ALRTA News – 4 August 2017


The NHVR-ALRTA Safety Innovation Award is a joint Government-Industry initiative that recognises and rewards rural road transport operators who have identified Heavy Vehicle National Law related safety risks and implemented successful, innovative control measures.

ALRTA President Kevin Keenan said that the national award highlights the shared interest of government and industry in improving safety and compliance generally, and encourages a proactive approach to safety across the rural road transport sector.

“We have had applicants from NSW, WA, SA, QLD and VIC. The great national representation illustrates a culture shift around the country towards identifying and addressing particular safety risks in their business,” said Mr Keenan.

“These finalists have identified a safety risk in their business and have implemented an innovation measure to combat this risk. We have seen some impressive results from such innovations and significant improvements to safety overall.

“The ALRTA provides support to our members through our state associations to ensure they are kept informed of any new legal standards and industry best practice. It is encouraging to see that operators are proactively adjusting their approach to risk management as the standards change.”

NHVR CEO, Sal Petroccitto says that safety is paramount to the NHVR.

“We want to encourage all operators to be proactive and responsible in doing everything they can to have the appropriate safety procedures in place.

“We are delighted to see that ALRTA members and the industry in general is embracing this philosophy,” Mr Petroccitto said.

The winner will receive a $5,000 safety development fund to encourage both individual and organisational continuous improvement in relation to safety. They will also be nationally recognised as the first recipient of the award and a plaque will be awarded to both the winner and their transport business.

The award will be announced at the LRTAV Conference 11 August 2017 in Torquay, Victoria.

The finalists for the 2017 ALRTA/NHVR Safety Innovation Award:

Athol Carter, Frasers Transport, QLD
Undertook a complete organisational safety review and implemented processes and training to improve operations where safety improvement opportunities were identified.

Dean Clarke, Hopkins Transport, NSW
Instilled an emphasis on correctly and consistently performing safe operating procedures through the roll out of an organisation-wide program.

Graeme Hoare, Martin Group, NSW
Introduced lower speeds set in speed limiter and GPS based alert system for speeding. Achieved 90% less speed occurrence since introduction of new systems.

Marcus Watson, Marley’s Transport, WA
Installed seeing machines to fleet vehicles identified as high risk. This influenced safer driving behaviour and reduced driver fatigue and loss of concentration on the road.

Peter Callanan, Shanahan’s Livestock Transport, VIC
Improved carrier-customer communications and expectations to more safely and better manage livestock loads and driver rest.
Ron Harvey, Dennis Transport, SA
Undertook extensive review into safety risks to improve safety procedures. Introduced measures to counter identified risks such as live fatigue feeds, GPS vehicle tracking, speed controls and safety refresher training.



The ALRTA-NHVR Livestock and Rural Industry Operators Group met in Brisbane this week.  The group meets twice annually and membership includes the ALRTA President, Vice President and Executive Director, plus the Presidents of each of our six State Associations.

The IOG meetings are our best opportunity to discuss important issues in the presence of NHVR senior management and operational staff.  The NHVR CEO was present for most of the meeting which really helps to drive outcomes.

Major topics of discussion included: effluent, fatigue, local access, permits, the NHVR portal and National Harmonisation Project.



While ALRTA was in Brisbane meeting with NHVR we took the opportunity to formally sign the NHVR Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative Funding Agreement that will enable us to carry out our user-pay PAL frame project over 2017-18.

Above: ALRTA National President, Kevin Keenan, and NHVR CEO, Sal Petroccitto, sign the grant contract and discuss loading frames



From 1 August 2017, fuel tax credit rates increased for fuel acquired in line with fuel excise duty rate changes. Rates also changed on 1 July 2017 due to a reduction in the road user charge and an annual increase to excise duty rates on biofuels.

You can find the new rates here.

There are tools to assist calculating and claiming fuel tax credits:

  • Use the fuel tax credit calculator online or in the ATO app to save time. It will be updated with the new rates for August once they are in effect.
  • For businesses that claim less than $10,000 in fuel tax credits each year, use simplified ways to calculate fuel tax credit claims and keep records.


TruckSafe, which is managed by the Australian Trucking Association, is changing the name of the TruckCare module to the Animal Welfare Module. The new name is being celebrated at a launch in Yass, NSW, on Tuesday 15 August.  Operators, media and other interested persons are invited to attend.

“The new name reflects the focus of this module,” said TruckSafe National Manager, Justin Fleming. “This module is all about animal welfare and is a quality and safety management system for livestock transport businesses, big and small alike. Accreditation by operators shows their commitment to industry best practice and their clients in all aspects of their business”.

The Animal Welfare Module, which is unique to TruckSafe, is the voluntary sixth step in the process to gaining full accreditation. To gain accreditation, TruckSafe members must first become accredited in the first five standards. These standards are:

  • Management
  • Maintenance
  • Training
  • On-road Compliance
  • Fitness for Duty and Driver Health

“Operators who have Animal Welfare accreditation will adhere to the strictest conditions for transporting animals and are operating at the highest standard possible in Australia. These operators have gone the extra mile to adopt a management system that assures their clients that procedures for transporting livestock exceed national minimum standards,” said Mr Fleming.

David Rogers, owner of DT Rogers Bulk and Livestock Transport, has been Trucksafe accredited since 1998 and gained Animal Welfare accreditation four years ago.

“Trucksafe’s Animal Welfare module reflects the challenges facing the livestock transport industry and being accredited reflects my commitment to best practice,” said Mr Rogers.

Operators who produce TruckCare certification are not accredited, as these are no longer valid. New Animal Welfare Module certification must be produced to validate accreditation.

To attend the launch, please RSVP to Kevin Walsh by 10 August at



The Australian Trucking Association can today reveal the epic size of the tax office’s failure to consult about its decision to slash employee truck driver travel expenses.

During the 2017-18 income year, the tax office will allow employee truck drivers to claim just $55.30 per day in travel expenses (excluding accommodation) without detailed receipts. In 2016-17, the amount allowed was $97.40. In the same determination, the tax office increased the reasonable food and drink allowance for comparable employees in other industries from $106.90 per day to $109.35 per day.

ATA Chair Geoff Crouch said that a check of ATA member associations showed that none had received the consultation paper that the tax office says it issued on 30 September 2016.

“Even the tax office has now admitted that it did not receive a single response from trucking industry associations in response to the paper,” Mr Crouch said.

“The lack of responses should have been a red flag for the tax office that something had gone wrong with its consultation process.

“One of their highly paid staff, who all receive travel allowance without needing to lodge receipts, should have picked up the phone, sent a follow up email or called a meeting. But nobody bothered.

“By sifting through the tax office website, the ATA has now located the tax office’s copy of the consultation paper that we didn’t receive.

“The paper does not provide any evidence to support the decision to slash the reasonable amount for truck driver claims. There are no statistics, case studies or references to relevant court or AAT cases.

“There are just vague assertions and a question, completely unsupported by evidence, about whether the truck driver rate should be set as a percentage of what is called the ‘other country centre rate.’

“If the ATA had been asked, and we weren’t, we would have said the percentage should be 100 per cent.

“The tax office should reverse its determination, rewrite its consultation paper to include actual facts and consult again,” he said.

Mr Crouch said the ATA was particularly disappointed in this epic consultation fail because the tax office’s work with industry was generally of a very high quality.

“The ATA has long been a member of the tax office Fuel Schemes Stakeholder Group. Its consultation with industry through this group has been exemplary, and as a result we have got some great results for trucking operators,” he said.

Read the tax office consultation paper that they buried on their website



There are several free subscription services that can deliver timely news relevant to your road transport business. Here are a few suggestions:

NHVR ‘On the Road’ Newsletter

NTC E-Newsletter

ATA Friday Facts





Members are advised that the ALRTA will be holding a Council meeting and AGM on Thursday, 10 August 2017.  Details are:

Start: 2:00pm
Close: 9:00pm
Location: RACV Torquay Resort, 1 Great Ocean Road, Torquay, Victoria.

For more information please contact the ALRTA Secretariat.



LRTAV Conference

The LRTAV Annual State Conference will be held 11-12 August 2017 at the RACV Resort in Torquay.

Check here for more information.

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ALRTA News – 28 July 2017


The NHVR has met with industry representatives in Canberra to provide a briefing on the National Harmonisation Program (NHP) which aims to minimise the compliance burden by reducing duplication and inconsistencies across state and territory borders.

Industry associations present included ALRTA, LBRCA, ATA, NatRoad and ALC.

The first phase of the NHP is aiming to develop:

1.    National HML Declaration
2.    Class 2 B-double Notice
3.    Class 2 Road Train Notice
4.    Class 1 Agricultural Vehicle and Combination Notice

Currently, there is a range of different notices established across the HVNL States and Territories that include inconsistent definitions and conditions for routes, days, hours and vehicles.

Ideally, your vehicle should be able to enter a stated network type (e.g. B-double) in South Australia and then travel through each state all the way to the top of Queensland under the exact same conditions.

While this will be of benefit, it will remain the case that once your vehicle turns off the notice network, you will be straight back into the ‘last mile’ permit system and all of the inconsistencies that still persist across the various state and local authorities.

The NHVR has established a government-industry working group to consider options for sensible harmonisation.   ALRTA is represented by LRTASA President David Smith and LRTAQ member Mark Collins.

During the briefing, NHVR presented the preliminary results of the project.

There are many proposed changes in each notice category that will help to improve consistency.  However, it does appear that the application of IAP to HML is likely to remain at the discretion of each state.  While we have put many strong arguments to the NHVR to remove the IAP requirement, there is one jurisdiction that just refuses to listen.

The NHVR will be consulting on the final recommendations in the near future.

Click here to find out more about the National Harmonisation Program.

You may also be interested in checking out the NHVR’s new chart detailing 39 common heavy vehicle combinations with information about weight, length and class.



Under Australian tax law, employee truck drivers who receive a travel allowance are entitled to claim a ‘reasonable amount’ on food and drink they consume while travelling – without having to keep receipts (Note: owner-drivers must keep receipts for all claims).

The ATO has recently issued a Taxation Determination (TD 2017/19) that substantially reduces the ‘reasonable amount’ from $97.40 per day to just $55.30 per day – a 43% reduction!

While the ATO has stated that stakeholders were invited to comment on the proposal, industry associations and unions are adamant that no consultation was offered.  The ALRTA is expecting the ATA and its level state associations to take up this issue on behalf of the broader road transport industry.



The ALRTA has tendered a submission in response to the Australian Government Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities.

The Inquiry, to be assisted by a four member expert panel, will examine regulatory and investment barriers as well as opportunities to improve freight capacity and reduce business costs. The scope of the Inquiry is extremely broad ranging, considering road, rail, air and sea and how all of these interact, plus how multi-modal freight can best co-exist with passenger movements.

The ALRTA has recommended that the Australian Government should progress three priorities:

  1. Heavy vehicle charging and investment reform – including discontinuing overcharging and moving to independent charging decision making;
  2. Improving road service level standards – including establishing a special fund to immediately commence work on upgrading important regional freight and tourism routes and considering the need for managed effluent disposal sites; and
  3. Improving road access for high productivity vehicles.


Following on from our meeting with JBS at Brooklyn last week, ALRTA representatives met with AVDATA this this week to discuss the technical feasibility of installing a billing and data collection system on a pivot access unloading frame.

In short, there will be some minor challenges to ensure correct installation on the new equipment type, but these can be overcome with a little creativity.  We are confident that the AVDATA billing system is technically feasible and will collect sufficient data to analyse productivity outcomes.



ALRTA was pleased to welcome PACCAR Parts representatives John Everett, Trevor Dickson and David Soemali to our new office to discuss ways that we can further enhance our national partnership.

Over the course of the meeting and the dinner that followed, we talked about the innovative new communication strategies being explored by PACCAR Parts to engage with their customers.  Member-based associations like the ALRTA can learn a lot from what ‘big business’ is doing in the digital space.

PACCAR Parts is committed to continuing their support for our family of associations and we hope to announce exciting new benefits for our grass-roots members in the near future.


Following the recent re-location of our National Secretariat to the ATA Building in Forrest ACT, we are pleased to advise that ALRTA has agreed terms to lease our previous office to a new tenant for three years from August 2017.  The agreement requires ALRTA to provide new carpet, new lighting and some basic furniture.  All upgrades were completed this week.

Income generated from the leasing arrangement will substantially offset the cost of our new office.



Members are advised that the ALRTA will be holding a Council meeting and AGM on Thursday, 10 August 2017.  Details are:

Start: 2:00pm
Close: 9:00pm
Location: RACV Torquay Resort, 1 Great Ocean Road, Torquay, Victoria.

For more information please contact the ALRTA Secretariat.



LRTAV Conference

The LRTAV Annual State Conference will be held 11-12 August 2017 at the RACV Resort in Torquay.

Check here for more information

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ALRTA News – 21 July 2017


The ALRTA met with the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP, in Melbourne this week.  Our delegation included ALRTA President (Kevin Keenan), LRTAV President (Graeme Howell), ALRTA Animal Welfare Chair (John Beer) and the ALRTA Executive Director (Mathew Munro).

The main topics of discussion were heavy vehicle charging, user-pay ramps and roadside effluent disposal infrastructure.  Minister Chester was ‘all ears’ on these important issues and genuinely knows about, and wants to fix, the declining state of regional roads that support the agricultural supply chain and tourism.

The meeting was an important element of our strategy to establish a network of managed roadside effluent disposal sites starting in SE QLD.  The LRTAQ President (Ian Wild), ALRTA VP (Graeme Hoare) and Fiona Wild recently raised this same issue with the QLD Transport Minister.

Photo: (left to right) Beer, Keenan, Minister Chester, Howell, Munro.



While  in Melbourne, our ALRTA reps ventured out to Brooklyn to meet with JBS.

The NHVR has recently granted ALRTA $95k under the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative 2017-18 to construct and operate a pivot access unloading frame on a user-pay basis. This milestone project will examine whether or not a user-pay model could rapidly improve safety and productivity in the livestock supply chain.

We thank JBS for the opportunity to make our pitch and provide detail on the steps involved.  The reception was positive and management are now considering the partnership offer.



The ATA has made a submission in response to the Australian Government discussion paper on options for independent price regulation of heavy vehicle charges.  The ALRTA supplied detailed comments to the ATA as part of the internal consultation process which are well reflected in the final submission.

Industry is strongly supportive of removing the ‘politics’ from HV charging decisions.

You only have to look at the $1bn of HV overcharging projected to occur as a result of the 2014 Transport and Infrastructure Ministerial Council decision, and the fact that around 75% of fuel tax collected is not even spent on roads, to know that a political process is not the ideal mechanism to recover costs from road users.

However, the appropriate choice of price regulator is highly dependent on the type of charging reform ultimately imposed on the HV industry – a decision that will be considered by Ministers in November 2017.



The ACT government has handed back Class 3 heavy vehicle permit processing to the NHVR.

This follows the lead of South Australia, where Class 3 permits were returned to NHVR from 10 April 2017.

It’s not earthshattering stuff, but it is a sure sign that state jurisdictions are becoming increasingly confident in the NHVR’s ability to manage the permit process and we can expect more to follow.

The positive experience is also being shared by operators, with well over 90% of permit applications now being received via the NHVR’s online portal and we are hearing great reports about the online journey planner.



If you operate 5 trucks or fewer, you can enrol to vote and have your say in the trucking industry’s national elections.

The Australian Trucking Association’s General Council sets the strategic direction and policy for the trucking industry’s peak body. Every two years, owner drivers with one truck and small fleet operators with 2-5 trucks elect two representatives to the ATA General Council.

To register to vote in ATA elections, you must own, be purchasing or leasing 1-5 trucks over 4.5 tonnes.  You must also provide a valid ABN and an email address that is unique to you. A webmail address is fine.

Elections are conducted entirely online, using a secure voting system.

The next election will be held in early 2019, but the electoral roll has just reopened after the 2017 election.

Sign up now to receive future updates and to make sure your voice is heard.

Enrol to vote now

More information on the ATA General Council



The judging panel for the NHVR-ALRTA Safety Innovation Award met this week to discuss applications and the assessment process.  Look out for an announcement about the finalists soon.

The award will be presented at the LRTAV Conference on 11 August 2017.



The ALRTA Executive met via teleconference this week.  The main topics of discussion included our recent move to the ATA building, leasing of our previous premises, sponsor partnerships, grant funding contractual arrangements and political activities.


Members are advised that the ALRTA will be holding a Council meeting on Thursday, 10 August 2017.  Details are:

Start: 2:00pm
Close: 9:00pm
Location: RACV Torquay Resort, 1 Great Ocean Road, Torquay, Victoria.

For more information please contact the ALRTA Secretariat.


LRTAV Conference

The LRTAV Annual State Conference will be held 11-12 August 2017 at the RACV Resort in Torquay.

Check here for more information.

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ALRTA News – 14 July 2017


The 2nd TruckCare Review Workshop was held in Canberra this week with a focus on how to comply with the revised standards.  Agreement has also been reached on a new name for the system – stay tuned for an announcement soon.


The NTC has released a package of proposed amendments to the Australian Road Rules for Public consultation. Most of the proposals are general in nature , but there are some interesting proposals relating to mobile phone, visual display units and heavy/long vehicles stopping on a road.

ALRTA Council will consider proposals in August 2017.

More information can be found here


Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers have advised ALRTA that new legislation passed in Queensland has introduced Australia’s first licensing system for the labour hire industry.

This means that transport companies providing labour hire to other companies in the same group will need to be licensed or significant penalties will apply.

Check out this alert for more information.


Members are advised that the ALRTA will be holding a Council meeting on Thursday, 10 August 2017.  Details are:

Start: 2:00pm
Close: 9:00pm
Location: RACV Torquay Resort, 1 Great Ocean Road, Torquay, Victoria.

For more information please contact the ALRTA Secretariat.


LRTAV Conference

The LRTAV Annual State Conference will be held 11-12 August 2017 at the RACV Resort in Torquay.

Check here for more information.

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ALRTA News – 7 July 2017


ALRTA is delighted to announce a national partnership with Australia’s leading manufacturer of specialised Livestock and Bulk Transport Equipment – Byrne Trailers.

A proud family owned and operated business, Laurence Michael (Mick) and Teri Byrne founded Byrne Trailers in 1974 in Peak Hill, NSW.  Today, Mick takes an advisory role while Teri continues to actively work in the business.

In 1998, Byrne Trailers established extensive manufacturing facilities in Wagga Wagga and in 1993 added an additional manufacturing and service depot in Toowoomba.  There is also a sales office in Noosa.

Photo: President Keenan and David Byrne at the Byrne Head Office in Wagga Wagga.

Over the years, Byrne have been credited with designing and commercialising a number of revolutionary monoque trailers including the 4×2 convertible livestock trailer and the 2 deck cattle trailer.  Byrne were the first in the industry to introduce airbag suspensions.

This innovation continues today with the introduction of an amazing stainless steel product range.

Byrne also operate a rental service with a range of trailers available including flat tops, road train dollies, tippers, drop deck and walking floor.

We encourage all members to consider Byrne Trailers when you need a new trailer, rental, service or repair.

Click here to learn more about Byrne Trailers, including contacts and detailed product information.



The NHVR has introduced a new category of vehicle defect notice known as a ‘Self-Clearing Defect Notice’.

From 1 July 2017, authorised enforcement officers will have the option of issuing a self-clearing defect notice for non-safety related defects such as a cracked light lens, chipped windscreen (outside the normal field of vision), obscured number plate, or a failed brake light (when all others are working).

Operators will have 28 days to rectify the defect and will not have to present the vehicle to an approved person to clear the notice.

Authorised officers will be able to check on past self-clearing defect notices at future intercepts and a $3,000 fine will apply if the defect has not been rectified with the 28 day period.

The new defect notice option will reduce red-tape and unnecessary cost.  In most cases, the cost of taking vehicle off the road for inspection far outweighed the cost of rectifying a minor defect.  Operators in remote areas should especially benefit from the change.

The NTC recommended the change following the 2015 Review of Heavy Vehicle Roadworthiness.

The ALRTA applauds the NTC and NHVR for the change, even though it might be said that it is long overdue.



The ALRTA National President and Executive Director attended the LRTAWA Annual Conference held in Bunbury last weekend.  The conference was opened with a special video message from Prime Minister Turnbull after which operators had a chance to ask questions during a forum with Main Roads WA.

There were certainly a lot of questions asked and suggestions made about further road improvements.  The new self-clearing defect notices in the Eastern States hadn’t gone unnoticed and operators pressed Main Roads WA to follow the NHVR’s lead as soon as possible!

Dr Rod Thompson gave an important presentation about the role of heavy vehicle drivers being aware of and reporting unusual livestock disease symptoms.  There is a lot on the line when a foot-and-mouth outbreak could effectively shut down our industry for a minimum of two years.

There was a strong focus on new technology and how this will impact on our transport future.  Mr Craig Rispin gave a thought provoking keynote address in which he told us that the Uber of freight has already started…are you ready for the changes? NHVR advised delegates about work underway to establish an AFM template that can allow WA drivers to operate seamlessly in Eastern States.

Sometimes the best entertainment you can have at a function is a great MC, and Mr Tiny Holly certainly delivered that on Saturday night.  There were times when I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but the man truly knows how to play a crowd.

I’d also like to make special mention of LRTAWA members and supporters who put themselves on the line to raise more than $5,000 to help kids with cancer.  Who would have thought that a dunking machine could make such a difference in just 30min?

ALRTA congratulates the LRTAWA Executive elected at the AGM:

·         President: Stephen Marley

·         VP Livestock: Shannon Dawson

·         VP Bulk: Darren Power

·         Treasurer: Mark Sullivan



An ALRTA Working Group met via teleconference this week to discuss the Federal Government’s proposal to mandate electronic stability control on all new trucks and trailers.  While we are generally supportive of the proposal, the working group is refining our position by discussing options for exempting road train dollies and voltage issues for longer combinations.

ALRTA and ATA are working on a joint submission ahead of a regulatory impact statement expected next month.



The ALRTA National Secretariat has officially moved into our new office in the ATA owned building.  If you are in or around Canberra, please come and say hello!  You will find our door right between the ATA and NatRoad.

You can find us at:

Level 3, Minster Ellison Building
25 National Circuit
Forrest ACT 2603



The NTC is consulting on proposed changes to the Load Restraint Guide.

Check out the revised version here.

If you spot any problems or have any suggestions, please contact the ALRTA Secretariat.



LRTAV Conference

The LRTAV Annual State Conference will be held 11-12 August 2017 at the RACV Resort in Torquay.

Check here for more information.

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