ALRTA News -2 June 2017


ALRTA and NHVR remind member operators that nominations for the 2017 Safety Innovation Award will close on 30 June 2017.

ALRTA National President, Kevin Keenan, has encouraged applications saying that there are many safety-conscious rural transport businesses that deserve recognition.

“There are unique risks in rural transport that require unique solutions,” said President Keenan.

“We operate in unpredictable conditions, work in isolated areas and deal with a wide variety of very different agricultural materials.

“Over the years, I have seen practically-minded operators come up with just about as many solutions as there are problems.  They see a problem, fix it and just get on with the job.

“This award will recognise our operators and drivers who go out of their way to improve their own personal safety and that of their family, employees and other road users.

“I strongly encourage members to consider making an application on your own behalf, or to nominate someone who has helped keep you safe.”

Award Details

  1. The award is a joint initiative of the ALRTA and NHVR.
  2. Nominations are open to all livestock, bulk and rural financial members of ALRTA or affiliated State Associations.
  3. Only individuals can be nominated (the company will also be acknowledged).
  4. Applicants should demonstrate that:
    1. They have identified and controlled a safety risk in their road transport business or the supply chain relating to fatigue, speed, mass, dimension, load restraint, or vehicle maintenance.
    2. They have implemented an innovative control measure that has substantially lessened or eliminated the risk.
    3. They have a proactive approach to a safe work culture.
  5. Completed application form to be submitted to ALRTA by COB, 30 June 2017.
  6. Winner will be announced at LRTAV Conference on 11-12 August 2017.
  7. The prize will include a plaque, certificate and prize to the value of $5,000.

Application forms are available here.


Total heavy vehicle charges for 2017-18 will remain frozen at the current level.

Charges allocated to individual vehicles (and per litre of fuel) will decrease slightly because the total national charge is divided across a growing heavy vehicle fleet.

From 1 July 2017:

  • The Road User Charge (RUC) will decrease to 25.8 cpl (from 25.9 cpl).
  • Registration charges will decrease by around 1.5%.

Here are the 2017-18 registration charges for some common vehicles:

Vehicle 2016-17 2017-18
6 axle truck & dog (up to 42.5t) $3,128 $3,076
5 axle semi-trailer $6,334 $6,232
B-double $15,016 $14,776
Double Road Train $15,072 $14,832
Triple Road Train $16,868 $16,601

Table 1: Selection of HV Rego Charges for 2017-18.


The Australian Government has released a discussion paper on options for independent price regulation of heavy vehicle charges. ALRTA has argued strongly in favour of independent price setting for heavy vehicle charges as part of a previous submission on ‘Heavy Vehicle Charges – Options for improving the accuracy and stability of the PAYGO heavy vehicle charges methodology’.

To put this issue in perspective it is important for operators to be aware that:

  • The NTC independently reviewed the PAYGO system and recommended that governments decrease registration charges by 6.3% and the fuel levy by 1.14cpl from 1 July 2014;
  • Governments instead decided to freeze total charges; and
  • This decision has meant that governments are knowingly overcharging operators around $200m annually (a cumulative total now approaching $1bn).

The bottom line is that the current PAYGO cost-recovery system has been broken by the total lack of independence in the Ministerial decision-making process.

ALRTA will examine the options proposed in the discussion paper and put forward our views on behalf of livestock and rural carriers by the closing date of 14 July 2017.

You can find a copy of the discussion paper here.


Australia’s first national heavy vehicle health check shows a sound performance by industry in maintaining vehicles, with some room for improvement.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the results of the National Roadworthiness Baseline Survey would provide further focus on inspection programs and help measure improvements in the mechanical condition of the heavy vehicle fleet.

“The survey covered 7,130 heavy vehicles between August and October last year. As a baseline of the fleet’s condition, the survey’s results will help the NHVR develop a national risk-based inspection approach to address high-risk components, systems, vehicles and operators. It will also help develop a consistent inspection approach,” Mr Chester said.

“We’re working in partnership with the NHVR, state governments, various state organisations and with the heavy vehicle industry to reduce road trauma. These survey results are a great tool for the NHVR to use to improve safety and efficiency in the heavy vehicle sector, which of course improves safety for all motorists.”

The report showed:

  • 7130 vehicles inspected, made up of 11,066 vehicle units
  • Younger vehicles were five times less likely to have a major non-conformity than vehicles 10-years and older, and 11 times less likely to have a major non-conformity than 13-year-old vehicles
  • 11 per cent of hauling units and about 14 per cent of trailers recorded a major non-conformity
  • 147 vehicle units were grounded, making up 1.3 per cent of the vehicles units inspected
  • brakes had the highest rate of major non-conformity, followed by steering and suspension, lights and reflectors, engines, drivelines and exhausts.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the survey results would allow operators to update programs to ensure they addressed high-risk components and systems that are regularly found to be an issue during on-road inspections.

“The NHVR wanted to understand the rate of major non-conformity. Where Authorised Officers found major non-conformities the majority were assessed as safe enough to continue their journey but required repair within a specified period of time,” Mr Petroccitto said.

“The rate of major non-conformities in the Australian fleet compared well to the UK which had a 35 per cent major non-conformity rate and to the US where about one-fifth of vehicles inspected are grounded.

“However, with the average age of the fleet at nine years, reducing the rate of major non-conformity in older vehicles will be an area of focus.

“Interestingly we saw a significant increase in the maintenance performance for vehicles in the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme.

“It is pleasing to see that the scheme is delivering and continuing to demonstrate the value it provides to fleet safety. It is evidence of the NHVR’s hard work in delivering improvements to the schemes operation.

“Another first was the use of the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual to provide nationally-consistent inspection standards. This consistency is something industry has asked for over many years and is a key objective of the Roadworthiness Program.

“I’d like to thank the 407 officers who worked 1049 shifts across 237 inspection sites throughout Australia to deliver this important national safety initiative.”

The survey will be used to develop programs using evidence and risk-based analysis of the survey data. Two such approaches will be a risk-based inspection and a consistent inspection framework.

There is also work being undertaken in the NHVR’s Roadworthiness Program to develop a national approach to the management and clearance of defects.

Further information about the survey results and the full report can be found here.


The NTC and Austroads have jointly released National Guidelines for Automated Vehicle Trials.

The guidelines support state and territory road agencies in providing exemptions or permits for trials, and give greater certainty to industry on conditions for trials.

The guidelines aim to:

  • provide a more flexible mechanism than legislation to encourage innovation
  • provide certainty and clarity to industry regarding expectations when trialling in Australia
  • help agencies manage trials in their own jurisdictions as well as across states borders
  • establish minimum standards of safety
  • help assure the public that roads are being used safely
  • help raise awareness and acceptance of automated vehicles in the community

It is quite incredible how rapidly automated vehicle technology is coming along.  While I can’t see automated vehicles displacing drivers in the agricultural supply chain anytime soon (no computer can load livestock or yet navigate sketchy bush tracks), it won’t be long before you start seeing automated vehicles out there on the road with you.

Perhaps the day is not far off when you might load up, get yourself back to a main road and switch on the auto pilot?

Of course, that will then raise questions about whether cruising on auto pilot counts as work time or who is at fault in the event of an accident?  There are still lots of tricky questions to work though and trials are just the first step.

You can find a copy of the guidelines here.


The Australian Government has commenced an Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities, releasing a discussion paper for comment by 28 July 2017.

The Inquiry, to be assisted by a four member expert panel, will examine regulatory and investment barriers as well as opportunities to improve freight capacity and reduce business costs.

The ALRTA Executive Director has recently met with the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development to provide our preliminary views.  The scope of the Inquiry is extremely broad ranging, considering road, rail, air and sea and how all of these interact, plus how multi-modal freight can best co-exist with passenger movements.

ALRTA will consider the discussion paper and prepare a response that best promotes an efficient agricultural supply chain.

You can find the discussion paper here.


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 LRTAV Annual State Conference will be held 11-12 August 2017 at the RACV Resort in Torquay.

Check here for more information.