ALRTA News – 15 February 2019





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ALRTA asks all members registered to vote in the ATA elections to get behind our three candidates.

Ballot papers have been issued to registered voters and voting will be open until February 28.

Owner Driver Position

John Beer, Romsey VIC

My name is John Beer and I am an owner operator from Romsey, Victoria, I’ve been in the industry for over 40 years.  I have one prime mover and livestock trailer.  My son Wayne is also a livestock transporter.  I’m a member of the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Victoria (LRTAV) and currently I am Vice President of the LRTAV.  I am also currently a Vice President of our national body – the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA).  In the past I’ve also been proud to serve as President of the LRTAV and ALRTA.

I’m very passionate about driver safety, animal welfare and improving facilities for livestock transporters and all truck drivers in general, especially parking bays and fixing the roads and safe facilities.  I’m putting my hand up to be on the ATACouncil again because I think I have done a good job representing owner operators so far and I’m always pretty outspoken and not afraid to say what needs to be said and happy to talk to anyone anytime to make our industry better and safer.

I also try to represent what rural and regional operators need because we often don’t get much of a voice. My view is owner drivers are the backbone of transport so we’ve got to make sure regulators and policy-makers and politicians listen to us.

I’m always going to work hard to achieve a better deal for us.

Tim Montague, Banjup WA

I’m nominating to have a voice for owners, owner drivers and drivers, we need a voice from someone doing the job with practical experience, for too long we have been dictated to by people who have never done our job, it would be like a group of truck drivers starting a medical regulator and expecting doctors to listen to us, they wouldn’t tolerate it why should we.

There needs to be reform in the transport industry if we are to retain the good operators we have and attract younger people to the industry, to make it a career not just a job because they cannot get a job anywhere else. Truck driving in my opinion needs to be recognised as a profession and a trade, now that it’s hard to find companies where kids can go in the truck with Dad or their Uncle or whoever and learn the ropes and how the job is done. If you ring an electrician to do a job you expect someone qualified to do the job, you should get the same when you ring a transport company for a truck and driver.

Small Fleet Position

Lynley Miners, Adaminaby NSW

As the current President of the Livestock, Bulk and Rural Carriers Association and a livestock carrier and employer of over 30 years, I have a deep association with the trucking industry.

A hands-on livestock carrier, I have transported goods across rural and metropolitan Australia and understand first-hand the everyday issues that impact the transport industry. I am passionate about improving road freight conditions for the entire supply chain regardless of what you carry or where you carry.

I appreciate that road freight plays a pivotal role in the success of the Australian economy.  When road freight is not operating at maximum efficiency, productivity is reduced and economic competitiveness is substantially weakened.  I aim to work with industry stakeholders to ensure productivity benefits are realised through safer roads, fairer loads and most importantly less red tape.

Being reasonable and practical minded, I want to keep up the fight to remove the financial burden placed on the trucking industry through a fairer charging regime.  This means fighting for a fair go and real action on the current overcharging of the heavy vehicle industry to the tune of $515 million by the end of 2017-18.

This also means working hard to see heavy vehicle registration fees reduced and more funding directed towards road infrastructure upgrades to ensure drivers have a safe work environment to operate within.

On-road compliance and enforcement is another area where I consider the enforcement regime sometimes works against operators and drivers trying to do the right thing.  I am committed to working with industry and regulators to find a better solution to deal with non-safety related infringements in a way that doesn’t see a driver lose a day or week’s pay for unintentional clerical errors or similar non-safety related mistakes.

Holding several voluntary positions including member of the Animal Welfare Sub-Committee, President of the Adaminaby Jockey Club and Director of the Adaminaby Bowling Club, I have a proven track record working productively with a range of industry associations, businesses and government bodies.

These voluntary positions, coupled with 30 years’ experience driving a truck, growing up on a grazing property in the Snowy Mountains and working alongside my siblings in the family livestock transport business I am confident that I can represent all small fleet operators in Australia and put my best foot forward to help push for a safer and more productive transport industry.

I am eager to continue my role on the ATA General Council representing small fleet operators across Australia.


Labor and the TWU are gearing up for rapid implementation of a new system for setting mandatory minimum rates for road transport if a Shorten Labor Government is elected in May 2019.

The TWU hosted a ‘Safe Rates Summit’ at Parliament House in Canberra this week.  For the record, ALRTA (and our state member associations), ATA, NatRoad and SARTA were not invited – basically the associations that most actively opposed the excesses of the former RSRT were excluded.

It is strange how history is re-interpreted and re-written by those with their own agendas.

It seems that the TWU has forgotten that ALRTA publicly supported the introduction of the (former) Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).  Our association participated in consultative meetings, responded to draft orders and appeared at tribunal hearings.

Unfortunately, the RSRT refused to listen to the legitimate concerns of owner drivers in the agricultural supply chain when introducing the payment order – even when told that our members were receiving letters advising that their services would no longer be required.  After consultative and legal options failed, political action became the only avenue available to prevent an imminent collapse of the owner driver business model.

ALRTA has never been opposed to measures that demonstrably improve safety and fairness.

But the hard fact is that the evidence for a link between rates of pay and improved safety outcomes is weak at best (unlike evidence supporting alternative measures such as improved braking standards) and our experience with the former RSRT demonstrated that mandating fixed rates has the potential to cause more problems than it solves.

The ATA is the umbrella association representing the entire trucking industry.   Members had a robust discussion about this issue at last week’s ATA Council meeting and unanimously agreed that ATA must be involved in this from the start and not brought in at the last minute.

The ‘closed shop’ consultation processes and inflammatory rhetoric being espoused by the TWU is driving industry apart precisely when the aim should be to bring it together. It is hard to interpret such behaviour as anything other than promoting the interests of the industrial club at the expense of owner drivers who have traditionally been considered independent contractors operating outside of the industrial system.

Fortunately, there are Labor Senators and Members who acknowledge that the RSRT ‘got it wrong’ last time around and that owner drivers and their associations must be involved in consultations if the mistakes of the past are to be avoided.

Earlier this week, ALRTA Executive Director, Mathew Munro, discussed these issues with Labor Senator Glenn Sterle (Shadow Assistant Minister for Road Safety).  Unlike the TWU, Senator Sterle is remaining true to his word when it comes to inviting all affected stakeholders to the table.  The Senator has formally invited ALRTA representatives to attend a ‘Transport Industry Standards Forum’ at Parliament House in March 2019.

Photo (L-R): Senator Alex Gallacher, Mathew Munro (ALRTA) & Senator Glenn Sterle.

The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP (Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) has also agreed to meet with ALRTA representatives.  In December 2018, ALRTA met with the Hon. Anthony Albanese MP (Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development) and the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP (Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) to provide advice on industry concerns.

ALRTA has always been committed to safety and fairness and we remain open to discussions with all stakeholders. With more than 70% of our national membership identifying as owner drivers or small fleet operators, we really do have their best interests at heart.


ALRTA Executive Director, Mathew Munro, attended the Senate Chamber on Wednesday to hear the valedictory speech of John Williams, Federal Senator for NSW and attend a farewell function.

Photo: Senator Williams and Nancy Williams speak at the valedictory function.

In May 2019, Senator Williams will retire to the farm near Inverell after 11 years in the Senate.  His knack for ‘getting things done’ is legendary and he has been the mover and shaker behind many significant policy shifts including inquiries into the banking / finance sector and the abolition of the RSRT.

A former truck driver and shearer, Senator Williams has been a great friend of our industry.  He has delivered key note addresses at our state and national conferences and even spoke on our behalf in the National Party Room and Federal Parliament.

Testament to his honesty and integrity, Senator Williams has kept the same four staff for his entire 11 years in Parliament – and when a man like Greg Kachel (Chief of Staff) has your back you can confidently wade into the murky world of Federal politics!

ALRTA thanks Senator Williams (and staff) for his exceptional contribution to rural and regional Australia and wish him, and his wife Nancy, all the best during their retirement years.


ALRTA Executive Director, Mathew Munro, met with David Rolland (Executive Advisor, Infrastructure Investment and Economics) of GHD Advisory this week to discuss the Federal Government’s approach to improving freight and tourism along the Princes Highway.

The Princes Highway traverses the southern coastline of Australia linking three of our capital cities (Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney) and connects many regional centres along the way.

While natural topography along the coastline and bottlenecks (e.g. The Great Dividing Range) on connecting highways limit the potential to introduce larger higher productivity vehicles on some parts of the Princes Highway, current access maps indicate that there is still some potential for greater connectivity than is currently the case.

If you have a view about improvements that can be made to the Princes Highway or connecting roads, please contact the ALRTA Secretariat so we can make sure you are heard during the consultation process.


The NTC has launched a new website to inform stakeholders and manage consultation during the HVNL review process.

The review has been split into several phases as follows:

  • March – Risk based regulation
  • April – Safe people and safe practices
  • April – Effective fatigue management
  • May – Safe vehicles
  • May – Easy access to suitable routes
  • June – Accrediting operators to deliver best practice
  • June – Managing compliance
  • June – Other policy matters

ALRTA will be consulting with members on these and other important topics throughout 2019.  Stay tuned for more information.


NHVR is now consulting on proposed changes to NHVAS to better align the scheme with recent changes to chain of responsibility laws.

Feedback can be provided online or at face to face information sessions.  Click here for dates, locations and the web portal.


Australia is a big country, so road transport is critical to us all each and every day.

This is a simple tribute to all those people “Going Places” every day, who help keep Australia moving ahead.