ALRTA News – 3 August 2018

ALRTA REJECTS CHANGES TO VEHICLE STANDARDS REGULATIONS

ALRTA has lodged a formal submission to NTC rejecting a proposed change to the Heavy Vehicle (Vehicle Standards) National Regulation.

The proposed change to section 11 of the regulations would require all mandatory equipment to be connected to a vehicle – or be deemed non-compliant.

ALRTA National President Kevin Keenan said that the proposal is unworkable.

“There are many situations when mandatory equipment fitted to heavy trailers cannot be plugged into a prime mover or leading trailer,” said President Keenan.

“Australian Design Rules are constantly changing.  Vehicles are built to meet the mandatory specifications in place at the time of manufacture.

“For example, some new trailers were required to have ABS from 1 January 2015 and an even wider range of new trailers will require EBS from 1 November 2019 with some of these required to have 24v power.

“This means that the Australian heavy vehicle fleet is always comprised of a mix of older and newer technologies.  Many older vehicles lack compatible plugs and voltage systems to be connected with newer technologies.

“Prime movers built before July 2014 were not required to have an ABS/EBS connector.  A lack of compatible connections is also a common problem for multi-trailer combinations, larger fleets and tow operators.

“There are also many considerations in play when assembling heavy vehicle configurations such as ownership of trailers, destination of goods, availability of trailers for the next leg of a journey, relative trailer mass and placement of specialist trailers within a combination.  It is just not safe or practical to constantly re-configure a combination just to access an available connection.

“Passage of the amendment in its current form would result in trailers that are physically compliant with ADRs upon purchase and maintained in this form becoming periodically non-compliant because of their relative position within a multi-vehicle combination – which can vary from journey to journey.

“It would make more sense for the regulations to simply require that mandated technology is not left unplugged if a compatible plug is readily available in the current vehicle configuration,” said President Keenan.

 

CHANGES FOR VICTORIAN OWNER DRIVERS

On 25 July 2018, the Victorian Minister for Industrial Relations, the Hon Natalie Hutchins MP, introduced a bill to amend the Owner Driver and Forestry Contractors Act 2005.  Both LRTAV and ALRTA lodged submissions and met with the Minister’s Office during the review that proceeded the bill.

Critically, in line with the views expressed in our submissions, the bill does not establish mandatory minimum rates and new provisions for tip truck contractors will not apply to the rural road transport sector.

Key Features of the Existing Act

  • requiring the provision of information to contractors at the time contracts are negotiated.
  • requiring contracts of no fixed duration or for a period of at least 30 days to be in writing, and to specify the minimum income or hours of work under the contract.
  • setting a minimum period of notice for the termination of contracts.
  • including unconscionable conduct and contract variation provisions.
  • providing that a provision of a contract is void to the extent that it is contrary to the legislation or the Code.
  • providing that claims of unconscionable conduct and disputes arising under the scheme may be dealt with by mediation by the Office of the Victorian Small Business Commissioner, and if not resolved, by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
  • establishing an advisory Transport Industry Council and a Forest Industry Council.

Key Changes in the Amendment Bill

The amendment bill will:

  • amend the purpose of the Act to include the promotion of industry best practice, education and training.
  • clarify the definition of ‘freight broker’ to ensure contractors employed through third-party contracting platforms like Uber Freight.
  • clarify that hirers can provide owner drivers and forestry contractors with information in an electronic form, including an Internet link.
  • require a hirer or freight broker to provide the rates and costs schedule annually if a contractor is engaged under more than one contract during the 12-month period.
  • require the payment of invoices within 30 days of receipt of a correct invoice from the contractor, unless there is a dispute over the amount payable. The parties will also be able to agree on alternative arrangements that are fair to both parties.
  • clarify that contractors have the option of being covered by the same terms and conditions of an existing regulated contract that has been jointly negotiated.
  • specify that the Small Business Commission can arrange arbitration where the parties to the dispute agree.
  • require hirers to provide tip truck contractors with the information booklet and the applicable rates and costs schedules regardless of the period of time they are engaged. This amendment is limited to contractors who drive tip trucks in connection with excavation work in the building and construction industry and is not intended to capture to tip truck contractors operating in the rural road transport sector.
  • establish a compliance and enforcement framework, and the introduction of penalties (including infringement notices) for non-compliance with the mandatory requirements of the Act.  Penalties will apply to failure to provide:
    • the Information Booklet;
    • the relevant rate and cost schedule;
    • a written contract; and
    • notice of termination or payment in lieu of notice.
  • empower authorised officers to require that hirers produce documents relevant to an investigation. It also includes a power for authorised officers to enter premises with consent of the occupier.

The bill has not yet passed the Victorian Parliament.  It is expected that more information will be available here before any changes come into force.

 

ALRTA PRESIDENT TALK LIVE EXPORTS

ALRTA President attended the North East Agricultural Dinner this week hosted by Federal Independent for Indi Cathy McGowan MP.  The event focussed on the ‘Future of the Sheep Industry’ with speakers including Federal Member for Farrer Susan Ley MP (who introduced a private members bill into the Federal Parliament that would phase out live sheep exports) and Executive Chair of Sheep Producers Australia, Chris Mirams.

The event was a good opportunity to hear both sides of the live export debate.  President Keenan was able to ask several questions of the speakers and deliver an ALRTA briefing paper to Susan Ley.  ALRTA has been invited to a follow up meeting with Susan Ley after Federal Parliament resumes on 13 August 2018.

 

OSOM REVIEW

Do you very require permits to move oversize or overmass (OSOM) loads?

The Australian Government has commissioned an independent review to get to the bottom of why it takes so long to approve permits for vehicles that are outside of standard weight or dimension limits.

The review is being undertaken by consultancy firm WSP Australia and will consider what changes to the regulatory framework are required to ensure that OSOM permits can be issued within a reasonable timeframe without compromising safety.

If you would like to participate in the consultation phase of the review you can send an email with your contact details to this address before 10 August 2018osomreview@infrastructure.gov.au

For more information click here.

 

FUEL TAX CREDITS FROM 1 AUGUST 2018

Fuel tax credit rates will increase for fuel acquired from 1 August 2018 in line with indexation of fuel tax duty.

Click here for the new rates.

Here are some other use tools and information sources on fuel tax credits:

GET THE FACTS ABOUT REGO CHANGES

Do you have questions or concerns about the switch to national registration plates from 1 October 2018?

The NHVR has released a fact sheet containing answers to common questions.

Click here to download the factsheet.

 

NATIONAL ANIMAL WELFARE COMMITTEE

The ALRTA National Animal Welfare Committee met via teleconference this week. Topics of discussion included ramp standards, effluent disposal infrastructure, chain of responsibility, live exports and working dogs.

 

MEETING NOTICE: AGM AND COUNCIL

Members are advised that the ALRTA will be holding a Council meeting and AGM on Thursday, 16 August 2018 at the Best Western, Airport Motel and Convention Centre, 33 Ardlie St, Victoria.

For more information please contact the ALRTA Secretariat (02) 6247 5434 or office@alrta.org.au

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