ALRTA WELCOMES NATIONAL ANIMAL WELFARE NOTICE
From today, the new notice will allow Standard and BFM drivers in NSW, VIC, QLD, SA, TAS and ACT carrying cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, poultry, emus, ostrich, alpaca, deer, camel or buffalo up to 1 hour additional driving time to address threats to animal welfare.
While the notice can be used on consecutive days, it does not increase total permitted driving hours over longer counting periods and drivers must increase the duration of their next long rest break by twice the amount of any additional driving time used. Written records must also be kept by the driver for on-road enforcement purposes.
The new national notice replaces less workable state-based notices in NSW and SA that expired at midnight, 9 February 2017.
ALRTA National President, Kevin Keenan, said that the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has again shown that it understands the needs of different sectors and is prepared to forge ahead with a nationally consistent approach.
“The demands of livestock transport are like no other part of the road freight sector,” said President Keenan.
“While the HVNL stipulates work and rest rules for heavy vehicle drivers, the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Land Transport of Livestock concurrently stipulate maximum periods that water may be withheld from live animals as well as other requirements such as unloading livestock promptly after arriving at a destination.
“Unforeseen circumstances can sometimes prevent a driver from reaching a suitable destination to unload livestock within generally permitted driving hours.
“ALRTA has worked closely with the NHVR to develop a sensible national animal welfare notice that provides drivers of heavy vehicles carrying livestock with limited flexibility for the purpose of managing animal welfare requirements in unusual or unforeseen circumstances.
“If a driver is less than one hour from a suitable unloading site, this notice will enable that driver to reach the destination and safely and humanely unload the livestock rather than keeping them in the vehicle during a long rest break.
“I applaud the common sense approach to this issue taken by the NHVR and all participating HVNL States,” said President Keenan.