Smith Haulage Wins 2017 Woolworths Carrier of the Year!

Well done to David Smith and the team at Smith Haulage. ALRTA member Smith Haulage, based in Tumby Bay SA, has been announced Small Transport Partner at the 2017 Woolworths Carrier of the Year Awards.




Just two weeks ago I suggested that “…this dual citizenship debacle is a long way from over and might yet pull the rug out from under the Turnbull Government”. Since then another two Federal Parliamentarians have outright resigned, with several more now under suspicion and likely to be referred to the High Court.

With this week’s resignation of John Alexander, the Coalition has now lost its majority in the House of Representatives, holding just 73 votes of a possible 148 (usually there are 150).   However, even with all five crossbenchers onside, Labor could only muster 74 votes which falls one short of an outright majority – so Turnbull is safe from a no confidence motion…..for now.

Hang on, that only adds up to 147 votes! Who has the other vote?

The outstanding vote is held by the Speaker of the House.  The Speaker is ‘impartial’ and does not take part in debates or use their vote except in the rare case of a tied vote.  The current Speaker is a member of the Coalition and I think we can assume will not be supporting a no confidence motion.

The other casualty this week was of course Jackie Lambie.  I am not even sure if I can refer to Ms Lambie as the ‘former Senator for Tasmania’ given that she was ineligible to be elected in the first place.  It just shows how strange this whole situation really is.

So off to the polls we go in New England on 2 December (Barnaby Joyce is expected to be comfortably elected) and Bennelong on 16 December (John Alexander will have a fight on his hands against former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally).

Who knows what the next two weeks will bring?



ALRTA headed back to south east Queensland this week to talk with stakeholders about establishing Australia’s first roadside effluent disposal facility.  Our delegation comprised Graeme Hoare (LBRCA Vice President), Fiona Wild (LRTAQ) and Mathew Munro (ALRTA Executive Director).

Our first stop was Wellcamp Business Park in Toowoomba where we met with George Anderson (Property Analyst / Town Planner) of Wagners – a family owned business with divisions in concrete, quarries and transport (including Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport).  During this meeting we explored the possibility of locating the site on private land and operating the facility on a commercial basis.  This would be quite a different model than originally intended, but it is always worthwhile looking at all of the options.

Next, we linked up with John Gilbert (Manager Stakeholder Relations) of the NHVR and together met with Mayor Tanya Milligan of Lockyer Valley Regional Council.  We believe that the ideal site for the disposal facility would be at the bottom of the Toowoomba Range Crossing in the Lockyer Valley Regional Council area.  Support from the Council will be crucial for ‘lining our ducks up’ to make the project a reality.



ALRTA is pleased to advise members that the NTC has commenced a Review of Regulatory Telematics that will:

  • assess current adoption rates by industry;
  • identify barriers to adoption;
  • review governance and legislative arrangements; and
  • consider the benefits and disadvantages of using telematics for regulatory purposes (e.g. speeding, revenue collection and infrastructure provision).

The review will primarily focus on telematics regulated by the HVNL including IAP and electronic work diaries – the same two areas of most concern to our members.  As regular readers will recall, ALRTA, LBRCA and LRTAQ recently raised this matter during a special joint meeting with NHVR, RMS, TMR and QLD Police during which even the regulators admitted that IAP was not delivering.

This review is an important opportuning for industry to develop a broad policy on the use of regulatory telematics and advocate our view with authorities.

The NTC will report findings to the Transport and Infrastructure Standing Officials Committee (the heads of government regulators) in March 2018.

ALRTA has been invited to participate in an initial scoping interview in the near future.  Over the course of the review we will be seeking your views so stay tuned to this one.



Australian transport ministers have approved two key automated vehicle reforms as part of a roadmap of reform to support commercial deployment.

Chief Executive of the NTC, Paul Retter, said ministers endorsed new national enforcement guidelines and agreed to progress the development of a safety assurance system at the Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting on Friday, 10 November.

“Ministers have agreed to a goal of having an end-to-end regulatory system in place by 2020 to support the safe, commercial deployment of automated vehicles at all levels of automation. This is an important milestone towards that goal,” Mr Retter said.

“Australia is one of the first countries to make this bold commitment to 2020.  We want to give certainty to manufacturers by ensuring our regulatory system is flexible and responsive to encourage innovation.”

The National Enforcement Guidelines provide guidance to police for applying the road rules to automated vehicles.

“These guidelines provide clarity around who is in control of a vehicle at different levels of automation.  They confirm that a human driver is responsible for the driving task when conditional automation is engaged,” Mr Retter said.

“They also determine that having hands on the wheel is no longer an indicator of having proper control when conditional automation is safely engaged.”

Transport ministers have also directed the NTC to develop a safety assurance system for automated road vehicles.

“Ministers agree that government has a role in assuring the safety of automated driving systems, just as governments have a role in assuring driver safety today through driver licensing regimes,” Mr Retter said.

The NTC is working with the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to implement a safety assurance system by 2020. The next stage is to develop a COAG Regulation Impact Statement on legislative options in early 2018. These projects are part of a broader roadmap of reform to support automated vehicles. For more information about the NTC’s projects, see the NTC website.

The NTC is currently consulting on how to change driving laws to support automated vehicles, with submissions closing on 24 November.  From January 2018, the NTC will commence public consultation on two further projects relating to government access to automated vehicle data and a review of automated vehicle exemption powers and insurance.



WA-based Road Trains of Australia (RTA) has been recognised for its rigorous standards in management, maintenance, training and animal welfare through the TruckSafe accreditation program.

The family owned and operated company has more than 40 years’ experience in safe and dependable livestock, fuel, bulk commodities and general freight transport throughout the north of Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland.

It adheres to rigorous workplace and driver health and animal welfare standards, and has continuous training for its drivers on humane animal handling techniques.

“TruckSafe is the only quality assurance program for livestock transport that enables us to manage our animal welfare compliance,” says Steve Beatty, RTA’s Northern Territory Manager.

“To receive TruckSafe accreditation, our depots and vehicles underwent a rigorous audit process to ensure we adhere to the highest safety standards across all areas of our business––from management, maintenance and training, to workplace and driver health and safety.

“As a TruckSafe accredited member, we must operate on a much higher level of road safety than the industry average, and ensure that we reduce risks through safe work practices, animal welfare procedures, safe and well-maintained trucks and healthy drivers,” he says.

“The program is an appropriate choice for our business for a raft of reasons. We have a team of TruckSafe experts behind us to provide up-to-date information on changes to legislation, and we can access advice on all matters concerning road safety.”

TruckSafe Chairman, Ferdie Kroon, says accredited operators voluntarily go the extra mile to meet the program’s rigorous standards.

“RTA is to be congratulated on its accreditation and its contribution to maintaining the highest industry standards,” he says.

“When you use a TruckSafe accredited business, you know you’re dealing with a safe and professional operator.”

TruckSafe is the trucking industry’s own business and risk management system, which aims to improve the safety and professionalism of trucking operators across Australia.



Over the past four decades, change has been constant in heavy motor insurance. One person who has not only witnessed it all, but been a key driver of change, has been NTI’s National Manager of Industry and Government Relations, Mr Owen Driscoll.

Now, after a successful 43-years with NTI, Mr Driscoll has bid farewell.

Since joining NTI (formerly R&G Insurance Consultants) in 1974, Mr Driscoll held many key roles, including acting CEO. He oversaw the London delegation and appointment of the company as Lloyds Brokers representatives in Australia and launched branch offices in Newcastle, Melbourne, Parramatta and Perth.

Mr Driscoll established NTI’s Roadteam network and founded the National Truck Accident Research Centre in 2002. Being a contributor to driving this change is one of the things Mr Driscoll is most proud of.

“The research centre was an evolution of a feeling that we were underutilising the accident information and the corresponding statistics available to us,” said Mr Driscoll.

“Ultimately we realised that you can’t fix a problem if you don’t know where it starts.”

Mr Driscoll has represented NTI on numerous boards and industry bodies, and his commitment to road safety has been a growing force throughout his career.

His lengthy career is also endorsed by numerous accolades, including the Don Watson Memorial Award in 2006 for outstanding commitment to road safety and the road transport industry, as well as recognition in 2015 by the Australian Road Transport Hall of Fame as an industry icon for commitment to road safety through road accident research.

Upon leaving NTI, Mr Driscoll says he’s appreciative of the many who have influenced his contribution, but there is one person he’s most indebted to.

“All pale into insignificance when it comes to my wife and best friend, Kate,” said Mr Driscoll.




Posted in General News | Comments Off on Smith Haulage Wins 2017 Woolworths Carrier of the Year!

ALRTA News – 10 November 2017


ALRTA National President Kevin Keenan observed the 8th meeting of the Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) in Hobart today.

At the meeting, Federal and State Transport Ministers discussed a range of issues including road safety, national freight system, heavy vehicle regulation, automated vehicles, charges for 2018/19 & 2019/20 and longer-term charging reform.

Read the full communique here.



Australian Transport Ministers have today agreed to over-charge the heavy vehicle sector by $189m in 2018/19 and 2019/20.  This comes in addition to $1bn in over-charging over the past four years.

The decision was made by the Transport and Infrastructure Council which meets twice annually.

ALRTA National President Kevin Keenan observed the meeting and afterwards said that he was bitterly disappointed by the decision.

“Today, Ministers have fully abandoned fair cost recovery principles in favour of yet another blatant opportunistic tax grab”, said President Keenan.

In 2014, the NTC discovered flaws in the PAYGO model and recommended that Ministers decrease registration charges by 6.3% and the fuel levy by 1.14cpl from 1 July 2014.  Instead, Ministers agreed to freeze total charges for the past four years to allow revenue and expenditure to realign.

“Now that a realignment of revenue and expenditure is finally within reach, Ministers have subtly changed the nature of the charging freeze to increase the amount of revenue over-recovered by $41m compared with a continuation of the current freeze”, said President Keenan.

“Given the very poor state of regional roads right across Australia it would make more sense for governments to even up the ledger by lifting expenditure on these vital freight corridors in the agricultural supply chain”.

“It should now be abundantly clear to every road transport operator, and the millions of businesses that rely on our services, that governments will choose revenue over fairness every time”.

“At this same meeting, governments have agreed to take the next steps towards implementing a forward-looking cost base.  This will now be a leap of faith too far for most operators who should be deeply suspicious of government’s underlying motivation”, he said.



The ALRTA National Council has agreed to submit a formal proposal to Standards Australia to develop a National Standard for the safe design of livestock loading ramps.

Photo: ALRTA Council meets in Canberra on 3 November 2017. 

In 2015, the ALRTA consulted with government regulators, the livestock supply chain and community representatives to develop and publish a national ‘Guide for Safe Design of Livestock Loading Ramps and Forcing Yards’.

While the guide has been referenced by several facilities and used by safe work authorities to better understand industry best-practice, drivers continue to report that avoidable safety hazards remain common place.

In June 2017, following an investigation into a ramp-related death, the Victorian Coroner has recommended:

  1. That Standards Australia consult with relevant stakeholders as to the feasibility and desirability of developing a single Australian Standard applicable to the construction, inspection and maintenance of livestock ramps and the induction to premises containing such ramps.

ALRTA strongly supports the Coroner’s recommendation as the logical next step for improving ramp safety and will submit a formal proposal to Standards Australia.  If the proposal is accepted, the ALRTA expects that Standards Australia will invite affected stakeholders to join a ramp standards committee.  The committee would consult broadly in developing a draft standard over the 18-27 months.



The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) will process all heavy vehicle access permits in South Australia from 4 December 2017.

NHVR and the South Australian Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) have been working collaboratively for the return of heavy vehicle access permit processing to the NHVR.

DPTI currently process intrastate Class 1 heavy vehicle access permit applications and will transition this function to the NHVR on the 4 December 2017.

NHVR will then process all heavy vehicle access permit applications (oversize/overmass, agricultural vehicles and special purpose vehicles) that were previously processed by DPTI for travel within South Australia.

To apply for an access permit on or after 4 December 2017, operators need to lodge applications with the NHVR using the NHVR Portal.

NHVR will be assisting operators during the transition by providing training and information sessions on how to apply for a permit with the NHVR. To book to attend an information session or training session in South Australia, visit the NHVR website.

For more information click here.



The ALRTA has commenced working with our state associations to develop a National Member Database.

Currently, each of our states operate their own separate database and will periodically supply certain information to ALRTA so we can communicate with you and understand your business.  While this manual process has served us well for the past 30+ years, we are a now living in the ‘information age’ and new technologies now exist to enable us to improve our data management.

Part of this process will require our national and state associations to agree on a common dataset. That means we need to collect the same information and make sure we all label it the same way.  Funnily enough, that is the very same process that the NHVR and state agencies are going through right now to develop a national registration system.

We are only in the early scoping phase so there are no changes that will affect you at this stage.

Down the track, you may notice some differences in the way our state associations collect information when you renew your membership.  Please be rest assured that your personal data will remain secure and used only for limited purposes to help us make your industry safe, sustainable and economically viable.



Australia’s leading truck insurer, NTI, is urging operators to be extra mindful of vehicle and trailer security.

NTI’s data shows that November commonly sees an increase in reports of malicious damage, and theft from inside the vehicle.

“It’s unfortunate, but there are people out there looking to take advantage of hard-working Australians,” Mr Clark said.

“We urge all operators to be considerate of where they leave their vehicle unattended and of vehicle security in general.”

NTI recommends taking the following security precautions:

  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Try to plan your rest stops at designated, populated sites.
  • Lock doors and fully close windows whenever the vehicle is left unattended, eg. fuelling up or bathroom stop.
  • Store valuables and electronic devices away from being seen through windows.
  • Check the security of your load during every rest period to ensure nothing has been tampered with.


The NHVR’s “On the Road” E-newsletter includes articles this week on:

  • Funding boost for heavy vehicle safety projects
  • Consultation on fatigue
  • Transporting loads safely
  • Oversize hay baler combinations
  • Truckie toolboxes
  • Chain of responsibility workshops

Click here for more information or to subscribe.

Posted in General News | Comments Off on ALRTA News – 10 November 2017

ALRTA News – 3 November 2017


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.



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?



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.



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 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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.

Posted in General News | Comments Off on ALRTA News – 3 November 2017

ALRTA News – 20 October 2017


We are delighted to formally announce our partnership with Lowes Petroleum (Lowes). Today is Lowes 40th anniversary and we are excited to work with Lowes to achieve more great outcomes for our industry in the future. For forty years, Lowes  has consistently provided quality products as well as better and more effective solutions for their customer’s ever changing needs.

Many of our members already use Lowes services and the good news is that any ALRTA member who signs up to or has an existing Lowes BP+ Card will be entitled to a significant fuel discount.


  • No Monthly Fees or No Transaction Fees
    • Convenient Online Portal Access
    • Australian Staffed Call Centre based in Armidale
    • Itemised Transaction Report
    • Access over 1400 BP Service Stations
    • Discounts offered:

Diesel Key Site* 5.80 cpl
Diesel Preferred Site 3.80 cpl
ULP 2.30 cpl

To sign up for a Lowes BP+ card and receive your discount, simply follow these 3 steps:

Lowes BP+ Card sign-up process for
ALRTA Members

1. Open an account with Lowes Petroleum Service,

2. Enter Your ALRTA Member Number in the Promotion Code
(If you don’t know your member number, please contact your local secretariat)

3. Enjoy the benefits of the Lowes BP Plus Card

Already have a Lowes Account & BP Plus Card?
To opt into the ALRTA discounts contact your local Sales Person or Lowes
Card Team in Armidale will assist you. Email or call on 1300 663 277. Please have your Lowes Petroleum Account Number at hand.

Click here to download a flyer with these instructions for future reference.

If you have any issues signing up, please contact or call 1300 663 277.

Thank you to Lowes for their support of our industry and we encourage our members to consider Lowes products if you do not use them already. To find out more about Lowes, please visit



ALRTA tendered a submission to NHVR this week in response to the Notice of Proposed Rule Making: Private use of fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles – Proposed work and rest hours exemption.

ALRTA strongly supports the proposal to count a limited amount of private use of a heavy vehicle as ‘rest’ during the working week and during the 24hr rest break so that drivers who can’t get home can access decent amenities.   The NHVR consultation material acknowledges that it was ALRTA that formally requested that this issue be included as part of the NHVR’s work program for 2017.

We have made 17 recommendations as part of our submission which together aim to minimise red tape and maximise flexibility while also maintaining safety.  ALRTA met face-to-face with NHVR in Brisbane this week to discuss our position in detail.

ALRTA thanks all of our member associations and grass-roots members who provided their views to us during the consultation period.

It is expected that NHVR will now publish a summary of comments received and a notice of final rule making in the next two weeks.



Regular readers will know that ALRTA has been progressing a broad campaign during 2017 to establish roadside effluent disposal infrastructure, starting with a demonstration site in south east Queensland.

This week, ALRTA representatives (Kevin Keenan, Linley Miners, Ross Fraser, Graeme Hoare, Fiona Wild, Mark Collins and Mathew Munro) met with important stakeholders including:

  • QLD Department of Transport and Main Roads;
  • Toowoomba Regional Council;
  • Lockyear Valley Regional Council; and
  • National Farmers Federation.

Overall, we are making excellent progress in raising awareness and establishing partnerships via which we can turn the dream into a reality.  Stay tuned for more information in coming weeks.



While we were in Brisbane this week, our delegation participated in an important meeting with key stakeholders including NHVR, NSW RMS, QLD TMR and QLD Police to discuss problems with the design/application of IAP and to explore sensible alternatives.

As outlined in our recent submission on the draft 2017 Higher Mass Limits Declaration, we consider that IAP is a basket case of red-tape that has failed to improve access, protect vulnerable infrastructure or even be a workable enforcement tool.

After eight years of mandatory IAP, it was past time for a frank discussion. To their credit, the government representatives agreed that IAP is not delivering what was originally intended and are willing to work with industry to find an alternative solution that better manages route integrity.

NHVR will now facilitate an ongoing consultation process through which industry and government can work together to jointly develop an alternative proposal – a great first step in the right direction!



ALRTA representatives Mick Debenham (LRTAV) and Mathew Munro (ALRTA Executive Director) met with Standards Australia in Melbourne this week to discuss the process for developing a national ramp standard.  We were also accompanied by Kevin Simmonds who previously worked as a Worksafe Victoria inspector and was a major contributor during the development of our national ramp guidelines.

ALRTA will now submit a formal project proposal and commence consultation with key safety authorities and supply chain parties.  We expect that a standard will take around two years to develop and agree.



While in Melbourne, Mick and I also attended a meeting of the NTC Industry Advisory Group.   Topics included the Load Restraint Guide, PBS review, automated vehicles and the NTC’s future work program.  NTC will present two business cases for ministerial consideration in November relating to the regulation of new vehicle types (e.g. small delivery vehicles using footpaths) and minimising driver distractions.

One of the most interesting topics was a panel session of three new businesses that are using digital platforms to match up unused capacity of transport providers with potential customers in the trucking and aviation sectors.  These new digital platforms raise important questions about regulation and chain of responsibility.



The NTC Fatigue Project Steering Committee met this week in Melbourne.  ALRTA was represented by Tom Allen, LRTAV member and Managing Director of TGR Transport.  The Committee discussed project milestones, budget, expenditure, risks and how to better recruit and engage with industry participants.



The ALRTA chaired a teleconference of our National-State Secretariat staff from around the country this week.  These meetings are a great way to discuss internal operational issues to ensure that we deliver excellent service to our members and corporate partners.

One of the most important issues discussed was the decision of the ALRTA National Council to develop a single national database.  As member-based associations there can be no doubt that our most valuable asset is you!  In the ‘information age’ expectations are rapidly changing around how we collect and manage information about our members.  Basically, it is essential that we know more about your businesses and how they are changing so we can provide the highest possible level of service to meet your specific needs.  We will keep you informed as this major project develops.

The Secretariats will next meet via teleconference in late November 2017.



It has been a special week for Frasers Livestock Transport.

Last Saturday, Ross Fraser OAM was presented with the Industry Excellence Award at the 27th Queensland Trucking Association Annual Industry Awards.  The award recognises a lifetime of achievement in his road transport business and industry associations including the ALRTA, LRTAQ, QTA and ATA.

To cap off a great week, Frasers Livestock Transport Fleet Manager, Mark Collins, was awarded the 2017 Craig Roseneder Award at the ATA Technical and Maintenance Conference.  The award recognises the excellence and professionalism of the men and women who work behind the scenes in the trucking industry’s workshops.

ALRTA congratulates Ross and Mark who are both important contributors in our association’s technical and policy program – well done!



As a leading road safety advocate, NTI is encouraging professional drivers to take extra care on the roads during October and November due to a consistent increase in the frequency of claims.

“NTI’s data, including our 2017 National Truck Accident Research Report, shows that, year on year, October and November are amongst the worst months for claims frequency,” said NTI CEO Tony Clark.

“In 2016, we saw in increase of over 70% in the number of collision claims being reported in October and November.

“This not only included collisions with other vehicles, but also with roundabouts, power poles and more.

“At NTI, we know that the majority of truck drivers on our roads are highly skilled professionals who lead by example in sharing the road, however it’s important that all drivers are proactive and take extra care during the busy lead-up to the holiday season.”

To download your free copy of the 2017 National Truck Accident Research Report, click here.


Fuel Tax Credits

The ATO will hold an online webinar on how to get fuel tax credits right.  The webinar will be held on 2 November 2017 and will cover:

  • why and when rates change and how to work out which rate to use
  • records that need to be kept
  • tools and tips to help save time and get claims right, including the simplified ways to keep records and calculate claims.

You can register now to join the webinar. A recording will be available for those who can’t attend it live.

Legal Obligations for Agribusiness

Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers are holding an online webinar on 2 November 2017 covering legal obligations for the agribusiness sector including chain of responsibility.

To register click here.




Posted in General News | Comments Off on ALRTA News – 20 October 2017

ALRTA News – 13 October 2017


The Australian Government has proposed to close FIRS to new entrants from 1 July 2018 and fully close the scheme by 30 June 2019.

The proposal is outlined in a consultation paper released by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

FIRS commenced in 1987 and applied only to vehicles weighing more than 4.5 tonnes that are solely involved in interstate trade or commerce.  FIRS vehicles are not subject to state-based stamp duty tax for new vehicle purchases.

The number of FIRS vehicles peaked in in 2007-08 at 22,000 and has since declined to around 14,000 (or 1.6% of the total fleet) with the decline predicted to continue.

Governments first committed to closing FIRS in 2009 on the condition that it be replaced by a national registration scheme.  It is now expected that a national scheme will commence in HVNL jurisdictions from 1 July 2018 including:

  • A national registration plate;
  • Abolition of registration labels;
  • Flexible options for transactions; and
  • More seamless interstate registration transfer capability.

A one-off stamp duty exemption will apply to FIRS vehicles moving into the new national registration system.

If you will be affected by the proposal, please consider the consultation paper and either lodge a submission or contact the ALRTA to share your views.

ALRTA will carefully consider the proposal and make appropriate representations on the matter.

Submissions can be made via mail, email or phone by 27 October 2017.



Industry has lodged a submission to NTC on heavy vehicle charges for 2018-19 and 2019-20.

A reported last week, ALRTA and other national associations, recently attended an NTC briefing on charging options during which it was apparent that governments are considering either:

  1. freezing total revenue raised; or
  2. freezing the current rate of registration and road user charges.

Since 2014-15 the ALRTA has called for governments to immediately return to fair cost recovery in line with the recommendations arising from a comprehensive NTC charging review.  However, governments still refuse to consider this option and remain intent on overcharging – the only question is by ‘how much’.

The options were considered at a special meeting of the ATA Transport and Economics Committee.  While neither option will immediately resolve the current over-charging problem, freezing total revenue is the faster pathway to fair cost-recovery – provided that governments continue to increase spending on road infrastructure.

If governments are to re-gain the trust of industry on this matter, it is imperative that we return to fair cost-recovery before embarking on broader charging reform.

A single unified submission has be lodged by ATA ahead of a charging decision in November 2017.



The ALRTA and ATA have made a joint submission to NHVR on the 2017 draft National B-Double Notice and Road Train Notice.

The draft notices will generally improve harmonisation across HVNL jurisdictions with more consistent definitions, weights, dimensions and network integration.

We have made several recommendations seeking:

  • discontinuation of the ‘XY’ rule for tri-tri B-double combinations;
  • removal of the requirement to plate/label front underrun protection devices in in ACT and Tasmania for vehicles ADR plated 2012 or later;
  • clarification of and exemption for ‘small’ or non-structural forward protrusions;
  • removal of prescriptive axle group guidance for road trains (with existing ADR definitions to instead be used); and
  • Removal of engine performance requirements for B-triples and AB-triples.

While supporting the removal of many superfluous notice conditions that do not have a legislative basis in the HVNL, ALRTA & ATA have cautioned that the NHVR must first ensure that an alternative nationally consistent approach is in place.  We cannot afford to have the harmonisation effort undermined by inconsistent approaches at the state-level.

Next week, ALRTA and state association representatives are heading to Brisbane to discuss the inconsistent approach to IAP with NHVR, RMS, TMR and the National Farmers Federation.



We are delighted to advise that we have agreed a national partnership with Lowes Petroleum. Lowes has extensive local experience in rural and regional Australia and offers our members local service throughout their growing network of bulk fuel and lubricant depots, delivery vehicles and retail service stations.

Many of our members already use Lowes services and the good news is that any ALRTA member who signs up to or has an existing Lowes BP+ Card will be entitled to a significant fuel discount.

Watch this space! We will provide the details about our newest partner next week including how to link your Lowes BP+ card to attain the discount and everything else you need to know. The agreement takes effect from 20 October 2017.


In the meantime, it is a great opportunity to support a worthy cause as Lowes have partnered with The MND and Me Foundation to raise funds to care for and to cure Motor Neurone Disease.

Show your support and buy a raffle ticket from just $5. There are excellent prizes on offer as Lowes will be giving away over 40 fuel vouchers valued at $1100 for first place all the way through to $100. Click the link below to buy your ticket now!



ALRTA would not be the force it is without the support of our national sponsors.  In fact, it is more accurate to think of these relationships as national partnerships.

This week ALRTA headed to Melbourne to meet with PACCAR & Dealer, Cummins and Beaurepaires.  Our representatives included ALRTA National President (Kevin Keenan), two members of our Large and National Operators Chapter (Robert Cavanagh and Ross Fraser) and ALRTA Executive Director (Mathew Munro).

As you would expect, each of our partners is keen to discuss how to best market their quality products and services to our members.  But equally, they want to know how we are using their generous financial support to improve safety and viability in the rural transport sector.

We really do have a great story to tell about our transition and achievements over recent years and I am sure that this will translate into continuing strong support from our national partners into 2018 and beyond!

Photo (L to R): Kevin Keenan, Robert Cavanagh and Ross Fraser.



The ATA has lodged a submission in response to the NTC’s consultation paper on ‘Assessing the effectiveness of the PBS scheme’.   ATA has made nine recommendations focussed on streamlined PBS vehicle approval pathways, improving access for higher productivity vehicles and opposing use of a performance based approach to assess and register new heavy vehicles over 42.5 tonnes.

Click here to read the ATA submission.



A stolen fertiliser truck that crashed into a building at Singleton in the Hunter Valley is a wake-up call for drivers to secure their vehicles at all times, says Australian Trucking Association CEO Ben Maguire.

‘News reports that the truck was stolen from a service station at Murrurundi are a shock and have hit home amongst the Australian trucking community’, said Mr Maguire.

‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the driver, those injured, and the Singleton community.

‘An incident resulting from an unsecure truck as we have seen in Singleton today, can have a devastating impact.

‘Trucks and other commercial vehicles are easy to access, and this is a warning to all drivers and operators that trucks and loads must be secured at all times,’ he says.

‘Keeping your trucks safe and secure is absolutely essential in today’s heightened security environment, no matter where you are, how small the rest stop or how safe you feel. Sadly, this has become our new norm.’

Mr Maguire says there has been an increase in truck theft since 2014 with around 1,200 trucks are stolen each year from a national fleet of 500,000.

‘Truck security can be simple and that complex regimes don’t have to be implemented. ‘We need to talk to our mates and make security a normal part of our routines,’ he says.

‘Be aware of your surroundings, lock your truck at all times and keep your keys safe. Know where your vehicle is and who has access. If you’re hiring drivers, always do a check for the right licence and other genuine documents.

‘Truckies also need to know their loads. Check your load regularly, especially when you’ve been away from your vehicle. Always make sure your load is secure, particularly if it’s something of value, like fuel.’

Mr Maguire says all truckies should have a security plan so drivers know what to do if something happens. ‘It may be as simple as checking in regularly as part of your fatigue management plan to make sure people know where you are and what you’re doing’, he says.

‘And if you don’t already, then consider using a reporting system during or on completion of a job to make sure people know you’re safe and the location of your vehicle.’



Building on the significant developmental momentum achieved earlier in the year, Women & Leadership Australia is administering a national initiative to support the development of female leaders across Australia’s farming and agriculture sector.

The initiative is providing women with grants of between $3,000 and $8,000 to enable participation in a range of leadership development programs.

The scholarship funding is provided with the specific intent of providing powerful and effective development opportunities for farming and agriculture sector women; however the funding is strictly limited and has to be allocated prior to the end of 2017.

Expressions of Interest
Find out more and register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest form here prior to 15 December 2017.



NHVR’s “On the Road” E-newsletter contains some interesting articles this week on:

  • Recording Hours in Different Time Zones
  • Update on Electronic Work Diaries
  • An independent review of heavy vehicle accreditation schemes (incl. NHVAS and TruckSafe)
  • Chain of Responsibility Information Sessions

Click here for more information or to subscribe.

Posted in General News | Comments Off on ALRTA News – 13 October 2017