TRANSITIONAL CLOSURE OF FIRS
The Australian Government has proposed to close FIRS to new entrants from 1 July 2018 and fully close the scheme by 30 June 2019.
The proposal is outlined in a consultation paper released by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.
FIRS commenced in 1987 and applied only to vehicles weighing more than 4.5 tonnes that are solely involved in interstate trade or commerce. FIRS vehicles are not subject to state-based stamp duty tax for new vehicle purchases.
The number of FIRS vehicles peaked in in 2007-08 at 22,000 and has since declined to around 14,000 (or 1.6% of the total fleet) with the decline predicted to continue.
Governments first committed to closing FIRS in 2009 on the condition that it be replaced by a national registration scheme. It is now expected that a national scheme will commence in HVNL jurisdictions from 1 July 2018 including:
- A national registration plate;
- Abolition of registration labels;
- Flexible options for transactions; and
- More seamless interstate registration transfer capability.
A one-off stamp duty exemption will apply to FIRS vehicles moving into the new national registration system.
If you will be affected by the proposal, please consider the consultation paper and either lodge a submission or contact the ALRTA to share your views.
ALRTA will carefully consider the proposal and make appropriate representations on the matter.
Submissions can be made via mail, email or phone by 27 October 2017.
HEAVY VEHICLE CHARGING
Industry has lodged a submission to NTC on heavy vehicle charges for 2018-19 and 2019-20.
A reported last week, ALRTA and other national associations, recently attended an NTC briefing on charging options during which it was apparent that governments are considering either:
- freezing total revenue raised; or
- freezing the current rate of registration and road user charges.
Since 2014-15 the ALRTA has called for governments to immediately return to fair cost recovery in line with the recommendations arising from a comprehensive NTC charging review. However, governments still refuse to consider this option and remain intent on overcharging – the only question is by ‘how much’.
The options were considered at a special meeting of the ATA Transport and Economics Committee. While neither option will immediately resolve the current over-charging problem, freezing total revenue is the faster pathway to fair cost-recovery – provided that governments continue to increase spending on road infrastructure.
If governments are to re-gain the trust of industry on this matter, it is imperative that we return to fair cost-recovery before embarking on broader charging reform.
A single unified submission has be lodged by ATA ahead of a charging decision in November 2017.
HARMONISATION OF NOTICES
The ALRTA and ATA have made a joint submission to NHVR on the 2017 draft National B-Double Notice and Road Train Notice.
The draft notices will generally improve harmonisation across HVNL jurisdictions with more consistent definitions, weights, dimensions and network integration.
We have made several recommendations seeking:
- discontinuation of the ‘XY’ rule for tri-tri B-double combinations;
- removal of the requirement to plate/label front underrun protection devices in in ACT and Tasmania for vehicles ADR plated 2012 or later;
- clarification of and exemption for ‘small’ or non-structural forward protrusions;
- removal of prescriptive axle group guidance for road trains (with existing ADR definitions to instead be used); and
- Removal of engine performance requirements for B-triples and AB-triples.
While supporting the removal of many superfluous notice conditions that do not have a legislative basis in the HVNL, ALRTA & ATA have cautioned that the NHVR must first ensure that an alternative nationally consistent approach is in place. We cannot afford to have the harmonisation effort undermined by inconsistent approaches at the state-level.
Next week, ALRTA and state association representatives are heading to Brisbane to discuss the inconsistent approach to IAP with NHVR, RMS, TMR and the National Farmers Federation.
LOWES PETROLEUM TO BECOME OUR NEWEST PLATINUM PARTNER
We are delighted to advise that we have agreed a national partnership with Lowes Petroleum. Lowes has extensive local experience in rural and regional Australia and offers our members local service throughout their growing network of bulk fuel and lubricant depots, delivery vehicles and retail service stations.
Many of our members already use Lowes services and the good news is that any ALRTA member who signs up to or has an existing Lowes BP+ Card will be entitled to a significant fuel discount.
Watch this space! We will provide the details about our newest partner next week including how to link your Lowes BP+ card to attain the discount and everything else you need to know. The agreement takes effect from 20 October 2017.
HELP LOWES SUPPORT MOTOR NEURON DISEASE RESEARCH
In the meantime, it is a great opportunity to support a worthy cause as Lowes have partnered with The MND and Me Foundation to raise funds to care for and to cure Motor Neurone Disease.
Show your support and buy a raffle ticket from just $5. There are excellent prizes on offer as Lowes will be giving away over 40 fuel vouchers valued at $1100 for first place all the way through to $100. Click the link below to buy your ticket now!
BUILDING NATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS
ALRTA would not be the force it is without the support of our national sponsors. In fact, it is more accurate to think of these relationships as national partnerships.
This week ALRTA headed to Melbourne to meet with PACCAR & Dealer, Cummins and Beaurepaires. Our representatives included ALRTA National President (Kevin Keenan), two members of our Large and National Operators Chapter (Robert Cavanagh and Ross Fraser) and ALRTA Executive Director (Mathew Munro).
As you would expect, each of our partners is keen to discuss how to best market their quality products and services to our members. But equally, they want to know how we are using their generous financial support to improve safety and viability in the rural transport sector.
We really do have a great story to tell about our transition and achievements over recent years and I am sure that this will translate into continuing strong support from our national partners into 2018 and beyond!
Photo (L to R): Kevin Keenan, Robert Cavanagh and Ross Fraser.
The ATA has lodged a submission in response to the NTC’s consultation paper on ‘Assessing the effectiveness of the PBS scheme’. ATA has made nine recommendations focussed on streamlined PBS vehicle approval pathways, improving access for higher productivity vehicles and opposing use of a performance based approach to assess and register new heavy vehicles over 42.5 tonnes.
Click here to read the ATA submission.
SECURE YOUR VEHICLE
A stolen fertiliser truck that crashed into a building at Singleton in the Hunter Valley is a wake-up call for drivers to secure their vehicles at all times, says Australian Trucking Association CEO Ben Maguire.
‘News reports that the truck was stolen from a service station at Murrurundi are a shock and have hit home amongst the Australian trucking community’, said Mr Maguire.
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the driver, those injured, and the Singleton community.
‘An incident resulting from an unsecure truck as we have seen in Singleton today, can have a devastating impact.
‘Trucks and other commercial vehicles are easy to access, and this is a warning to all drivers and operators that trucks and loads must be secured at all times,’ he says.
‘Keeping your trucks safe and secure is absolutely essential in today’s heightened security environment, no matter where you are, how small the rest stop or how safe you feel. Sadly, this has become our new norm.’
Mr Maguire says there has been an increase in truck theft since 2014 with around 1,200 trucks are stolen each year from a national fleet of 500,000.
‘Truck security can be simple and that complex regimes don’t have to be implemented. ‘We need to talk to our mates and make security a normal part of our routines,’ he says.
‘Be aware of your surroundings, lock your truck at all times and keep your keys safe. Know where your vehicle is and who has access. If you’re hiring drivers, always do a check for the right licence and other genuine documents.
‘Truckies also need to know their loads. Check your load regularly, especially when you’ve been away from your vehicle. Always make sure your load is secure, particularly if it’s something of value, like fuel.’
Mr Maguire says all truckies should have a security plan so drivers know what to do if something happens. ‘It may be as simple as checking in regularly as part of your fatigue management plan to make sure people know where you are and what you’re doing’, he says.
‘And if you don’t already, then consider using a reporting system during or on completion of a job to make sure people know you’re safe and the location of your vehicle.’
WOMEN AND LEADERSHIP GRANTS
Building on the significant developmental momentum achieved earlier in the year, Women & Leadership Australia is administering a national initiative to support the development of female leaders across Australia’s farming and agriculture sector.
The initiative is providing women with grants of between $3,000 and $8,000 to enable participation in a range of leadership development programs.
The scholarship funding is provided with the specific intent of providing powerful and effective development opportunities for farming and agriculture sector women; however the funding is strictly limited and has to be allocated prior to the end of 2017.
Expressions of Interest
Find out more and register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest form here prior to 15 December 2017.
NHVR’s “On the Road” E-newsletter contains some interesting articles this week on:
- Recording Hours in Different Time Zones
- Update on Electronic Work Diaries
- An independent review of heavy vehicle accreditation schemes (incl. NHVAS and TruckSafe)
- Chain of Responsibility Information Sessions
Click here for more information or to subscribe.