Weekly News – New on road assistance service, vehicle roadworthiness

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The ALRTA and NTI have agreed to establish LIVESTOCK ASSIST, a new service for operators and drivers that will assist in coordinating accident responses involving livestock.


The LIVESTOCK ASSIST service involves:

  • A dedicated national hotline and trademark;
  • Specialist accident response coordination via the NTI LIVESTOCK ASSIST call centre;
  • Observance of official government procedures for accident responses;
  • Maintenance of a national database of competent stock handlers with portable yards; and
  • Assistance in connecting with other specialist service providers on site.

Who Can Use the Service?

The service will be available to all operators and drivers in the livestock transport sector.   Information packs will be provided free for all ALRTA member vehicles via each of our State associations.

Are there any Costs?

There is no call fee for using the services.

Treatment of any other costs incurred will depend upon the insurance arrangements of the user. All costs will be covered for operators insured by NTI. If not insured by NTI, the call centre will offer to link the caller with specialist service providers and the operator (or their insurer) will be responsible for any costs incurred.

When will it be Available?

The ALRTA and NTI are aiming to jointly launch the service at the ALRTA National Conference 3-4 July 2015.


Last week the ALRTA Executive discussed and agreed a national position on vehicle roadworthiness.

In the wake of several high profile heavy vehicle accidents, Australian Governments have over the past year been considering changes to scheduled inspections, defects, accreditation schemes, chain of responsibility and education and training.  After the release of two scoping reports, the NTC published a regulatory impact statement in early 2015 which examined four options for change.

Since that time, the NHVR has announced significant changes that will tighten up the NHVAS auditing process.

Given the high level of public concern and the general push towards national harmonisation of transport laws, the ALRTA will be supporting uniform scheduled inspection requirements, including consistent procedures for issuing and clearing roadside defects.

However, we believe that operators accredited under approved maintenance schemes such as NHVAS (and TruckSafe – if approved by the NHVR as a code of conduct), should be exempted from annual inspections provided that there is base-level random sampling to provide assurance that the condition of the accredited fleet does in fact match the paperwork.

The ALRTA appreciates that if governments were to adopt our position it would result in a new annual inspection requirement for non-accredited rural transporters in Victoria.

The process of moving towards national harmonisation inevitably requires changes in some jurisdictions to improve the overall regulatory environment and promote a level playing field.

On the flipside, Victorian operators would be noticing the much reduced penalties applicable to minor log book and defect offences under the Heavy Vehicle National Law and the ALRTA has been pushing strongly on their behalf for Victoria to adopt the 160km radius log book exemption for rural carriers which is now in place in all other Heavy Vehicle National Law jurisdictions.

There will be some pain and some gain – but we must take a consistent line on these matters to show that we are serious about fairness, safety and achieving national uniformity.


The article below is courtesy of Ian Robbins @ Talk Affects.  For more information visit talkaffects.com.au

We have a Problem

One of the greatest compliments that I have ever been paid was when I was told I was a “Basic Bastard”.

At first I was taken aback, however when I asked specifically what he meant, the bloke behind the words told me he never had to think too hard about what I said, I explained my thoughts in a way anyone could understand them. I have a very proud background in the transport industry as a driver and workshop manager then in sales in unrelated industries until I hit the wall at age 37.

Over the past few years I have listened to people paying lip service to the massive problems particular industries have, with both depression and suicide. I have absolutely no doubt that the people speaking meant everything they said yet they had no real idea of what to do. They sprouted statistics and decried the fact nothing was being done. They quoted from the bountiful resource base that is Beyond Blue (a fantastic organisation), they encouraged people to take part in Movember (another wonderful initiative). Yet realistically, very little filters through to the bottom line – the workers at the front.

I am in no way putting down the intentions of these people, however you simply don’t know what you don’t know.

People in Transport

If we look at road transport for instance, the average bloke behind the wheel has limited time for anything not related to trucks. Talk to them about depression and they are all ten foot tall and bulletproof, even the very high percentage suffering from the effects of the condition. Most of these people are only an incident away from the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Unfortunately it’s a situation I have first hand knowledge of, with both family and friends affected.

With the greatest of respect, these blokes are not interested in Books and Big Words. IF, and it’s a very big IF, they do recognize the problems in themselves or their mates, they want to deal with the practical application of “stuff” they can do to help themselves or their mates.

About 8 years ago I spoke at some workshops run by a transport association about Stress Management. The first one in Brisbane was interesting – it was, as you could imagine a tough crowd, both male and female. What I describe as “real people”. During the coffee break I heard people talking about their theories on managing stress from “it doesn’t exist” to “I fix it with a baseball bat”. It could only go upward from here I figured.

Well I gave some examples of what causes stress to what you can do about it over a period of about 30 minutes. I was quite surprised at the end of the workshop when I was approached by one of the attendees who told me he owed me an apology. He went on to add that he was one of the detractors at the break and suggested to the bloke he came with that it was time to go, the next session was going to be BS and he’d heard it all before. His mate told him to pull his head in or wait outside for the workshop to finish.

I became really interested in his comments. What had happened to generate this 180 degree turn in his thinking? His initial answer floored me.

“I understood what you said”.

Books and Big Words

He told me he’d been to heaps of talks on the same topic and came away feeling a bit of a dill because he didn’t really understand the terminology being used. He was too embarrassed to ask clarifying questions. Now this bloke was an operations manager and no slouch when it came to thinking. Imagine how the everyday blokes feel when they were confronted by the same terminology. No wonder they turn off.

I’m not stereotyping truck drivers with these comments, as I said earlier I used to be one, and come from a family of four generations of drivers. I have a lot of mates still in the industry that I have huge regard for. They too are “basic bastards” yet more importantly they are “practical bastards”. They are the people who in almost any situation can think outside the box to come up with a practical solution for the many problems we face every day.

Sure, we can supply these people with seminars being addressed by experts in their field and watch the attendees eyes glaze over as they do their best to keep up without feeling stupid. Most of them would rather go without a feed before they admit they’re having trouble understanding the words being used to deliver a message they don’t understand. We can give them books that are in plentiful supply and I guarantee most people wouldn’t get through the first chapter let alone the complete book.

Simplicity is the Key

This situation is not unique to transport, I have similar experience in the Mining industry, the Aged Care industry and with a couple of government departments.

The common denominator to help all these people I believe is SIMPLICITY.

Books and Big Words are BS, practical application is the most important component of any intervention that will work. By that I mean teach people the major events contributing to the stresses that trigger depression. Teach them simple things to do to recognize when these things are happening to themselves, and finally, give them some simple things to do to overcome the adrenalin cycle when it kicks in and help get them back on an even keel as soon as possible.

From a purely mercenary point of view, any business owner will gain financially in the long term by implementing some of these ideas in the short term. A brief discussion at staff meetings or toolbox meetings in a manner that is relaxed and easily understood is a great start. Additional information or variations on the initial information is what keeps it interesting and brings the topic into the conscious awareness of the worker.

At one of the places I work, it took four years before the last person asked to have a talk to me, but only on the condition we had our chat away from the workplace. Change can take a long time or it can be quite quick depending on the participation of the group.

What can I do in my business?

Find someone who can talk to you or your people the way your people talk. Get the information to the people in a way they can digest and understand it, whether by rewriting stuff in your own words, or reading and summarizing it for your people at a meeting.

The most important element is to start something as soon as possible. Anything you do is better than the nothing that is currently being done or the good intentions being spoken about and then put into the too hard basket.

Management can be across all this stuff, yet if it doesn’t flow to the people at the frontline, it’s a waste of time. It’s costing you money, it’s causing you grief that you’re probably not even aware of, and it’s playing havoc with the health of your employees. I was listening to an interview on ABC Breakfast this morning and the topic was Mental Health in the workplace. One of the statistics put forward was that for every $1 spent on addressing the issue, $30 was gained in productivity.

I have always encouraged people to talk about their “stuff” because the first step in dealing with this epidemic we have at the moment is getting thoughts out of people’s heads. When you verbalise something it reduces its intensity by about 80%. When you keep it inside it gets bigger and bigger and takes on a life of its own.

Keeping it simple is one of the secrets of success in all walks of life, in business and in relationships. It is also the key to helping address and overcome this crippling issue affecting all of us