ALRTA News – 19 May 2017


ALRTA National President Kevin Keenan observed the 7th meeting of the Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) in Brisbane today.

At the meeting, Federal and State Transport Ministers discussed a range of issues including rail investment, heavy vehicle road reform, automated vehicles, road safety and regulation.

Here is a summary of several important decisions.

Heavy Vehicle Road Reform
Ministers agreed to:

  • work towards implementing independent price regulation for heavy vehicles;
  • design and consider a forward-looking cost base;
  • undertake charging trials;
  • examine revenue impacts for Governments;
  • assess community service obligations;
  • assess governance and institutional arrangements;
  • develop charging and rebate options for operators; and
  • develop low cost technologies for data capture purposes.

Road Safety
Ministers agreed to convene an independent reference group to inquire into progress under the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020.  ALRTA has recently written to all Ministers recommending representation from the rural and remote heavy vehicle sector.

Heavy Vehicle Regulation
Ministers agreed to:

  • implement a national registration scheme for heavy vehicles, including funding agreements, a national number plate, removal of rego sticker requirements, improved transactions and seamless interstate transfer capability;
  • A raft of new safety measures under the Heavy Vehicle Road Safety Initiative 2017-18;
  • Increase allowable volumetric load capacity where mass is not a constraint, including improved access for PBS level 1 vehicles and 4.6m high vehicles that meet prescribed conditions; and
  • Increase the accountability of road managers to the NHVR for road access requests.

ALRTA understands that the projects approved under the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative 2017-18 includes our proposal to investigate the feasibility of user-pay loading and unloading infrastructure.  More news on this next week.


Last week Mark Collins (LRTAQ), Justin Fleming (ATA TruckSafe) and Mathew Munro (ALRTA Executive Director) met with six meat processors in south east Queensland to progress our holistic review of the TruckCare animal welfare accreditation system.

Above: Mark Collins, Justin Fleming, Craig Price (Kilcoy Pastoral Company) & Mathew Munro.

The processors included:

  • JBS
  • Swickers
  • Kilkoy Pastoral Company
  • Highchester Meats
  • Teys Australia
  • Australian Country Choice

We have previously met with RSPCA, Fletchers International and retailers including Coles, Woolworths, ALDI, CostCo, Metcash and Superbarn.

So far, our consultations have indicated that there is an increasing and unmet need for TruckCare, especially for exported meat and products destined for sale in more socially responsible retailers such as Coles, Woolworths and McDonalds.  Customers are more frequently asking questions about the transport phase of the livestock supply chain and they want assurance that all relevant legislated standards are being met from paddock to plate.

The TruckCare system can provide this assurance.

To be relevant to all consumers, TruckCare must reflect both domestic and international animal welfare standards.  It needs to meet the minimum standards, but also continually evolve to meet changing market expectations.

There can be no doubt that processors will embrace TruckCare if it is demanded by their customers.  In the USA and Europe this is already happening – there is enormous amount of information on meat packaging and penalties apply for misleading statements.

However, it is becoming very clear that the supply chain is not willing to pay a premium for the services of TruckCare accredited operators.  Rather, TruckCare is just seen as requirement that will give you a ‘licence to play’ in same way that others in the supply chain must demonstrate to customers and authorities that they are meeting minimum health, quality and labor standards.

So, where does that leave us?

There is a cost in becoming TruckCare accredited and in maintaining that accreditation.  A revised TruckCare system will need to broaden its appeal by becoming more relevant to consumers, while at the same time lowering costs by removing unnecessary requirements.

There is also a question of ‘critical mass’.  Processors are concerned that they would not currently be able to source enough TruckCare accredited operators if it was to become a mandatory requirement…….but there is little incentive to become TruckCare accredited unless it is demanded by your customers.  It is the classic ‘chicken or the egg’ scenario.

Another important factor is the naming of the system.  The term ‘TruckCare’ does not mean much to consumers unless it is accompanied by some explanation.  On the surface, it would seem that accredited operators are just looking after their truck.

Next week, the ATA is hosting a workshop in Canberra to consider all of the feedback we have gathered from the review so far and to plan the next phase.  Look out for more news as the review progresses towards a re-launch of a revised accreditation system.


ALRTA participated in an industry-government meeting to discuss draft Australian Design Rules (ADR35 and ADR38) that propose to mandate electronic stability control for new prime movers and trailers.

As always, there are several technical issues that must be worked though, but the elephant in the room for ALRTA members is of course whether or not ESC should be mandated for all trailers, or whether there is a good case to exempt trailers operating in harsh and remote environments.

The National Policy Session at this year’s joint ALRTA-LRTAQ National-State Conference brought together operators, technology suppliers, trailer manufacturers, engineering experts and government representatives to present their perspectives on the issue.  It is fair to say that there is a diversity of opinions.

There really is no doubt about whether ESC technology will improve safety on sealed roads – the evidence is quite overwhelming.

But some operators who have trialled ESC in harsh and remote environments have concluded that it brings more trouble than it is worth.  Their experience suggests that the technology is very difficult to maintain in good working order (and even more difficult to fix when on the road for weeks at a time), is not compatible with rugged spring suspension and can intervene at inappropriate times.

ALRTA understands that the Federal Government will release a regulatory impact statement for public comment in the middle of 2017.  ALRTA Council will carefully consider this very important issue on 24 May 2017.


Almost 6500 National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) members can now track their current nominated vehicles in the mass and maintenance management modules on-line through the NHVR’s website.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto has released the NHVAS Active Vehicle Module (AVM) search tool which will allow operators to check the status of a vehicle by entering either the vehicle registration, VIN or chassis number, or accreditation label number.

“This will be a big step forward for the operators of almost 100,000 vehicles nominated under the scheme’s Maintenance Module and 36,000 vehicles nominated under the Mass Module,” Mr Petroccitto said.

“Owners and operators with multiple vehicles can now check the module status and ensure it is current.

“In the past operators have told us that they want to do the right thing and ensure their nominated vehicles are current, but a lack of visibility of a vehicle’s status is often raised as an issue.

“Importantly those responsible for safety in other heavy vehicle supply chain roles such as weighbridge operators, consignees and consignors can also check that a vehicle’s accreditation nomination is current.

“With Chain of Responsibility laws coming in mid 2018, this is another tool to support the industry to better apply risk management processes to focus on safety outcomes.”

Operators accredited under the scheme can now log on to to check their NHVAS nominated vehicle status.

The NHVAS provides flexibility in managing fatigue and concessions for mass and maintenance for operators that have robust and compliant management systems.

There are 6481 heavy vehicle operators in NHVAS with 97,537 vehicles nominated in maintenance and 35,173 in mass.

The NHVAS has been operating since 1999 and was brought under the NHVR in 2014. Heavy vehicle operators can apply for accreditation under Mass, Maintenance, Basic Fatigue Management or Advanced Fatigue Management modules.


The ALRTA Office is undergoing some major changes.

Firstly, we will be moving our National Office into the ATA Building from 1 July 2017.  The move will bring the ALRTA closer to the political and transport industry association heart of Canberra.  We are currently negotiating with potential tenants for our current premises.

Secondly, we have engaged PR consultant Kiki Josifovski  in the advisory role of National Marketing Manager.

Kiki has over 12 years’ experience in high profile senior PR management roles and has consulted to a wide variety of organisations on high profile issues in the transport, infrastructure and animal welfare space.

He has a strong familiarity of both the public and private sectors and has been intimately involved in the work of Minister’s offices across a range of portfolios.  His work has received many accolades and has achieved milestone profile building and sponsorship generation outcomes.

He is keen to understand the challenges our members face and is determined to progress the objectives of the ALRTA by building on established accomplishments and seeking innovative ways to engage with ALRTA stakeholders.

You may also have heard a rumour that our National Officer Colleen Mays is leaving.  I am pleased to advise that Colleen will be staying with the ALRTA to continue her great work supporting our administrative, committee, research and project activities.


Members are reminded that the ALRTA will be holding a Council meeting in Brisbane on Wednesday, 24 May 2017.  Details are:

Start: 11:00am
Close: 5:00pm
Location: BP Australia, 572 Curtin Avenue East, EAGLE FARM QLD 4009

For more information please contact the ALRTA Secretariat.


There are several important events coming up in the next two months, including:

LRTASA Conference

The LRTASA Annual State Conference will be held 16-17 June 2017 at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre. The weekend kicks off with a Golf competition at Adelaide Golf Links on the fringe of the CBD followed by pre-dinner drinks and dinner at the Entertainment Centre.   The Conference Sessions are on Saturday followed by a Gala Dinner (with entertainment by the legendary Mick Meredith) and Auction.

Register here:

Trucking Australia Conference

The ATA’s premier annual event ‘Trucking Australia 2017’ will be held 21-23 June 2017 at the Darwin Convention Centre.  The program is a mix of entertainment and business activities featuring the Kenworth Legends Luncheon, chain of responsibility master class and the National Trucking Industry Awards.

Register here:

LRTAWA Conference

The LRTAWA Annual State Conference will be held 30 June – 1 July 2017 at the Light House Beach Resort in Bunbury.

For more information contact:

LRTAV Conference

The Joint LRTAV – National Conference will be held 11-12 August 2017 at the RACV Resort in Torquay.

Check here for more information: