ALRTA News 16 December 2016

HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY HOLIDAY

Can you believe that 2016 is almost over?  It’s been yet another big one for our family of rural road transport associations and, as this will be our last newsletter of the year, it’s fitting to reminisce about a few of the highlights from 2016.

Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal
The first four months of 2016 made history.  Through threats of jail time, Easter hearings, submissions, letters, media, protest convoys and furious lobbying at all levels, we were successful in abolishing the unfair and unnecessary Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.  There can be no doubt that having strong national and state associations saved our bacon and many smaller operators are only still on the road today thanks to the success of our campaign.


Photo: Our operators protest at Parliament House in Canberra.

Flexible Fatigue Options
The ALRTA worked closely with the NHVR to develop and release the second of our new livestock and rural AFM templates.  Template 2, ‘Long Runs’ provides for up to 15 ½ hours of work time in a single work opportunity on a non-consecutive basis (i.e. one day long, one day short).

Together, with the ‘Fortnightly Cycle’ template, the easy-entry templates provide increased flexibility for operators who are able to demonstrate that they have reasonable risk controls in place.  If you already have BFM it is an easy jump to an AFM template, so keep these in mind as an option for your business.


Photo: Designing AFM Template 2

Getting Serious About Chain of Responsibility
ALRTA has made significant progress in improving the application of chain of responsibility laws to the rural supply chain.

Firstly, we have convinced governments that chain of responsibility laws need to change to positive general duties modelled on WH&S laws to better capture off-road chain parties in the rural supply chain.  The laws have passed QLD Parliament and should be operational by mid-2018.

Secondly, the ALRTA has successfully argued to the QLD Parliamentary Transport and Utilities Committee that the application of chain of responsibility laws to effluent control must be clarified.  The Queensland Minister for Transport has directed the NTC to clarify the matter within the next 12mths.  We are putting all options on the table including a full exemption under the HVNL.

Thirdly, we have thrown our support behind proposals to improve investigation and enforcement powers so that authorised officers can get to root of the problem, rather than just focusing on the driver and operator because the rest of the chain is just ‘too hard’.


Photo: QLD Parliamentary Transport and Utilities Committee

Heavy Vehicle Charging
While our associations have been successful in convincing Governments to freeze total charges at the current level, we are continuing to lobby for an immediate end to overcharging of around $250m each year.  We have made a detailed submission in response to an NTC discussion paper that, in our view, just proposed to ‘fiddle the books’ to make the embarrassing problem go away.

We were pleased with the recent Government response that proposes to establish an independent charging regulator that we hope will ‘de-politicise’ the whole issue and ensure future charges are set at fairer levels.

Other Issues
Of course the ALRTA has also been active on a broad range of other issues including: lobbying during the Federal Election; loading ramps; crate design; red tape in agriculture; vehicle signage requirements; steer axle mass limits; PBS rules; low volume access; reviewing TruckCare; codes of conduct and our fantastic joint National-State Conference in Torquay, Victoria.


Photo: Federal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure (the Hon Darren Chester – right), awards a Life Membership to John Beer at our National Conference

We Just Keep Getting Stronger
I am also very proud to say that through all of this our family of associations has gone from strength to strength.  The ALRTA now has a fully independent secretariat, we have secured two new national sponsors and have agreed ‘in principle’ to move our office into the ATA building.

Across the country, our grass-roots membership has grown to over 800 for the first time in our 31 year history.  There is no better indicator of whether our National and State associations are doing a good job for our industry sector!

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday
After all that hard work, like you, our National Council and secretariat staff are all looking forward to a short break so we can come back refreshed and ready to fight for rural road transport in 2017!

We sincerely wish you all a happy and safe holiday.  Please take some time to catch up with family and friends who have supported you all year – work will still be there when you get back!  If you absolutely can’t get away over Christmas, please consider a trip to our National Conference in Toowoomba, QLD, 17-18 February 2017.

We also thank our National Sponsors (NTI, PACCAR & Dealer, PACCAR Parts, Cummins, BP, Beaurepaires & King Bars) for their support during 2016 and continuing support for 2017.

GETTING READY FOR 2017

We have a stack of meetings organised to wrap up the issues for 2016 and get us set for 2017.

This week, the ALRTA and ATA interviewed several operators about industry’s draft ‘Guide to Braking and Stability Performance for Heavy Vehicle Combinations’.  We want to make sure it is readable and operator friendly before we release it publicly early next year.  Our National and State Secretariats also held a teleconference to discuss operational issues and how we might prepare for a busy 2017.

Early next week, our National Animal Welfare Committee will meet to talk about crate design, infrastructure and chain of responsibility.  The TruckCare Review Committee will also meet to consider what we have learned from our meetings with the five big retailers and plan for the next phase with processors and the authorities that set meat standards.

REMINDER: NATIONAL CONFERENCE

The registration brochure for the ALRTA and LRTAQ combined National Conference is now available.  The event will be held 17-18 February 2017 in Toowoomba, QLD.

The full two-day program of events can be found here.  We will bring you further announcements as the event draws nearer.

ALRTA OFFICE SHUTDOWN

ALRTA National Secretariat will shut down over the Christmas and New Year period.  We will close at 5:00pm, Friday 23 December 2016 and re-open at 8:30am, Monday 9 January 2017.

For urgent enquiries please contact Mathew Munro on 0421 082 489 or mathew@alrta.org.au


Photo: Merry Christmas from Tanya, Mat and Colleen. 

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