARY RESULTS OF COR SURVEY

A review of business systems will boost heavy vehicle safety and productivity, according to a supply chain survey.

NHVR Compliance Executive Director Tony Kursius said the survey of 800 transport and logistics supply chain businesses showed there were still improvements to be made in implementing and managing Chain of Responsibility.

“The initial finding of the survey showed four out of five companies believed they had all or some systems in place to provide adequate CoR training for managers,” Mr Kursius said.

“We will now continue to work with these companies and those who don’t have any systems in place to improve their safety performance.

“The survey was aimed at both the heavy vehicle industry and the supply chain throughout Australia to gather information that can be delivered to support business that impact safety across the heavy vehicle industry.”

While the full report, to be delivered by Macquarie University, will be due out in 2017, the initial results supported the early release of a suite of information including fact sheets and podcasts.

Mr Kursius said 90 per cent of participants considered everyone in the supply chain responsible for safety in transport operations.

“In 70 per cent of businesses, refusing unsafe work is encouraged by management and staff – we would like to see this number much higher,” he said.

“Business systems and processes to improve CoR awareness and safety should be paramount – poor safety will lead to productivity losses.”

The Survey results will assist the NHVR design education packages to ensure a greater awareness of CoR safety across the heavy vehicle supply chain.

Recently the NHVR released its first series of podcasts and factsheets for the heavy vehicle supply chain as part of a national effort to boost safety for all road users.

Some interesting results:

  • More than 90% of respondents consider that ‘Everyone in the supply chain whose decisions influence safety outcomes’ should be held responsible for safety in transport operations.
  • Only 29% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that CoR is the primary responsibility of the transport company.
  • While the NHVR is seen as the primary source of HVNL and CoR information, more than half of respondents obtain their information from industry associations.
This entry was posted in ALRTA Weekly News, Chain of Responsibility, Fuel Charges, General News, Remuneration Order, safety and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.