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BUILDING A BETTER LAW
ALRTA attended two HVNL review workshops convened by NTC in Brisbane last week. This round of consultation focussed on vehicles, access, enforcement and accreditation. ALRTA Executive Director, Mat Munro, was part of a panel of industry experts brought together to discuss access.
Workshop participants collectively considered and discussed suggested policy options with a view to helping the NTC refine the policy options that will be contained in a regulatory impact assessment to be released next year.
The summarised responses to the issues papers and the suggested policy options are being published at www.hvnlreview.ntc.gov.au. The suggested policy options are not intended to pre-empt a particular policy decision and should not be construed as binding or constraining but as options to be assessed.
NAB LAUNCHES ANIMAL WELFARE PRINCIPLES
The National Australia Bank (NAB) has launched a document containing ‘Animal Welfare Principles’ it will use to guide future lending decision to agri-businesses.
ALRTA attended roundtable discussions with NAB in Canberra this week to discuss the principles and how NAB intends to apply them. Also in attendance were representatives from the Red Meat Industry Council, Cattle Council, Wool Producers, Australian Pork Limited, Australian Chicken Meat Federation + others.
All attendees were concerned that the principles were published simply as a means of improving the banks’ image and may have the effect of creating a new layer of regulation and ultimately becoming a barrier to investment in animal industries. NAB explained that the principles will be used to gauge lending risk and that individual businesses addressing animal welfare risks would be considered more sustainable and potentially offered more attractive lending rates – similarly to how insurers offer discounts to businesses that identify and manage safety risks.
On balance, the entry of major lending institutions into the animal welfare space is both a threat and opportunity. It will work against businesses that ignore emerging animal welfare issues, but could be of assistance to those who require finance to invest in better equipment or practices to improve social sustainability.
NAB have committed to referencing existing industry best practice material when conducting risk assessments for each industry sector. ALRTA has supplied information on the TruckSafe Animal Welfare Module and our National Guide for Safe Design of Livestock Loading Ramps and Forcing Yards. Other materials such as our Effluent Code of Practice will also be of interest once complete.
UNLOADING FRAME BACK IN ACTION
The user-pay unloading platform at Kilcoy Global Foods is repaired and operational.
The trial period has been extended to 15 December 2019 (inclusive) to ensure ALRTA collects a full 12 weeks of data. The charge will remain at $2.50.
Transporters are encouraged to continue to use this innovation in safe livestock unloading.
MORRISON WIELDS AXE IN CANBERRA
Prime Minister Morrison has announced sweeping changes to the structure of the Australian Public Service (APS), reducing the number of Government Departments from 18 to 14. It is claimed that the changes have been made to improve service delivery, rather than as a cost-cutting measure. Ministerial responsibilities, the Government agenda and APS staffing levels are unchanged.
The following changes will take effect on 1 February 2020:
- The creation of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, which will consolidate:
- the current Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development; and
- the current Department of Communications and the Arts.
- The creation of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, which will consolidate:
- the current Department of Agriculture; and
- environment functions from the current Department of the Environment and Energy.
- The creation of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, which will consolidate:
- the current Department of Education; and
- the current Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.
- The creation of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, which will consolidate:
- the current Department of Industry, Innovation and Science;
- energy functions from the current Department of the Environment and Energy; and
- small business functions from the current Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.
- The Department known as Services Australia (formerly known as the Department of Human Services) will be established as a new Executive Agency, within the Social Services Department.
It is reported that government agencies and boards (which often sit within departments and number more than 180) will be next on the chopping block.
SUN PROTECTION ON THE ROAD
If we’re heading to the beach or sending our kids off to sports carnivals, sunscreen, a hat and protective clothing are top of the list. But what about at work, or in a vehicle?
With the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, causing around 2,000 deaths annually, Australians need to be extra careful of the UV from the sun.
This week the National Road Safety Partnership Program held a webinar to spread the SunSmart message. See the blog: Sun protection at work – not worth dying over.
There’s plenty of good reasons to take sun protection seriously during our working day, particularly if you spend a substantial amount of time behind the wheel or working outdoors.
One very good reason is staying alive. By age 70, two-thirds of us will be diagnosed with skin cancer. But 95% of skin cancers can be prevented with good sun protection.
- Wear sun protection in the vehicle if glass is not UV treated or if you have the side window down
- Sunglasses with UV protection (Australian Standard AS:1067)
- Sunscreen on exposed skin, reapplied every 2 hours
- Long sleeved shirt or a sun sleeve to protect your arms from the sun
- Wear a sun protective hat outside the vehicle
- Side windows without UV protective film offer 20% UV protection. Windows tinted with a UV absorbing film can block 99% of UV.
Remember sunscreen alone is not enough – a combination of hats, sunglasses, shade and long covering clothing provides the best protection against UV.
ACADEMY FOR ENTERPRISING GIRLS
ALRTA has thrown its support behind the Academy for Enterprising Girls, a new program designed to encourage young women to develop enterprise skills that launched in Canberra today.
The program, funded through the Australian Government’s Future Female Entrepreneurs’ Program, is aimed at all Australian girls aged 10 to 18 years old and is a great way to get more young women interested in business and growing STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) professions.
ALRTA National President Stephen Marley said that the rural road transport sector is backing the program because it’s vital to encourage more women to get the skills they need to succeed in the future workforce.
“ALRTA recognises that we need more women to develop enterprise skills – skills like problem solving, critical thinking and team work – because these are the skills that employers are looking for these days,” said President Marley.
“By encouraging more young women to develop these skills we will not only see a more balanced workforce in the road transport sector, but we will encourage new perspectives and new ideas,” he said.
The Academy for Enterprising Girls is an online one-stop-shop offering girls practical advice from some of Australia’s leading business women and organisations. In 2020 an e-learning program will launch, as well as a national series of in-person workshops aimed at teaching girls design thinking and enterprise skills.
Find out more
URGENT ACTION NEEDED TO IMPROVE INDUSTRY SAFETY
The need for safer roads, better rest areas and improved driver training has prompted calls for Governments to take urgent action to improve industry safety.
In a submission to the Senate road transport inquiry, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has called on Governments to implement practical safety measures immediately, to combat the unacceptable number of fatal and serious injury crashes involving trucks.
“The only acceptable number of crashes is zero,” ATA Chair Geoff Crouch said.
“The trucking industry, drivers, governments and regulators have made progress in reducing the number of articulated truck crashes, however the total number of fatal crashes involving heavy rigid trucks is increasing. Action must be taken,” he said.
The ATA submission has outlined the importance of implementing practical safety measures such as:
- building safer roads and improving truck rest areas
- mandating autonomous emergency braking for all new trucks and extending the electronic stability control requirement to all new rigid trucks
- improving driver training and licensing
- regulating freight matching platforms to ensure they are subject to chain of responsibility under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), and
- implementing no-blame safety investigations for heavy vehicle crashes.
“These actions would deliver safer roads, safer vehicles, safer people and safer systems and companies,” Mr Crouch said.
The ATA has also warned of the implications of re-establishing the failed Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).
“Independent inquiries have found regulating rates of pay for owner drivers does not improve safety. Governments should not repeat the mistakes of the failed RSRT,” Mr Crouch said.
Mr Crouch said the submission also called for improved industry consultation and boosts to productivity.
“Governments should use the ATA General Council as a consultation forum, as it includes representatives from 11 state and national industry sector associations, and also explore additional options for consulting with small businesses and owner drivers, such as the approach pioneered by the ATA-Big Rigs HVNL review ‘Have Your Say’ campaign,” Mr Crouch said.
“Improvements to productivity can be made through encouraging the use of High Productivity Freight Vehicles and implementing a mandatory code of payment terms in the trucking industry,” he said.
The ATA and its member associations collectively represent the 50,000 business and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry. Together, the ATA and its members are committed to safety, professionalism and viability.
View the ATA submission
View the ALRTA submission
UPCOMING EVENTS FOR 2020
LBRCA (NSW) on 6-7 March 2020 at Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Convention Centre NSW. Register Now
LRTAQ (QLD) on 19-21 March 2020 in Roma QLD.
LRTASA (SA)on 12-13 June 2020 at Adelaide Entertainment Centre SA.
LRTAWA/ALRTA (WA & National) on 24-25 July 2020. Location in WA to be advised.
LRTAV (VIC) on 14-15 August 2020 at All Seasons Resort Bendigo VIC.