ALRTA News – 2 November 2018

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The Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon. David Littleproud MP, has announced changes to live export laws and governance frameworks following the release of the ‘Review of the Regulatory Capability and Culture of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in the Regulation of Live Animal Exports’.

The changes announced include:

  1. An external, independent Inspector General of Live Animal Exports who will oversee the Department’s regulation of live export and report to the public and the Minister.
  2. A Principal Regulatory Officer within the Department to improve regulatory practice, compliance and its culture as regulator.
  3. An animal welfare branch within the Department and the development of animal welfare indicators to be used as part of compliance systems.
  4. That the Department will improve systems to allow concerns raised by staff members to be addressed transparently and promptly.
    In our June 2018 submission to the review, the ALRTA argued that since the Federal Government abolished the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy (AAWS) and AAWS National Implementation Plan in 2014, Australia’s approach to animal welfare issues has quickly become disjointed, fragmented and lacking national coordination.

The ALRTA was also concerned about the enforcement capability of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. It is beyond comprehension for most people that previous investigations by the Department into live export incidents did not uncover the true extent of problems, apply significant penalties to the parties involved or recommend regulatory changes.

ALRTA recommended that the Federal Government resume its former role in animal welfare, improve regulatory practices with the regulator and establish an independent Inspector General of Live Animal Exports. We are satisfied that the changes announced will address these issues.


ALRTA has lodged a submission in response to the release of a draft National Biosecurity Statement.

ALRTA has a strong interest in Australia’s position on biosecurity matters because:

  1. Regional economies are disproportionately affected by biosecurity incidents;
  2. Road transport is a known vector for the spread of pests, weeds and diseases;
  3. Efficient, low-cost, road transport relies on free movement of agricultural commodities;
  4. Immediate responses to biosecurity incidents can involve a complete shutdown of road transport services; and
  5. Road transporters are well placed to aid early detection of potential biosecurity incursions.
    For these reasons, ALRTA supports a strong and effective National Biosecurity System, supported by a guiding National Biosecurity Statement.

However, ALRTA considers that the current draft National Biosecurity Statement does little more than articulate the importance of biosecurity protection and the principle of shared responsibility.

In our submission, ALRTA has argued that the draft National Biosecurity Statement should do more to explain Australia’s National Biosecurity System and the steps being taken to improve it further.

The ALRTA submission includes 10 recommendations for improving the draft National Biosecurity Statement and includes proposed links for readers to find more information and an example re-drafted statement that incorporates the new information while reducing the overall document length.


ALRTA has provided feedback on NHVR’s draft National Safety Policy.

The policy provides a good overview of the NHVR’s approach to safety matters but could be enhanced with the addition of the following sentiments:

  • NHVR will continually monitor, review and refine policies to ensure that regulation does not inadvertently result in disincentives to achieve best practice safety.
  • NHVR will provide options for regulated parties to ‘do the right thing’ to encourage a culture of compliance (e.g. alternative record keeping rules when an electronic work diary fails).
  • NHVR will prioritise sustainable improvement in safety practices over punitive punishment.
  • NHVR will consult with regulated parties to better understand their motivations for engaging in particular behaviours.


An industry working group has been established to review the ATA’s Side Underrun Protection Technical Advisory Procedure (TAP) 2012.

“The ATA and its Industry Technical Council are committed to ensuring our technical advice remains best practice, so we periodically review TAPs to ensure they remain current and up to date,” ATA Chief Engineer Bob Woodward said today.

TAPs are established to provide guidance on specific subjects and are intended to be informative at a basic, intermediate and advanced level. Current TAPs include stability control, wheel end security and heavy vehicle visibility.

“The existing Side Underrun Protection TAP primarily focuses on trailers. In response to industry demand, the updated version will include content relating to rigid trucks and prime movers,” Mr Woodward said.

“The working group consists of Industry Technical Council members who represent various parties in the supply chain, including truck manufacturers, dealers, engineers and two operators.

“Side underrun protection devices aid the safety of pedestrians and cyclists by removing the chance of accidental access into the wheel space of trucks and trailers. These devices can also provide aerodynamic benefits,” he said.

The working group members are:

  • Phil Webb, Kenworth
  • Scott Grimme, Fibreglass Transport Equipment
  • Greg Brown, MaxiTRANS
  • Brent Fuge, CMV Truck and Bus
  • Dennis Roohan, AJM Transport
  • Lyndon Watson, Don Watson Transport
    “The process includes reviewing European regulation R73 and then processing the requirements into a workable document that meets Australian operations and conditions,” Mr Woodward said.

Once the review is complete, the Industry Technical Council will evaluate the procedure before sending it to the ATA Council to be approved and authorised for distribution.

“Our Industry Technical Council is a working committee that was established to enhance the trucking industry’s safety, professionalism and viability by providing technical input and best practice advice to the ATA,” Mr Woodward said.

“It brings operators, suppliers, engineers and industry specialists together in a long-term discussion forum, and is always open to new members,” he said.

For more information about the ATA Industry Technical Council or to join, head here.

View the ATA Technical Advisory Procedures.


The Federal Government is continuing to progress the National Heavy Vehicle Charging Pilot. Following industry consultation in August, several consulting firms have been engaged to inform policy settings and the design of on-road trails.

Market research will commence in November 2018 with a small number of in-depth phone interviews and focus groups. This will be followed in February 2019 with a more extensive phone and online survey.

Participants are now being recruited for a ‘mock billing trial’. The trial will test simulated charges so that operators can consider their current charges vs alternative charges that might be generated via more direct user-charging (a mass-distance-location charge).

The Department is also currently considering business cases put forward by industry for location-specific heavy vehicle charging trials.

ALRTA will participate in a workshop in early February 2019 that will consider the findings of the market research and the economic modelling of different user-charging scenarios.


The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences has released an analysis of the 2018 drought. The key findings:

  • The current drought is severe in some regions but covers a smaller area than previous events
  • Winter crop production will be much lower in eastern Australia and below average nationally
  • Livestock markets are operating within the bounds of historical variation
  • On-farm stocks of feed and fodder were relatively high going into the drought
  • Farm incomes are likely to be less affected than previous droughts
  • Drought policy is complicated and there are inevitable trade-offs.

The read the report in more detail click here.


Total transport activity contributed $122.3 billion to the Australian economy in 2015-16, according to a new experimental account released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

For the first time, the ABS brings together the total contribution of transport activity across all industries in the Australian economy, through An Experimental Transport Satellite Account. This contribution has been included in the measures of the economy, but this is the first time the complete transport contribution has been transparently reported.

The transport industry alone made a notable contribution, accounting for $77.0 billion (4.6 per cent) of GDP in 2015-16. Transport was also integral to the day-to-day business of all other industries. Activity in these other industries added a further $45.3 billion (2.7 per cent) of GDP during this period. These contributions have remained stable over time.

Jonathon Khoo, ABS Centre for Environmental and Satellite Accounts Director, said that the new data would help identify the full extent of transport activities that occur in the economy.

“For example, the account highlights that businesses outside the transport industry actually used more road transport than the transport industry itself,” said Mr Khoo.

“According to this new account, the construction industry was the largest user of transport outside of the transport industry, responsible for $18.7 billion of transport use. This was followed by the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry, reporting $9.8 billion, and mining, at $9.2 billion.

“Transport activity also contributed to the economy through employment, accounting for one million – or 8.6 per cent – of total employed persons in the economy in 2015-16.

“This data will help policy makers to better understand the direct and indirect effects of transport-related policy changes. The new figures will also support decisions on investment in transport infrastructure,” Mr Khoo said.

The Australian Transport Economic Account: An Experimental Transport Satellite Account, 2010-11 to 2015-16 has been produced in partnership with the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics to meet an identified national data need and priority.

Further details can be found in Australian Transport Economic Account: An Experimental Transport Satellite Account (cat. no. 5270.0), available for free download from the ABS website


The Federal Government will hold a series of industry focus groups around Australia in November and December 2018 to test key elements recommended for the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, including the proposed National Action Plan (NAP).

The Focus Groups will:

  • Provide a brief overview of the Strategy and NAP and how it will addresses industry priorities identified by the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities.
  • Explain how the Strategy links with state and territory freight initiatives and other work underway.
  • Test the structure and direction of the NAP through facilitated discussions.
  • Discuss government and industry’s role in implementing the Strategy and NAP.
  • Seek feedback on further areas for consideration.
    The focus groups will be held around Australia between 21 November and 4 December 2018. If you are interested in participating please contact the ALRTA for more details.


The Australian Government has provided $15m to help drought affected communities. The grant will be managed by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal via their Tackling the Tough Times Together Program.

The Government has this week released guidelines to assist in ensuing that the grant funds can be distributed across all States and Territories as quickly as possible.

For further information click here.


NHVR is holding additional industry information sessions to explain the changes to the chain of responsibility laws that were introduced on 1 October 2018. The sessions will be in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. To find out more click here.

For upcoming NHVR Portal training sessions in NSW click here.

For upcoming NHVR Rego Module training sessions click here.

All sessions are free of charge.