ALRTA News – 20 January 2017

YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A $100 BP FUEL CARD

It’s easy!

Just ‘like’ or ‘follow’ the ALRTA Facebook Page and post a comment under the “Win a $100 BP fuel voucher!” post, telling us at which BP outlet you fill up your prime mover.

All posts made before COB Friday 27 January 2017 will go in the draw to win a $100 BP fuel voucher.

Search Facebook for the ‘Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association’ or click on https://www.facebook.com/Australian-Livestock-and-Rural-Transporters-Association-1834145050194887/

Good luck!  We will contact the lucky winner via Facebook the following week.

PROPOSED NATIONAL ANIMAL WELFARE NOTICE

The ALRTA is working with the NHVR and our family of state associations to develop a national work and rest hours exemption that provides a reasonable level of flexibility to manage animal welfare in unusual or unforeseen circumstances.

There are currently two state-based notices that provide some level of flexibility for livestock carriers, but these are both due to expire on 9 February 2017. Namely:

  • NSW Livestock Carrier Driver Work Time Exemption (Notice) 2014 (No.1); and
  • Road Traffic (Heavy Vehicle Driver Fatigue) (Livestock) Notice 2011.

As all of our member operators and drivers know, the demands of livestock transport are like no other part of the road freight sector.

While the HVNL stipulates work and rest rules for heavy vehicle drivers, the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Land Transport of Livestock (Land Transport Standards) concurrently stipulates maximum periods that water may be withheld from live animals as well as other requirements such as unloading livestock promptly after arriving at a destination.

Animal welfare can also be threatened by natural disasters, climatic conditions or biosecurity risks.

Unforeseen circumstances can sometimes prevent a driver from reaching a suitable destination to safely and humanely unload livestock within generally permitted driving hours.

With the nationally consistent Land Transport Standards and HVNL now in place, we believe that it is time for a nationally consistent approach to the design and implementation of limited work and rest hours exemptions for livestock carriers who must meet the Land Transport Standards.

All participating HVNL states have already committed to national harmonisation of fatigue and record keeping requirements and so it is somewhat opportune that the legacy NSW and SA notices are due to expire at the same time.

In developing a replacement national notice, it is of course vitally important that the NHVR strikes a reasonable balance between the level of flexibility allowed and any conditions that are attached.  The notice must minimise safety risks, be practicable for users, and able to be scrutinised by HVNL authorised officers when required.

So far, our proposal for a replacement national notice has been well-received and we are hopeful that all HVNL states will support a common-sense national approach.

Stay tuned for more information over the next few weeks!

HEAVY VEHICLE FATIGUE RESEARCH PROJECT

This week the ALRTA participated in the first meeting of the Heavy Vehicle Fatigue Data Research Project Steering Committee.

In December 2016, the Federal Transport Minister, the Hon Darren Chester MP, announced an $828,000 investment in the project which is a collaborative effort between NTC, NHVR, Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity, universities and industry.  The funding has been committed for the next two years to ensure that the research is finalised and available to Ministers in 2018.

The aim of the research is to assess the current fatigue framework and better inform future fatigue policy.  However, it does appear that the underlying primary objective is to generate data to inform very particular policy considerations around ‘nose-to-tail’ shifts and BFM.

While the ALRTA is generally supportive of research projects that generate ‘real world’ data, targeted research is a risky proposition for industry.

Ideally, we should be asking the fundamental questions about ‘how much does risk increase for each additional hour driven’ and ‘what is the restorative value of different length rest periods’.  Broad and rigorous data of this nature would help us answer a whole host of questions – even questions that we haven’t thought of yet!

While this fatigue research project will go some of the way towards filling in the blanks, unfortunately, it may only reveal part of the overall picture…..and we all know the dangers of making policy decisions with only part of the information available to consider.

As a member of the project steering committee the ALRTA will be seeking a ‘no prejudice’ outcome that identifies the key risks and risk off-sets in a bigger picture context.

VOTER REGISTRATION OPENS FOR 2017 ATA ELECTIONS

The ATA’s 2017 elections are underway, with voter registrations now open.

In the election, owner drivers with one truck and small fleet operators with 2-5 trucks will elect two representatives to the ATA’s General Council, which sets its strategic policy direction.  The council meets in Canberra at least 4 times a year and ALRTA is also represented directly on the council.

To register to vote in the election, you must own, be purchasing or leasing 1-5 trucks over 4.5 tonnes.  You will also need to provide a valid ABN and an email address that is unique to you.

Voter registrations for the 2017 election will close on 22 February.  The election will be conducted entirely online, using a secure voting system.

Nominations for the two positions up for election will open on 25 January, and will also close on 22 February.

You must be a member of an ATA member association, such as one of the ALRTA’s six state associations, to nominate for one of the positions.  The nomination form will be available on the ATA website from 25 January.

Register to vote now

Background information about the 2017 ATA election

If you are thinking about nominating for one of the positions, let the ALRTA Secretariat know and we will do what we can to support you.

REMINDER: HAVE YOUR SAY ON VICTORIAN OWNER DRIVER LAWS

The Victorian Government is currently undertaking a review of the Owner Drivers and Forestry Contractors Act 2005 (ODFC) with responses due by 31 January 2017.

The ALRTA is assisting with this issue because there is once again the potential for mandatory minimum rates.  We have seen it with the RSRT at the Federal level, we have seen it with the General Carriers Contract Determination in NSW, and now the battleground has shifted to Victoria.  Your state might be next!

The ALRTA and LRTAV are preparing submissions on behalf of rural transporters.

If you are an owner driver that operates a heavy vehicle within Victoria or you come into Victoria from another state you could be affected by any changes to the laws.

Please consider making a short personal submission supporting our campaign against the introduction of new red tape or mandatory minimum rates for rural carriers in Victoria.

What is the ODFC?

The ODFC applies to owner drivers that supply and operate one or more vehicles (whether solely or with the use of additional relief drivers).   It covers sole operators, partnerships and corporations.

It applies to:

  • contracts made in Victoria (or that Victorian law applies to)
  • transport of goods wholly within Victoria
  • interstate journeys where a substantial part of the services are performed in Victoria

The ODFC provides that:

  • The Minister must develop and publish rates schedules for fixed and variable heavy vehicle operating costs
  • Hirers and freight brokers must give contractors & tenderers an information booklet and a copy of the rates schedules (some exceptions apply for short-term work)
  • Contracts must be in writing with specified minimum content
  • Notice be given when contracts are terminated, or a payment made in lieu of notice
  • Hirers cannot require a contractor to pay insurance costs if a copy of current policy has not been provided
  • Hirers cannot make other deductions for services or equipment except in specified circumstances
  • Hirers and contractors are permitted use negotiating agents
  • A Code of Practice be prescribed that can apply to classes of hirers and operators
  • Unconscionable conduct is prohibited
  • Disputes may be referred to the Small Business Commissioner, with rules on costs, processes, representation and time limits
  • A tribunal with specified powers be established to hear disputes if unable to a resolved via the Small Business Commissioner
  • A ‘Transport Industry Council of Victoria’ be established to advise and make relevant recommendations to the Minister for Industrial Relations
  • Protections are enshrined for persons exercising their rights under the ODFC
  • The ODFC prevails over all regulated contracts

What changes are proposed?

The review is ‘all encompassing’ and clearly aimed at assessing the effectiveness of the current arrangements and exploring whether additional laws or guidelines are required.

The only specific recommendations under consideration relate to the development of a non-mandatory rates and cost schedule for tip trucks and measures to ensure that these are applied during normal hiring practices.

What to Include in your submission

Your submission need not be long and formal.  A simple email with a few dot points will do fine.

Some things you should consider including:

  • You are an owner driver or a hirer that is potentially affected by the ODFC
  • You are supportive of a safe and fair operating environment
  • Rural road transport is very different from urban or inter-capital transport tasks because it involves a lot of short-notice work, backloads, part loads, multiple hirers, empty running, and an owner driver can act as both a prime and sub-contractor
  • If you use a tipper, please provide some examples of how you use it (what do you carry, locations, distance, loading/unloading facilities, rates etc). We want to show that rural tipper work is very different to urban tipper work
  • You are concerned that new requirements applicable to tippers to address problems in the construction sector might cause problems for tippers in the rural sector
  • You are strongly opposed to any potential move towards mandatory minimum rates
  • Your experience with minimum rates under the RSRT was that owner drivers could no longer compete with larger trucking companies
  • You have pre-existing equipment finance or other loan commitments that must be serviced and do not want regulatory disruption to your business
  • Negative outcomes for owner drivers will have disproportionate impacts in rural and regional areas, including for all ancillary transport services
  • You are concerned that rural carriers are not adequately represented on the Transport Industry Council of Victoria (this body advises the Victorian Industrial Relations Minister about owner driver matters)

How to lodge your submission

You can email you submission to odfc.yoursay@ecodev.vic.gov.au or post it to:

Deputy Secretary, Industrial Relations Victoria
GPO Box 4509
Melbourne Victoria 3001

Submissions are due by 31 January 2017.  All submissions will be treated in confidence.

Other Information

You can find the key documents here:

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