Weekly News – O’Hara Transport, Driver Health, Permit Processing, Mandatory ABS on New A-Trailers

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The ALRTA congratulates Mick and Ros O’Hara of O’Hara Transport who were recently inducted into the National Road Transport Hall of Fame.

The O’Haras have a long and successful history in livestock transport operating out of Meningie, South Australia.   With solid support from Ros who ran the company office while raising three sons, Mick has previously served as LRTASA State President, ALRTA National President and on the Board of the ATA. O’Hara Transport was a founding member of TruckCare and the business has won several prestigious awards for excellence. Mick is an honorary life member of both the LRTASA and ALRTA.

You can read more about the O’Haras and other worthy inductees at: http://www.roadtransporthall.com/o/1586-14-o-hara-mick-ros


The ALRTA has released the first in a new series of member-only fact sheets focusing on health issues in the trucking industry. Developed in partnership with the ATA and the Sleep Health Foundation, the first fact sheet focuses on Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), a condition that affects some 40 per cent of Australia’s long distance truck drivers.

OSA causes the soft tissues of the throat to close or partially block the airway during sleep, preventing normal breathing and forcing sufferers to wake multiple times during the night. Common symptoms include fatigue and heavy snoring.

Sleep apnoea is a condition that has a real impact on quality of life, but some drivers may not even realise that they have it. Once diagnosed, OSA is completely treatable. We encourage operators to use this information to help improve the wellbeing of their workforce, and to provide support for drivers who may have the condition.

The fact sheets could be used as the basis of a staff toolbox talk, as well as posted on a staff notice board and new fact sheets will be released to members throughout the year, each focusing on a new health topic.

For a copy of the fact sheet, please contact the ALRTA Office on (02) 6247 0476 or office@alrta.org.au


Thank you to all those who completed our short permit survey over the past couple of weeks. When you take the time to provide us with information about your business it really helps us to understand your issues and advocate on your behalf.

Here is summary of survey findings for your information that we will provide to the NHVR and use to further develop an industry position on the future of permit processing:

  • Avg number of vehicles: six;
  • Type of work: livestock, grain, fertilizer, machinery, hay and water;
  • Permit types: 45% were for OSOM, 45% for RAV and 10% for concessional;
  • Permit use: 70% for ongoing work; 30% for one-off work;
  • Required turnaround time: 30min – 7days. 48hrs is acceptable to most.
  • Central v State-based: 75% do not support a centralised system if it means longer processing timeframes.
  • Specific issues with new system: too many permits required (needs to be rationalised and reduced); processing takes too long; staff not knowledgeable; permits now refer to one another (so you need to carry more of them).


From 1 January 2015 ABS will generally become mandatory on new trailers. In recognition of the problems experienced with ABS in rural and remote applications the ALRTA fought for, and won, exemptions for dollies and heavy trailers (such as stock crates).

We have however recently received engineering advice that the exemption does not include A-trailer stock crates as originally intended. This is because the exemption threshold is not based on tare mass, rather, it is based on the mass transmitted to the ground by the axle(s) when coupled to a drawing vehicle in its normal unladen condition.

Given that A-trailers are by their very nature designed to operate as part of a combination that includes other exempt trailers this is not an acceptable situation.

The ALRTA is now working with the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development and the Office of Minister Briggs to rectify this regulatory oversight before the new requirement takes effect.


Small businesses with a turnover of less than $2m annually qualify for a range of tax concessions or (simplified rules) for income tax, capital gains tax, excise payments, GST, PAYG and FBT.

However, transport is a high-turnover, low margin business. Operators will generally exceed the $2m threshold much earlier compared with other similarly profitable businesses which do not use high cost items such as heavy vehicles, fuel and tyres.

The Henry Tax review has recommended that the threshold for determining a small business be lifted from $2m annual turnover to $5m annual turnover. Potentially, this would be a significant benefit for transporters currently operating within the $2m to $5m threshold.

If this sounds like you, I’d love to talk to you confidentially about certain aspects of your business to help us understand the implications and build our case for lifting the threshold. You can email me via Mathew@alrta.org.au or call on (02) 6247 5434.


The ALRTA National President has once again been invited to observe proceedings of the upcoming Transport and Infrastructure Council on 6-7 November 2014 in Launceston, Tasmania. These meetings occur twice a year and are about as close as you can get to the beating heart of Australian transport reform.  We expect that Federal and State / Territory Ministers will be considering proposed changes to chain of responsibility, roadworthiness assessments, permit processing and the merits of moving to a national registration system.

We will be providing our views on these matters to key decision makers in the lead up to the meeting and we will keep members informed of developments over the coming weeks and key outcomes following the meeting.


As advised in our last edition, the 1-tonne tri-axle mass transfer allowance commenced this week.

The fact sheet is available at: https://www.nhvr.gov.au/files/201409-0177-1tmta-fact-sheet.pdf