SUPER SATURDAY BY-ELECTIONS
The political waters will be tested this weekend in five Federal by-elections on Saturday, 28 July 2018. The seats being contested are:
- Longman (Labor 0.8%)
- Braddon (Labor 2.2%)
- Perth (Labor 3.3%)
- Mayo (Centre Alliance 5.0%)
- Freemantle (Labor 7.5%)
The Turnbull Government is now in the last year of its term and the final Federal Budget has already been delivered. While the Government’s one seat majority is not in jeopardy, it is possible that this could be increased.
While a sitting Australian Government has not won a by-election in almost 100 years, recent polls indicate that result in Braddon and Longman could go either way.
Given that Federal Labor has firmly promised to reinstate mandatory minimum rates for owner drivers, abolish live sheep exports and repeal company tax breaks, the rural transport sector will be watching the results closely.
CHARGING REFORM MARCHES ON
The Australian Government has commissioned Marsden Jacob Associates to prepare and release a consultation regulatory impact statement (RIS) as part of the second phase of the Heavy Vehicle Road Reform Program.
The RIS was released this week and explores two key proposals:
- Independent Price Regulation: Heavy vehicle charges are currently recommended by the NTC and agreed by Ministers. Since 2014, Ministers have ignored the NTC and kept charges high when they should have been reduced. The RIS considers the possibility of establishing an independent price regulator with powers to set charges and perform oversight functions.
- Forward-looking cost base: Currently, charges are collected retrospectively (i.e. governments first spend the money on charges and regulation and then recover it via charges). The RIS considers the possibility charging operators in advance for expected government expenditure.
Stakeholders can respond to the RIS until 31 August 2018. Following consultation, a decision RIS will be prepared setting out a recommended approach for the consideration of Transport Ministers.
ALRTA will consider the proposals and work with the ATA to develop an appropriate response.
ATA members met via teleconference this week to consider general positions on heavy vehicle charging reform.
More information including a the RIS can be found here.
ALRTA ASKS NHVR TO REMAKE 160KM NOTICE
ALRTA has formally requested that NHVR remake the National Primary Production Work Diary Exemption (Notice) 2015 (No.2). The current notice is due to expire on 4 October 2018.
This notice replaced similar notices that were already in place in NSW and QLD.
National application of the notice was a shining example of how the NHVR can reduce regulatory inconsistencies between HVNL jurisdictions and remove unnecessary red-tape where appropriate.
Importantly, the notice has not compromised safety standards.
The purpose of the notice is to extend the record keeping obligations ordinarily applying to a driver undertaking 100km work, to the driver of a fatigue-regulated heavy vehicle transporting primary produce between a primary production facility and a point of sale, processing or distribution (including return journeys) within 160km of the driver’s base.
The generally applicable 100km work diary exemption was originally designed to reduce the disproportionately high regulatory burden on ‘local’ drivers who travel short distances with frequent breaks during which they load or unload. This works well in urban areas relieving low risk drivers from many hours of ‘small entry’ paperwork every week.
However, a ‘local’ area in a rural setting is somewhat larger than urban areas because congestion is lower, speed limits are higher and the economic base is spread more broadly.
Discontinuation of the notice would be a backwards step for regulatory consistency and fairness.
NEW TRUCK DRIVER MEAL RATES
The tax office has published the 2018-19 reasonable amounts for employee truck driver meals.
The reasonable amounts for 2018-19 are:
- breakfast: $24.70
- lunch: $28.15
- dinner: $48.60
The new amounts are slightly higher than the revised figures for 2017-18. Truck drivers must sleep away from home to be able to claim a tax deduction for their meals.
The tax deduction allowed for each meal is the amount spent and not the reasonable amount. The reasonable amounts are separate and cannot be combined into a single daily amount or carried over from one meal to another.
Employee truck drivers who receive genuine meal allowances from their employers do not have to keep written receipts for claims up to these reasonable amounts but do need to be able to demonstrate the basis for their claims, if asked.
In July 2017, the tax office announced that employee truck drivers would only be able to claim $55.30 per day in meal allowances without detailed receipts. The ATA and other associations worked together to get the decision reversed.
NOTE: This article is provided for general information. It is not tax advice and cannot take into account your specific circumstances.
ALRTA TALKS COR AT SALEYARDS EXPO
Mark Collins of Frasers Livestock Transport represented LRTAQ and ALRTA at the 2018 National Saleyards Expo held this week in Casino, NSW. Mark delivered a presentation on chain of responsibility (CoR) laws in the livestock supply chain and participated on a panel which included agents, saleyards, producers, buyers and NHVR.
The presentation focussed on customer demands that can result in breaches of mass, dimension, load restraint, fatigue and speeding laws, and included photos of good and bad infrastructure at particular saleyards.
The Australian Livestock Marketers Association (ALMA) is currently grappling with the new CoR laws that will come into place from 1 October 2018 – especially the provisions relating to loading managers and responsibilities to ensure that mass limits are complied with.
Regulators are putting pressure on some sites to install weighbridges. ALMA would prefer that all trucks install onboard scales.
Mark made the point that the appropriate response will depend on the level of risk and capacity of the premises to respond. Installation of a weighbridge is the most extreme and costly measure that would only be appropriate for large premises with highly variable loads.
While some trucks may have onboard scales fitted, it is currently unrealistic to expect that all trucks will have this capacity because there is a significant cost involved in fitting and maintaining the equipment in working order – especially in harsh operating environments.
From an economic perspective, in some cases it would actually be cheaper to install a weigh bridge and make it available to the hundreds of trucks that enter a busy site and charge for usage in the same way as charges are levied for washdown facilities.
Mark also advised that ALRTA would support grant applications to build weighbridges at affected sites under the Building Better Regions Fund or Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program.
2018 LRTAWA ANNUAL CONFERENCE
The ALRTA National President and Executive Director attended the LRTAWA Annual Conference held in Bunbury WA over 20-21 July 2018.
The conference was opened by WA Minister, the Hon. Mick Murray MLA, and the program covered some very interesting topics such as knowing your rights when inspectors come knocking, dealing with tough finances and the future of rural production in Australia. The keynote address was delivered by Australian Paralympian snow boarder, Sean Pollard, who survived a shark attack and went on to compete for Australia – he knows a thing or two about dealing with adversity.
I was amazed at the generosity of the attendees who together raised around $20,000 for charity over the two days.
ELECTION RESULTS: LRTAWA AGM
The ALRTA congratulates the following office bearers elected at the LRTAWA AGM on 21 July 2018:
- President: Andy Jacob
- Vice President – Livestock: David Fyfe
- Vice President – Bulk: Timm Lange
- Treasurer: Billy Bartlett
- Immediate Past President: Stephen Marley
Photo: LRTAWA President Andy Jacob
LIVE EXPORT RALLY
It was all happening in WA last week with more than 1,000 people gathering at a rally in support of live exports at Katanning.
The event was a combined meeting of WAFarmers Upper Great Southern, Central Great Southern and Corrigin/Lake Grace Zones and open to the public to provide a forum for farmers and allied businesses to convey their opinions about the current live export situation. Speakers included the WA Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development, the Hon. Alannah Mac Tiernan MP, Federal Member for O’Connor, Rick Wilson MP and Federal Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce MP.
The event was attended by producers, livestock carriers, shearing contractors, stock agents and regional business owners. It attracted broad media coverage and delivered a strong message of support from the wider agricultural sector for continuation of the trade under increased standards and scrutiny.
Expert presentations during the LRTAWA conference the following day made it clear that WA sheep producers have a unique production system and depend on multiple paths to market. If there is no ‘price tension’ from export competition, sheep prices are certain to fall until it is economic to truck WA sheep to the Eastern States – this will become the new ‘floor’ in the WA market and consequently put pressure on sheep prices in other states.
While industry participants are overwhelmingly supportive of lifting welfare standards, this must be done in a practical and meaningful way. Any imposition of arbitrary standards by regulators who do not understand the industry will add significant unnecessary cost which will jeopardise the viability of the trade. In these circumstances, sheep producers will consider other options and stock numbers may fall below a critical mass from which the market may never recover.
TRUCKSAFE PREPARES FOR COR CHANGES
The TruckSafe board are continuing their work to develop best-practice policies and procedures to ensure all accredited members will satisfy chain of responsibility obligations when the new laws are introduced on October 1.
The new laws introduce:
- a strong general safety duty, including on trucking industry customers
- the extension of chain of responsibility to cover vehicle maintenance and repairs
- due diligence obligations on company directors and executives to ensure chain parties comply with their primary safety duty
- maximum penalty increases for the most serious cases to bring them in line with other national safety laws and
- the removal of red tape and unnecessary legislative requirements.
Industry customers and supply chains are increasingly looking to TruckSafe operators to ensure they meet their CoR obligations, with the knowledge that the accreditation meets all HVNL requirements.
TruckSafe accreditation enables you to verify to customers that you are reducing their risks through safe work practices, safe and well maintained trucks, healthy drivers and sound management systems.
MEETING NOTICE: AGM AND COUNCIL
Members are advised that the ALRTA will be holding a Council meeting and AGM on Thursday, 16 August 2018 at the Best Western, Airport Motel and Convention Centre, 33 Ardlie St, Victoria.
For more information please contact the ALRTA Secretariat.
ATA & ALC Supply Chain Summit
When: 5 September 2018
Road Freight NSW Conference
When: 13 September 2018
Where: Rooty Hill RSL
ATA Technology and Maintenance Conference
When: 15-17 October 2018