ALRTA News – 31 August 2018


In the wake political shake-up that occurred so spectacularly in Canberra last week, Prime Minister Morrison has announced several changes to the Coalition Ministry.

Regional Development has been added to the responsibilities of the Hon. Michael McCormack MP who is now Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development.

The Hon Sussan Ley MP becomes Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories. ALRTA has been invited to meet with Minister Ley.

The Hon Scott Buchholz MP becomes Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport.  ALRTA worked closely with Minister Buchholz when developing our successful proposal for a Federal grant to build a roadside effluent disposal facility in Southern QLD.  Minister Buchholz owns a road transport business.

The Hon David Littleproud MP remains Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.  However, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck has been appointed as the Assistant Minister.  ALRTA briefed Minister Colbeck on rural transport issues prior to him delivering the keynote address at the LTAT Conference in May 2018.

There has been a change in the Regional Health and Regional Communications Portfolios with Senator the Hon Bridgette McKenzie becoming Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation.

One of the most significant changes is the appointment of the Hon Alan Tudge MP as Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population.  This is the portfolio responsible for reform of heavy vehicle charges.  ALRTA is very concerned about the current direction of reform and the change of Minister is an opportunity to influence the thinking underlying this process.


ALRTA has responded to a request from the Federal Government seeking information about fodder movements and options for reducing transport costs during the current severe drought conditions on the east coast.

Our office has discussed the issue with operator representatives across all of our member states.  We have made 17 suggestions and are continuing to work with the Coalition Government to progress viable solutions.


On 3 August 2018, ALRTA advised members that we had lodged a formal submission to NTC rejecting a proposed change to the Heavy Vehicle (Vehicle Standards) National Regulation.  The amendment to section 11 of the regulations would have required all mandatory equipment to be connected to a vehicle – or be deemed non-compliant.

For example, if an ESC system was not connected to a towing vehicle it would be considered non-compliant.

The NTC has accepted our arguments that there are many situations when mandatory equipment fitted to heavy trailers simply cannot be plugged into a prime mover or leading trailer.

In response, the NTC has proposed an alternative amendment that would only require trailer equipment to be plugged in when it is capable of being connected to the towing vehicle.

The ALRTA National Council has considered the new proposal and supports the amendment.

Members need to be aware that the change will mean that mandatory equipment will no longer be able to be left unplugged when a suitable plug is available.  ALRTA is strongly supportive of improving heavy vehicle safety and we believe that mandatory safety equipment should be used when possible.

ALRTA will advise members when the new rules come into effect.


The NHVR has provided to ALRTA a confidential copy of the draft National Compliance and Enforcement Policy for consideration and comment.

The policy describes the general approach that will be taken by NHVR and partner agencies during compliance and enforcement operations.  It aims to achieve best practice standards in a nationally consistent and proportionate manner.

ALRTA member associations and elected representatives will be invited to consider the draft policy to assist in the preparation of an ALRTA submission.  We thank NHVR for the opportunity to review this extremely important document.


The ALRTA has been working closely with ATA to develop a joint industry submission in response to the proposals contained in the Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS): Heavy Vehicle Road Reform and Independent Price Regulation.

We have supported the proposal to establish a new regulator to make independent decisions about heavy vehicle charges but we do not support the proposal to move to a forward looking cost base (i.e. charging in advance rather than cost recovery) until the decision making process is proven, revenue is hypothecated to HV infrastructure (i.e. revenue collected must be spent on HV infrastructure) and firm commitments are given on supply-side road reform (i.e. better infrastructure must be delivered more efficiently) .

After over-charging industry by more than $1 billon since 2014, governments have a long way to go to rebuild trust with industry before we can support moving to a far more complicated charging system.  If they can’t get the simple PAYGO system right, how can we trust them to charge us correctly for infrastructure that hasn’t even been built?

ALRTA has made a short submission in support of the more comprehensive ATA submission that make five key recommendations for an improved reform road map.


Are you ready for the chain of responsibility changes that will come into force in HVNL states from 1 October 2018?

The changes will align the laws more closely with workplace health and safety laws.  In a nutshell, all chain parties will have a general positive duty to identify risks and put reasonable controls in place.

The provisions that currently ‘deem’ all chain parties to be automatically guilty of offences committed by drivers will also be replaced with a fairer assumption of ‘innocent until proven guilty’.  Members should however be aware that authorised officers will have enhanced investigation powers to gather evidence prior to charges being laid.

There are several ways that operators can prepare for the changes.

The main thing to remember is that you should consider and document the safety risks in your business and implement controls to reduce these risks.  Once the new laws are in effect, it will no longer be acceptable to just take no action and hope you don’t have an accident – you can be held liable for not addressing your safety responsibilities even if an accident has not occurred!


Athol Carter of Frasers Livestock Transport has been welcomed as a new member of the TruckSafe board of directors.

An industry initiative, TruckSafe is a world-class business and risk management system aimed at improving the professionalism and safety of trucking operators nationwide and delivering competitive advantages to accredited operators.

“On behalf of the TruckSafe board, I am proud and delighted to welcome Athol, a passionate individual committed to industry excellence,” TruckSafe Chair Ferdie Kroon said.

Mr Carter has been involved in trucking from a young age. Since completing a school-based traineeship nearly 20 years ago, Athol has worked in various roles within the transport industry including driver and his current position as Compliance Manager at Frasers Livestock Transport, a member of TruckSafe since 1999.

“Over the years Athol has contributed to improving the TruckSafe program as a member of the Animal Welfare Sub-Committee and has provided a great deal of advice as we prepare our upcoming Animal Welfare Module,” Mr Kroon said.

Mr Carter says the module will exceed all best-practice expectations for livestock transport.

“The module enables transporters to demonstrate that their on-road transport practices reflect good supply chain management, animal welfare, food safety, biosecurity and traceability.

“Each of these factors impacts livestock wellbeing and the eating quality for consumers,” he said.

In his role as a TruckSafe Board Member, Athol will help the board deliver demonstrable benefits to road transport operators, customers, governments and the community, as well as assist customers to meet their duty of care and chain of responsibility obligations.

“I’m proud and excited to join the board and look forward to working with our TruckSafe members and the broader industry to embrace safer and more innovative transport practices. Working collaboratively will enable the industry to operate more productively, efficiently and viably,” Mr Carter said.


The Australian Trucking Association has welcomed today’s announcement that roads and rest areas across the country will receive a massive funding boost.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack this morning announced that 93 projects will share in a total of $132.5 million of federal funding under Round Six of the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program.

“This is a huge win for the ATA and our member associations. For a long time, we have campaigned for improved and more frequent rest areas, and it’s extremely rewarding to have locked down such significant funding,” ATA CEO Ben Maguire said today.

“Earlier this year, I walked in the shoes of a truck driver and spent the night at a ‘best practice’ truck rest area in NSW. The noise was far too loud, and the bathroom facilities were poorly lit. Conditions that would unacceptable in any other workplace,” he said.

Mr McCormack’s announcement also revealed the Australian Government’s commitment of $132.5 million will be matched by local councils and state and territory governments, for a total investment of more than $300 million.

The projects include the construction of a new major heavy vehicle rest area on the Golden Highway, a new heavy vehicle rest area at Young and installation of toilets and furniture at the Yalgoo rest area between Walcha and Uralla.

“Our roads and rest areas are a driver’s workplace and we have no chance of resolving fatigue if drivers are not provided with appropriate facilities to ensure a safe journey,” Mr Maguire said.

“Having appropriate rest area facilities for heavy vehicles is not optional. It’s not nice to have; it is a fundamental requirement.

“Industry bodies and safety advocates like Rod Hannifey have campaigned on this issue for years, and I am pleased to see the government improving safety for our truck drivers across the country.

“Deputy Prime Minister McCormack understands trucking and the important role it plays in the Australian economy. Together with government, industry and the wider community, we can work together to make our roads a safer place for everyone,” he said.


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

ATA & ALC Supply Chain Summit
When: 5-6 September 2018
Where: Melbourne
More information

Road Freight NSW Conference
When: 13 September 2018
Where: Rooty Hill RSL
More information

ATA Technology and Maintenance Conference
When: 15-17 October 2018
Where: TBC
More information