Weekly News – 29 April 2016

ALRTA National Council meets in Brisbane

 The ALRTA National Council met in Brisbane on Friday, 22 April 2016.  It was with some relief that the RSRT had been abolished earlier in the week and this allowed Council to focus on other important issues such as executive officer liability, effluent and proposed productivity reforms (twin steer axles, tri-drive prime movers and quad axle trailers).

We welcomed special guests Paul Retter (CEO NTC), Marcus Burke (Project Director NTC) and Dr Andrew Higgins (Principal Research Scientist CSIRO).  Dr Higgins delivered a very interesting presentation on CSIRO’s TRANSIT modelling tool which has been used to identify priority projects for $100m of investment from the Beef Roads Fund.

The TRANSIT model is now being extended to most agricultural commodities.   Availability of the model promises to be an enormous advantage to the rural transport sector because it can be used to quickly and objectively quantify the benefits of particular road infrastructure proposals – this is a vital part of competitive applications but is also the most challenging component.  We are working with CSIRO to further enhance the model.

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ALRTA Welcomes new staff member

 The ALRTA Secretariat welcomes Tracy Fairhall into the role of Office and Marketing Manager.  On her very first day, Tracy attended the ALRTA National Council meeting in Brisbane to get acquainted with our leaders and current priority issues.

Tracy has extensive experience in both the office and marketing functions and has previously worked for commercial businesses, government and industry associations.

Following an internal restructure of the staff sharing arrangements between ALRTA and LBCA, the part time Office Manager and Marketing Manager roles were merged into a single full time position.   As a result, all ALRTA staff are now dedicated only to national operations.

Please make Tracy feel welcome.

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ALRTA Meets with NHVR Senior Management

 The NHVR Livestock and Rural Transporters Industry Operations Group met with senior NHVR Management in Brisbane on 21 April 2016, including NHVR CEO, Sal Petroccitto.   The group comprises our state association presidents.  The discussions centred around road access, NHVAS, roadworthiness and chain of responsibility.  NHVR are gearing up to launch a new ‘front end’ access system which has excellent functionality for operators to make, track, save and duplicate access requests.

Progress made on new AFM Templates

 ALRTA met with NHVR experts last week to discuss the progression of two additional AFM templates that aim to provide accredited operators with more flexibility when undertaking longer runs.  This will improve productivity while also reducing safety risks for drivers and avoiding the need to take long rest breaks in inhospitable environments.

To ensure that the best operational expertise was available for the workshop in Brisbane, ALRTA met the travel costs of professional schedulers from WA, VIC, QLD, SA and NSW.

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ATA Board Elections

 The ALRTA congratulates LRTASA President David Smith on his election to the ATA Board at last week’s AGM.  David is a past ALRTA National President and has been our representative to the ATA Council for several years.

We also congratulate Noelene Watson who was re-elected as Chair for a further two year term as well as Sharon Middleton, SARTA President, who was elected to the Board.

ALRTA thanks the outgoing ATA Board Members Gordon Martin and Trevor Martyn for their outstanding service to the industry.

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ATA Welcomes cut to Truck Fuel Tax Rate

The Australian Trucking Association has welcomed the Australian Government’s decision to reduce the truck fuel tax rate – known as the road user charge – from 26.14 to 25.9 cents per litre from 1 July 2016.

The reduction was one of the recommendations in the ATA’s 2016 pre-budget submission, and follows several meetings between the ATA and senior ministers. It will save a typical owner-driver about $200 in 2016-17, and a typical small fleet operator about $1,100.

ATA Chief Executive Christopher Melham thanked the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon. Darren Chester MP, for working to address the ongoing overcharging faced by the trucking industry.

“The trucking industry pays for our use of the road system through heavy vehicle registration fees and a road user charge on fuel. However, the industry has been overcharged since 2007, because the system used to calculate the charges underestimates the number of trucks on our roads,” Mr Melham said.

“The Australian, state and territory governments last year agreed to a two-year freeze in their revenue from heavy vehicle charges in response to the problem.

“Reducing the road user charge from the current 26.14 cents per litre to 25.9 cents per litre will ensure that the Government’s predicted revenue from the road user charge remains constant.

“The decision builds on, and goes further than, the Government’s previous decisions to freeze the road user charge rate in 2014 and 2015.

“It’s great news for trucking operators in advance of next week’s Federal Budget and follows the repeal of the Road Safety Remuneration Act and tribunal last week,” Mr Melham said.

The road user charge is imposed as a reduction in the fuel tax credits that trucking businesses can claim through the BAS process. As a result of the decision, the fuel tax credit rate for eligible heavy vehicles will increase from 13.36 cents per litre to 13.6 cents per litre from 1 July 2016.

Finalists announced for National Trucking Awards

 The ALRTA is pleased to inform members that LRTAV President John Beer has been announced as an Australian Trucking Industry Awards finalist in the category of ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Trucking Industry’.

John is a veteran of the livestock and rural transport industry, with more than 50 years’ driving experience under his belt. As an owner-driver, John is passionate about the safety and viability of smaller operators, and is dedicated to addressing the ‘grass roots’ issues faced by truck drivers every day. He is particularly dedicated to improving the safety of livestock loading ramps, and was the key driver behind the development of ALRTA’s ‘Guide for Safe Design of Livestock Loading Ramps and Forcing Yards’. John is the President and a life member of the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Victoria, and a past president of the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association.

We wish John all the best when the winners are announced on Saturday 25 June at the ATA Foundation Sponsors Gala Dinner on the Gold Coast as part of Trucking Australia 2016, the ATA’s national conference. To register for Trucking Australia 2016 or book tickets for the dinner, visit www.truckingaustralia.com.au.

NSW Work Diary Exemption Notice to expire on 1 May

Following an extended consultation period, the NHVR has advised it will allow the New South Wales work diary exemption notice for 100km work under Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) or Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) to expire on 1 May 2016 as previously advised.

In doing so, the NHVR hopes to strengthen the record keeping obligations for BFM and AFM in New South Wales and improve national consistency.

The NHVR believes the extended three month consultation period has provided operators and drivers in BFM or AFM with additional time to transition to keeping work diaries when working within a 100 km radius.

Drivers working under BFM or AFM who have not already done so, should start preparing for the expiry of the notice now by purchasing a National Driver Work Diary. These can be purchased from any Roads and Maritime Services motor registry or through other outlets in participating jurisdictions listed on the NHVR’s website.

For more information go to https://www.nhvr.gov.au/safety-accreditation-compliance/fatigue-management/work-diaries-and-record-keeping/work-diaries.

TruckSafe welcomes Southern Rivers Haulage

 The TruckSafe accreditation program is proud to welcome its newest accredited member, Southern Rivers Haulage (VIC).

Established 54 years ago, Southern Rivers Haulage is based in Ballan, VIC, and has been TruckCare accredited since 2008. Starting out as a single truck operation, today its fleet of four b-doubles transport livestock out of Forbes and Dubbo for the meat industry. The family business is led by Desmond Conroy, with his sons Anthony and Danny also holding key roles.

Mr Conroy said livestock transport had always been the core of the business.

“The abattoirs prefer operators to have TruckCare and now TruckSafe – it helps you to have all the paperwork, and it’s a good idea,” Mr Conroy said.

“If you have any problems, it also helps to prove that you’re a good operator, and that your drivers are well trained.

“Your staff are your business – if you have good drivers, that’s the key.”

TruckSafe Chairman Stephen Marley said TruckSafe accredited operators voluntarily went the extra mile to meet rigorous standards in management, maintenance, training, and workplace and driver health.

“”I’d like to congratulate Sothern Rivers Haulage on becoming a fully accredited TruckSafe operator, and welcome them to the TruckSafe family,” Mr Marley said.

“When you use a TruckSafe accredited business, you know you’re dealing with a safe, professional operator.”

TruckSafe the trucking industry’s own business and risk management system, which aims to improve the safety and professionalism of trucking operators across Australia.