Weekly News – National Ramp Guidelines for public consultation

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The ALRTA Ramps Working Group met this week and approved the final draft ramp guidelines to be released for a 4 week public consultation period.  While the draft has been developed in conjunction with industry, government and community stakeholders from across the supply chain and has been independently reviewed it is still important that we invite everyone and anyone to consider the document and share their views before we launch a final version at our National Conference in July 2015.

There has already been significant interest in the guide and we have had several requests for early release from livestock facilities considering safety issues.

For example, our National Vice President (Graeme Hoare), LRTAQ President (David Scott) and myself will meet with representatives from Dalby Saleyards on 12 May 2015.  This week we wrote to the Mayor of Western Downs Shire Council to express our concern that $12.6m was recently spent on the facility without improvements being made to the ramps.  Saleyard management is now keen discuss how the new guidelines can help to make the ramps safer.

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the consultation draft please contact the ALRTA office.


I am pleased to report that TruckCare is continuing to operate well under the new management structure.  In January 2015, TruckCare became a module of TruckSafe and day-to-day management was transferred to ATA.   The merger has meant that accredited operators are now able to use both programs under a single administration and auditing system as well as only paying a single set of fees.

During April, Mr Graham Emery of Martins Livestock Transport joined the TruckSafe Board to assist in oversight of the module.  Mr Emery joins LRTAWA President Stephen Marley who is the current TruckSafe Chair.  Tracey Boschetti of the LBCA has also been appointed to the TruckSafe Industry Accreditation Council.

A key part of the merger was that TruckCare members would also become TruckSafe accredited.  This week it was announced that StockTrans and Smithfield Cattle Company have each successfully gained TruckSafe accreditation.

New South Wales-based StockTrans moves livestock throughout Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, running 28 B-doubles, five B-triples and two road train combinations.

Through its 27 year history, the division of JS Transport Group has acquired Knights livestock transport, Henry Cooke livestock transport, Ron Finemore Transport and the Queensland operations of David Grimison after it began with a second-hand Mack superliner in 1988.

Owned and operated by the Sepos family in the Hunter Valley near Newcastle, StockTrans’ managing director Joe Sepos believes it was natural step for the business.

“Safety is our highest priority in our operations. It just made sense to join TruckCare and now TruckSafe – it’s all about making sure things are done right the first time,” Sepos says.

Smithfield Cattle Company is a family-owned company, operating out of South Burnett in Queensland.  It has been one of the country’s biggest feedlot providers since opening its doors in 1986 and has been a TruckCare member since 2009.

“TruckSafe and TruckCare accreditation sends a good message to our clients – we were the Woolworths livestock supplier of the year in 2014. These systems provide them with assurance that we are doing the right thing,” Smithfield managing director Jason Shearer-Smith says.


This week the NHVR has brought together more than 30 decision-makers from road agencies, police services and the NHVR to form the National Compliance and Enforcement Operations Forum.  All jurisdictions are represented including WA and NT which are yet to implement the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

The ALRTA has long called for a national approach to compliance and enforcement matters.

The new Forum will greatly assist the NHVR in developing a nationally agreed compliance and enforcement strategy which identifies key safety priorities and better coordinates the use of enforcement resources across borders.

For example, the ALRTA is working with the NHVR in pursuit of a consistent national approach to chain of responsibility enforcement for effluent spills.  After all, the whole idea of having national laws was that drivers and transport companies would be treated consistently no matter where they are operating.

While establishment of the forum is an important step in the right direction, it is also vitally important that industry is consulted in the development of a national strategy.

Just as it is unfair to tar all drivers with the same brush, it is equally unfair to tar all agencies with the same brush……but, without input from industry it is highly likely that the nit-picking approach of some individuals will continue even under a national regime. A lot rests on improving the attitude and operational procedures of the enforcement agencies involved and the Forum will provide an opportunity to tackle these issues and perhaps even consider the development of ‘on road service standards’.


The ALRTA has today released an exclusive member fact sheet to help drivers achieve a healthy, balanced diet on the road.  Developed in partnership with the Dietitians Association of Australia, ALRTA National President, Mr Grant Robins, said the fact sheet was intended to provide practical advice to help drivers meet their own health goals.

“Eating well is more than just looking at the numbers on a scale. Our drivers can face real challenges in getting balanced meals and exercise breaks when they’re out on the road,” President Robins said.

“A well-planned diet can help to manage or prevent conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol, which ultimately has a huge impact on overall health and wellbeing.

“This fact sheet outlines some suggestions for healthy snacks that travel well, and gives drivers contacts to find out more about developing a practical diet that meets their particular health needs.

“We will continue to release these fact sheets to ALRTA members throughout 2015, each focusing on a new health topic.”

Please contact either the ALRTA or your state association to obtain a copy of the fact sheet.


The fit-out of the ALRTA’s two vacant suites in our National Headquarters was completed this week and we have now handed over occupation rights to a tenant that will operate a fitness facility from the premises.  After the conclusion of a short rent-free period the ALRTA will receive rental income that will help support our association for at least the next five years.


The ALRTA and LBCA are upgrading our shared business hardware over the next two weeks.  While we expect minimal service disruption we ask for your patience in the event that our phone or computer systems are offline longer than expected.

Each change-over should take no more than a few hours but as you probably know – there are no iron-clad guarantees when you start tinkering with your computer systems!