HIGH COURT DISQUALIFIES KEY MINISTERS
It has been a big week in Federal Politics with the High Court disqualifying five members of Parliament including the Deputy Prime Minister / Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, and Minister for Regional Development, Fiona Nash. These developments have potential repercussions for ALRTA advocacy campaigns and we will need to reassess our approach to some issues.
With the President of the Senate also resigning this week after discovering his own dual citizenship, it would seem that this debacle is a long way from over and might yet pull the rug out from under the Turnbull Government.
ALRTA BRIEFED ON MINISTERIAL AGENDA
The ALRTA National President and Executive Director were provided with a confidential briefing on the key matters for discussion and decision at the Transport and Infrastructure Ministerial Council (TIC) meeting. President Keenan will observe the TIC meeting in Hobart on 10 November 2017.
Heavy vehicle charging is a central item on the agenda. ALRTA and the National Farmers Federation have jointly written to key Federal and State Ministers this week calling for a continuation of the current freeze on total charges – under this model both rego and the road user charge should fall slightly over the next two years. Some states are considering freezing rego and RUC at the current level which will prevent expenditure and revenue from realigning before more radical changes to the charging system.
After $1b of overcharging over the past four years, can we trust Governments not to attempt another blatant $41m tax grab?
FREIGHT SCENARIO PLANNING
Marla Stone (LRTAV) represented ALRTA at a Scenario Planning Workshop in Melbourne last Friday. The Workshop was run by Deakin University on behalf of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.
Participants were asked to consider different future scenarios and advise the facilitator about the issues that would need to be addressed to enhance freight movements to the year 2037.
While ALRTA has previously provided a detailed submission to the more general government Inquiry, Marla certainly noticed the urban focus of most policy makers in the room and the need for ALRTA member operators to make direct representations to decision makers at the highest levels.
Complementing our submission, Marla’s working group submitted a list of specific recommendations ranging from charging and network design to finding solutions to whole-of-supply-chain problems like effluent and remembering the human component of the transport task.
NATIONAL REGISTRATION DATA
LRTASA President, David Smith, and the ALRTA Executive Director participated in an NHVR teleconference to discuss the potential use of National Registration data for industry policy development and decision making.
HVNL state governments have agreed to share with NHVR 53 registration attributes (e.g. vehicle model, make, year of manufacture etc). NHVR will consolidate this information and use it to gain a ‘national picture’ of the heavy vehicle fleet from1 July 2018.
While the ‘national picture’ will be very useful for NHVR in terms of risk profiling, compliance strategy and operational enforcement, the 53 attributes have very obviously been chosen for that purpose and will be of limited use to industry. Surprisingly, some of the data looks quite ‘useless’ for both the NHVR and industry (i.e. how is knowledge of number of cylinders or gender of the registered operator going to make any difference to roadside enforcement?).
Still, a national registration system has got to start somewhere and getting any approval at all from states to share their datasets with the NHVR is a significant step in the right direction. Hopefully, in time, the dataset will expand to include more useful elements for industry (e.g. trailer type [crate, tipper, tanker etc]).
ALRTA NATIONAL COUNCIL
ALRTA state association representatives from around Australia attended the ALRTA National Council meeting in Canberra, on 3 November 2017.
Some of the topics discussed included:
- National Conference 2018: A draft program, topics and logistics were considered. We are looking forward to a great event in Coffs Harbour, 23-24 March 2018.
- Ramps Standards: ALRTA is considering transitioning our ramp guidelines into national standards.
- Effluent: Council agreed on the next steps of our strategy for building Australia’s first managed roadside effluent disposal facility in South East Queensland.
- Commodity Receival Policy: ALRTA is considering policy options for promoting more workable receival standards.
- Charging: The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development presented an overview of the Governments work program for revamping charging and infrastructure provision starting with independent decision making and a forward-looking cost-base.
- Safety and Productivity: Council discussed priorities for improving safety and productivity. Government statistics show that crash rate improvements are slowing down in some states and productivity is falling – industry needs a plan to fix both problems at once.
The ALRTA National Council will next meet in 2018.
ALRTA MEMBER CHAPTER
The ALRTA Large and National Operators Chapter met via teleconference on 1 November 2017 to discuss the papers for the ALRTA National Council Meeting. Participants included: Ross Fraser, Gavin O’Sullivan, Robert Cavanagh, Joe Sepos, Kevin Keenan and Mathew Munro.
ALRTA ANIMAL WELFARE COMMITTEE
The ALRTA Animal Welfare Committee (AWC) met via teleconference late last week. The AWC has met regularly this year to oversee our major projects on ramp standards, user-pay unloading frames and effluent infrastructure. ALRTA Council considered key AWC recommendations this week.
GREEN LIGHT FOR FIRST BEEF ROADS PROJECT
Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Darren Chester, has announced that funding is approved for the first project under the $100m Beef Roads Program.
Approximately 17km of the Clermont – Alpha Road will be sealed with the Federal Government contributing 80% of the $8m cost. The route will be open to road trains and better connect cattle producers with regional markets. ALRTA applauds the announcement which will improve safety, while also improving productivity through reduced travel times and cost.
TRUCKSAFE ANIMAL WELFARE MODULE
A face-to-face workshop was held in Canberra this week as part of the review of the TruckSafe Animal Welfare Module. Our representatives included: Stephen Marley, Graeme Emery, Mark Collins, Athol Carter and Mathew Munro.
2017 NATIONAL BIOSECURITY FORUM
The ALRTA Executive Director attended the 2017 National Biosecurity Forum in Canberra this week. The workshop focussed on the roles and responsibilities of government and industry, including prevention, surveillance and response.