Weekly News – NTC Industry Advisory Group, ALRTA takes action on mandatory ABS, Council meeting notice

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NTC Industry Advisory Group

This week Graeme Howell (LRTAV) and I attended the National Transport Commission Industry Advisory Group meeting in Melbourne this week. The purpose of the meeting was to update industry representatives about current NTC work programs and also to identify priorities for 2015-16.

Recommendations arising from key NTC work programs in 2014-15 will be considered by Ministers in either November 2014 or May 2015. Key issues under consideration relate to vehicle roadworthiness (defects and maintenance accreditation programs); chain of responsibility (including executive officer liability & a review of duties); feasibility of 6&7 axle truck and dogs at PBS limits without PBS; and Assessing fitness to drive.

The primary work program options under consideration for 2015-16 relate to ‘technology proposals’ and ‘helping industry to comply’ with existing laws. There are a range of priority options within each of these areas, however the ALRTA considers that the highest priorities relate to:

  • Facilitating greater availability of electronic information on: network access maps; rest area locations; bridges; height restrictions; load restrictions; rail level crossings; diversions and speed limits.
  • Assisting industry to comply with laws relating to fatigue and vehicle maintenance.

Graeme and I also took the opportunity to suggest new projects for consideration such as researching the feasibility of a two-tiered regulatory system with separate and more realistic heavy vehicle laws for rural and remote areas where travel distances are longer and infrastructure quality poorer.  The ALRTA’s focus is now firmly on the matters listed for decisions at the next Ministerial Council meeting on 6-7 November 2014.

ALRTA takes action on mandatory ABS

The ALRTA has written to the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Hon. Jamie Briggs MP, seeking support for a technical change to Australian Design Rule 38/04 to extend the ABS exemption to include heavy A-trailers such as stock crates.

We have received engineering advice via the ATA concerning the application of the current exemption which we understood was intended to include A-trailers. However, we have discovered a technical issue with the calculation of weight over the axles which deducts weight transferred to the drive axle but does not also add weight transferred from the tag trailer.

The ALRTA has worked closely with trailer manufacturers Cannon and Byrne to confirm that the operational weight over the axles of an unladen A-trailer in combination does in fact meet the threshold for the minimum performance threshold. We have therefore argued that a technical amendment is urgently required to ADR 38/04 so that the intended outcome is achieved and there can be certainty for trailer manufacturers and vehicle operators.

The ALRTA National President, Mr Grant Robins, hopes to meet with the office of Minister Briggs to discuss the issue in person later this month.

ALRTA Council Meeting Notice

Members are reminded that the next ALRTA National Council Meeting will be held in Canberra on 23 October 2014. Observers are most welcome, so if you are interested please contact the ALRTA Secretariat for further details.

2015 Conferences

The end of the year is rapidly approaching and it’s time to start thinking about 2015! Next year, our state conferences kick-off a little earlier than usual. We will send you a full list of dates and venues when available but here are a couple of the early conference to add to your diary:

  • LRTAQ State Conference: 19-22 February 2015 – Moreton Island, QLD.
  • LBCA State Conference: 6-7 March 2015 – Jindabyne, NSW.