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2020: WELCOME BACK
Welcome to the first ALRTA Newsletter for 2020. The ALRTA National Council and Secretariat hopes you had a safe, happy and relaxing holiday period. It was certainly one to remember with the continuing ravages of drought, widespread bushfire emergencies and the blanket of smoke and dust affecting regional Australia and even our capital cities. Thankfully, rain is on the way.
This edition of the newsletter is dedicated to bringing you up to date with the latest information on these emergencies and the associated response.
ALRTA OFFICE CONTACT DETAILS
The ALRTA National Office landline in Canberra is not working – we are currently changing over to a new provider and this seems to have caused the issue. Please call the mobile 0490 515 681. Apologies for the inconvenience, we hope there is a diversion in place very soon.
BUSHFIRES: THE STATE OF PLAY
Unofficial figures estimate that bushfires since 4 September 2019 have burned 18.6 million hectares, destroyed 5,900 buildings (including 2,600+ homes) and killed at least 29 people. More than 1.25 billion native animals have been killed and 11,000 commercial beehives destroyed.
Agricultural market analyst company Mecardo estimates that 8.6 million sheep and 2.3 million cattle are typically located in bushfire impacted areas of NSW and VIC. This represents around 12% of the national sheep flock and 9% of the national cattle herd. Tens of thousands of livestock are confirmed dead with this number likely to rise dramatically. Many more may be fire affected.
Thus far, our members and insurers are indicating that truck and depot losses have been minimal. However, many of our customers have been affected with local road access difficult and critical roads closed for days or weeks including the Hume Highway, Princes Highway and Eyre Highway. In some cases, neither people or goods have been able to move with airdrops and sea rescues becoming necessary. It may be some time before road infrastructure including wooden bridges, signage and rest areas can be rebuilt.
In an unprecedented move almost 3,000 Australian Defence Force reservists have been called up to assist state fire authorities in the response.
The fire season is far from over. ALRTA will keep you up to date with significant developments.
FIRES AND ROAD CLOSURES
ALRTA encourages transport operators to check the current status of fires and road closures. You can find the primary links here:
NHVR BUSHFIRE RECOVERY INFORMATION
Bushfires are continuing to impact heavy vehicle operations across Australia.
NHVR are producing regular Bulletins that provide important information in relation to OSOM restrictions, fatigue provisions and the bushfire recovery.
NHVR is urging all heavy vehicle operators to take steps to ensure safe travel when operating in and around areas affected by bushfires.
Where possible operators should avoid travelling in bushfire impacted zones, however if required, be aware of local emergency access arrangements.
To keep up to date with the latest NHVR news click here
If you require advice on a specific situation, call the NHVR Hotline on 1800 696 487.
NATIONAL BUSHFIRE RECOVERY AGENCY
The Federal Government has established a new National Bushfire Recovery Agency to coordinate a national response to rebuilding communities affected by bushfires.
The Agency is led by Mr Andrew Colvin, APM, OAM, former Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, who will report to the Prime Minister through the Minister for Emergency Management, David Littleproud MP.
The National Bushfire Recovery Agency will oversee a National Bushfire Recovery Fund which will support all recovery efforts across Australia over the next two years. An initial $2 billion has been allocated to this fund.
If you are in dire need, you can call the National Disaster Assistance Hotline on 180 22 66 (yes, that is a real phone number). For more information click here.
INDUSTRY CONSULTATION ON RESPONSE
ALRTA participated in two emergency meetings with senior government Ministers this week.
On Monday, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack MP chaired a teleconference of trucking industry representatives. On Thursday, an agriculture supply chain meeting was held at Parliament House in Canberra, attended by Deputy Prime Minister McCormack, Minister for Agriculture, Senator Bridget McKenzie, and Minister for Natural Disaster and Emergency Management, David Littleproud MP.
On Friday, the ATA participated in a further consultation roundtable chaired by Prime Minister Morrison.
At each meeting, industry representatives were invited to update the government on immediate and longer-term impacts of the fires and drought and suggest options for addressing current issues and building resilience for future events.
The ATA Council will meet via teleconference next week to develop a proposed assistance package for affected trucking businesses.
DO YOU NEED ASSISTANCE?
The Federal Government, State Governments and various charities are providing a broad range of support for bushfire affected businesses and communities. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has established a website that provides information and links.
Available assistance measures include grants, concessional loans, advice and counselling services. Click below for more information:
ACCI Assistance Website
Australian Government Fact Sheet
ATA Assistance Summary
The National Bushfire Recovery Agency will soon launch a website that will also contain consolidated information concerning financial support and personal assistance. ALRTA will advise members when this resource becomes available.
HOW CAN I ASSIST?
ALRTA applauds the efforts of individual trucking business who have provided support to local communities during the drought and bushfire crisis. Here are some links to a few heart-warming stories filtering through to our office:
Hodge Livestock Transport
Brunswick Junction Lions Club
Burrumbuttock Hay Runners
If you would like to make a financial donation or assist in transporting or donating fodder to affected primary producers, please click here.
NATIONAL SPONSORS PROVIDE RELIEF
ALRTA recognises the efforts of our national sponsors in supporting bushfire affected communities to recover. Please click on the links below to read more about these generous donations.
BP Commits $635,000 in Bushfire Relief
If you are in a fire affected area and need to talk to someone about your fuel account the BP team will do what they can to help, please contact BP on 1300 1300 27.
PACCAR and Dealers Donate $100,000 to Bushfire Appeal
NTI Supports Hay Runners for Fourth Consecutive Year
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UPCOMING EVENTS FOR 2020
LBRCA (NSW) on 6-7 March 2020 at Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Convention Centre NSW. Click here to Register
LRTAQ (QLD) on 19-21 March 2020 in Roma QLD. Click here to Register.
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.