ALRTA News – 3 March 2017

BALLOT PAPERS GO OUT IN TRUCKING INDUSTRY ELECTION

Trucking operators across Australia will start voting this week to elect the owner driver and small fleet representatives on the General Council of the Australian Trucking Association, the peak body representing the industry.

The Independent Returning Officer for the election, Phil Potterton, said that three candidates would contest the owner driver position, while two candidates would contest the small fleet position.

The candidates for the owner driver position are:

  • John Beer from Romsey, Victoria (ENDORSED BY ALRTA)
  •  Frank Black (Arcidiaco) from Archerfield, Queensland, and
  •  Gordon Mackinlay from Holbrook, New South Wales.

The candidates for the small fleet position are:

  • Lynley Miners from Adaminaby, New South Wales (ENDORSED BY ALRTA), and
  • Leigh Smart from Melrose Park, New South Wales.

The candidates are listed above in alphabetical order.

Candidate statements will be available to registered voters with their online ballot papers and can also be accessed from the ATA website.

Registered voters will be emailed their secure voting link today. They will have three weeks to cast their votes. The election will be conducted entirely online, meaning there will be no delay waiting for ballot papers to arrive in the post.

Voting will close at 5pm AEDT on Wednesday 22 March 2017.

More information about the 2017 ATA election

SUPPORT YOUR CANDIDATES IN THE ATA ELECTIONS

        
John Beer                                            Lynley Miners

The ALRTA has endorsed two candidates standing in the upcoming ATA Council elections.

ALRTA has endorsed Mr John Beer for the ‘owner driver’ position and Mr Lynley Miners for the ‘small fleet’ position.

ALRTA encourages all persons registered to vote to throw their support behind these experienced and passionate candidates.

DRIVER FATIGUE WORKSHOP

This week, Anthony Boyle (LRTAV) and the ALRTA Executive Director participated a Heavy Vehicle Driver Fatigue Research Workshop hosted by the NTC in Melbourne.

The workshop is part of the $828,000 investment in a Heavy Vehicle Driver Fatigue Project announced Federal Transport Minister, the Hon Darren Chester MP, in December 2016.  The project is a collaborative effort between NTC, NHVR, Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity, Universities and Industry.

ALRTA made a presentation on behalf of the ALRTA and ATA which stressed that any new research must be based on a measured, logical approach.  We must first understand the nature and magnitude of fatigue risks before we can design useful research examining off-sets that might address those risks.

In our view, part of the proposed research design goes beyond the Ministerial mandate to compare the fatigue risk of nose-to-tail shifts with conventional work patterns.

During the workshop it was obvious that certain enforcement authorities who would like to see an immediate end to nose-to-tail shifts are misinterpreting the findings of existing fatigue research.  They are stating that fatigue risks double after the 12th hour of work time and therefore nose-to-tail shifts must be dangerous.

However, the research being cited to support their case actually applies to drivers working beyond 12 hours in a normal shift.   This is simply not applicable to a driver undertaking a nose-to-tail shift that includes a 7hr major rest break between the 12thand 13th hour of work in a 24hr period.

While the ALRTA believes that fatigue risks would be much lessened after a 7hr break, the fact is that there is no definitive research to support a view one way or the other.

So, while we can support government funded research that examines whether or not nose-to-tail shifts do in fact represent a significant fatigue risk, we do not want to see taxpayer money spent examining solutions to a problem that may not even exist.

If the initial research demonstrates that there is a problem, then we can use our new understanding of the nature and magnitude of the fatigue risk to examine practical and workable solutions rather than just ‘shooting in the dark’ with the experimental design as we would currently be doing.

The NTC will now consider the various points of view put forward at the workshop before deciding upon a final research design.

JOINT INDUSTRY-GOVT STRATEGIC POLICY MEETING

Last week the ALRTA Executive Director attended a joint industry-government meeting of the National Operational Strategy and Policy Advisory Group hosted by the NHVR in Brisbane.

From the ALRTA’s perspective, the most important issue related to enforcement of load restraint with respect to effluent.

ALRTA again presented our case for a cooperative effort across all jurisdictions to fully clarify application of the law to chain parties.  Following on from the effluent session at our recent National Conference, the meeting was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate to the NTC that there is broad support for resolving the matter as soon as possible.

While in Melbourne for the Driver Fatigue Research Workshop (see article above), the ALRTA Executive Director took the opportunity to meet with senior NTC staff to discuss the options for clarifying the matter in line with the formal request made to NTC by former Queensland Transport Minister, the Hon. Stirling Hinchliffe.

ATA COUNCIL

Last week, David Smith (President LRTASA & ATA Vice Chair) and the ALRTA Executive Director attended a meeting of the ATA Council in Canberra.  Major topics of discussion included vehicle security, emissions, registered industry codes of practice and national registration.

AUSTROADS FREIGHT TASK FORCE

The ALRTA National Officer attended a meeting of the Austroads Freight Task Force in Canberra last week to consider heavy vehicle projects of interest to Livestock and Rural Transporters.

The three areas of interest to ALRTA included:

  • Steer Axle Mass Limits. In 2016 Austroads completed a research project on National Steer Axle Mass Limits. The ALRTA position is to seek 7.5t on single tyre and 12.5t on twin steer vehicles with load sharing. The current 6t limit is not adequate for rural and regional roads when vehicles have a bull bar, driving lights and extra fuel tanks added.  The project needs more research on additional weight allowance on standard tyres.
  • Rest Areas – The 2005 National Guidelines for the Provision of Rest Area Facilities is being updated and will include improved rest area designs and diagrams and include the 3-2-1 Green Reflectors scheme for informal rest areas.
  • Heavy Vehicle Braking Standards – this project is now closed and should be published in two weeks. The project was to develop braking standards for Heavy Vehicles in order to brake effectively and safely on steep declines.

The ALRTA supported the ATA presentation on the need for increased steer axle mass limits and single wide tyres for drive and trailers axles.

BP HAS EXPANDED THEIR NETWORK

BP is pleased to share the exciting news that BP has expanded their network which means you will now receive your ALRTA Key Diesel BP discount at a further 182 sites across Australia.

BP has increased their National Diesel Offer from 109 key sites to 291 across Australia including adding one site in Canberra where there wasn’t one previously.

Be sure to download the complete list of sites to maximise your fuel discounts.

A MILESTONE TO BE CELEBRATED AT LBRCA 2017 CONFERENCE

The annual conference of the Livestock, Bulk and Rural Carriers Association (LBRCA) will be held at Dubbo this year 31st March – 1st April.

NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, The Hon Melinda Pavey, will open the conference on Friday and will meet face-to-face with rural transporters to provide an update on the Government’s road freight achievements and proposed future direction for rural NSW.

“This years’ event is particularly important as we celebrate 30 years.  There is a strong line up of presenters from local, state and federal arenas as well as industry” said Lynley Miners, LBRCA President.

“We also have plenty of time for attendees to catch up and network.  This aspect is always a highlight of our annual conferences and we make a point of encouraging our members to use this time to meet and network with government and industry representatives”.

The formal dinner on Friday night has the Young Driver of the Year Award presentation, which is of interest to the industry and a way of encouraging the succession of future leaders in our industry.

“The award has been up and running for a couple of years now and attracts a wide interest from across our membership.”

The conference will cover a wide variety of issues over the two days – everything from access, safety, chain of responsibility, business protection, braking technology, industry codes of practice, infrastructure and fatigue.

“We want to use our conference to hear and learn about the current issues affecting our membership and identify particular actions we can take forward to resolve – which in effect sets part of our work program for the next 12 months.”

The Conference Program is available here.

To register, complete the LBRCA Conference Registration Form available here.

For more information on this event contact LBRCA Operations Manager Bec on 02 6295 6651 or email office@lbrca.org.au

BIG WET WARNING TO OPERATORS AND GOVERNMENT

  • Big widespread wet season causing serious road issues across Northern Australia.
  • Transport Industry Peak Bodies covering Northern Australia, join forces to issue warnings to all Transport Companies, Drivers and Motorists.
  • Call for additional federal funds to aid local governments repair roads

The big widespread wet season is causing serious concerns for Australia’s peak bodies representing the road transport industry across Northern Australia.

ALRTA National President Kevin Keenan said that all transport operators and other motorists need to exercise extreme caution in the very wet seasonal conditions.

“Long distance driving in Northern Australia is always challenging.  Circumstances can change rapidly and drivers need to expect the unexpected,” said President Keenan.

“Given the current widespread and persistent wet conditions, companies and drivers must plan ahead carefully to avoid being stranded, keep in contact as often as possible and be familiar with an agreed back-up plan.

“Drivers should never put themselves or their live cargo at risk by travelling in severe weather events, attempting to traverse severely damaged roads or entering floodwaters of unknown depth or current strength.

“But we also can’t afford to let the weather completely cut off the economic lifeline of Northern Australia.   I call on Federal and State Governments to work together to carry out any urgent road repairs that are needed to keep Australia’s produce moving – we can worry about the minor details later and ultimately industry will pay its fair share under the current PAYGO arrangements,” he said.

The Executive Officer of the NT Road Association emphasises the point that we need to realise,

We’re now well into the second decade of the 21st century and acutely aware how much Australia’s place in the globalised world is dependent on investing in our Transport Supply Chain.

Unfortunately weak links in that supply chain exist and are quickly exposed during the wet season.  As the monsoon trough sits over large swathes of the Northern Territory there are 60 regional and arterial roads currently closed due to flooding or flood damage.

Road closures on the unsealed network is anticipated at this time of year however even the ‘national highway’ network has been affected by the deluge with pot holes needing repair across the entire length of the Stuart, Victoria and Barkly highways.  The cost of fixing the roads caused by the heavy rains in central Australia is expected to be considerable.

Cam Dumesny, Executive Officer of WA Road Transport Association supported the calls as the big wet extends down from the Kimberley as far as the South Coast and Goldfields.

As Kevin says, companies and drivers need to plan ahead and have communication plans in place to ensure driver safety.

However as both Louise and Kevin, make the point it is no longer acceptable just to say it’s the Wet Season – we really need far greater collaboration between all levels of government and industry to ensure that our Northern Economy doesn’t stop.

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