ALRTA News – 14 February 2020

Thank-you to our National Sponsor PACCAR & Dealer Industry Fund 

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The ALRTA National Council has endorsed a LRTAWA proposal for the Australian Government to establish an income smoothing scheme for rural road transport businesses. 
The proposal is based on the existing Farm Management Deposit (FMD) scheme which allows eligible primary producers to make tax-deductible deposits in ‘good years’ that can be withdrawn (and taxed) in later years.  The FMD scheme is widely used by farmers to help deal with unpredictable seasonal or market conditions.
Rural road transport businesses are also subject to seasonal and market conditions outside of their control.  In the past 12 months alone, ALRTA members have been affected by droughts, floods, fires and sudden closure of the live sheep export market. Many are hurting and the Australian Government is open to suggestions that can assist in the recovery process and help prepare affected business for future uncontrollable disasters.  
ALRTA has already commenced advocating on this important issue. This week, David Smith (LRTASA President and ATA Vice Chair) raised the proposal directly with the Federal Treasurer, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, at an ATA dinner held at Australian Parliament House. There is interest in exploring the proposal further and ALRTA is working with members and political advisers to develop a more detailed proposal.


The Parliamentary Friendship Group “Friends of Red Meat” was launched at a BBQ in Parliament House, Canberra on Monday night. ALRTA Project Officer, Sue Davies went along to see what it was all about.

Independent Chair of the Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC), Don Mackay, introduced RMAC’s Chief Executive, Anna Neelagama, who welcomed everyone to the event, confirming the nonpartisan nature of the group and thanked parliamentarians from all parties, from all over Australia, who have joined the friendship group, for their support.  Anna also spoke about the value and importance of Australia’s’ red meat industry. Senator Susan McDonald (QLD), a Co-Chair of the group, then addressed the room confirming her keen interest in the red meat industry and her view that Aussie meat is the best in the world! And Co-chair, Milton Dick MP (QLD) told us he was the son of a butcher and proud to help to promote Aussie red meat.
Catering for around 160 people, Chef Samuel Burke described the menu which featured lamb cutlets, scotch fillet steak and goat sausages, as well as a range of salads.
The Parliamentary Friendship Group for Australian Red Meat is to be a forum for ideas, discussion and promotion of red meat and the crucial role it plays in Australia’s regions and economy. It will bring together parliamentarians from all over Australia to receive accurate and up to date information from those working in the industry across the supply chain from paddock to plate.
And yes, the food was delicious!


The Victorian Minister for Roads and Rod Safety, Jaala Pulford, officially opened the NHVR’s new Victorian Headquarters.  Heavy Vehicle safety and compliance services in Victoria transitioned to NHVR in December 2019.  There will be 54 NHVR staff, including 43 Safety and Compliance Officers based in the Melbourne Headquarters, as well as regional offices in Bendigo, Morwell, Mildura, Geelong, Ballarat and Shepparton.
NHVR has also commenced its first prosecution under the new chain of responsibility laws that came into effect on October 2018.  A Victorian trucking business director has been charged with breaching safety duties in relation to fatigue management of its drivers.


To help prevent crashes and reduce road trauma, NSW, QLD and WA have introduced new strategies to target drivers who illegally use a mobile phone while driving.
Ten mobile detection cameras began operating statewide in NSW on 1 December 2019 and warning letters have been issued to the thousands of drivers who have been caught since then. The three months grace period is about to expire, meaning errant drivers will receive a fine of $334 – or $457 in a school zone – and lose 5 demerit points, double that in ‘double demerit’ periods. The state government plans to deploy up to 45 fixed and mobile cameras on the road network by 2023. Police will continue to enforce illegal mobile phone use and issue infringements as part of regular operations.
On 1 February 2020 the Queensland Government increased penalties for using a mobile phone illegally while driving to $1,000 and 4 demerit points (up from $400 and 3 points). To quote the Budget Direct website, “Mobile bill shock has taken on a new meaning in the Sunshine state”.
From 1 July 2020 in WA, anyone caught texting, emailing, using social media, watching videos or accessing the internet while behind the wheel will be hit with a $1,000 fine and 4 demerit points. Just touching your phone while stopped at traffic lights or talking while holding the handset will land you a $500 fine and 3 demerit points.
Drivers can legally use phone cradles and make and receive phone calls through Bluetooth.


Farmhaul driver, Greg Williamson, spoke with ALRTA Project Officer, Sue Davies, last week about the installation of the crate PAL frame at Kilcoy Global Foods. Greg said he was very much in favour of it right from the start and remembers having a chat to Fiona Wild (ALRTA Treasurer and LRTAQ member) about the project.

Greg has used the PAL frame to unload cattle at Kilcoy every day, for five days a week, since it became operational – so at least 100 times. He said that he believes the platform improves safety and using it means unloading is nowhere near as hard on your knees and legs.

“I’ve been carting cattle since I was 17 and I’m older than retirement age. The installation of this platform, and the one at Casino, has probably prolonged my life in the industry by five years!” he said.

Greg also commented on the platform’s ease of use saying that once the platform is in place unloading is much quicker. He also told Sue that cattle behave differently when you use the PAL platform.

“They are naturally curious and turn to face the driver’s side when they hear the warning beep while the frame is on the move. Then as you walk along the platform from the back gate towards the front of the truck, they are in a good position to move off away from you.”

This is one unexpected benefit of the platform; it makes good use of cattle’s natural behaviour and instincts.

Comparing the PAL frame to other platforms he has used, Greg said, “The fact that there is no climbing to unload makes it much safer. In the middle of winter overhead catwalks can become quite slippery. The PAL platform with its steps, walkways and rails really is a simple way to achieve the safety goal.”


A campaign to give Australia’s truck drivers the opportunity to have their say in the national truck law review has reached nearly 190,000 people and gathered more than 110 pieces of feedback. 

Launched in August 2019 by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and Big Rigs national road transport newspaper, the ‘Have Your Say’ campaign was aimed at ensuring Australia’s hardworking truck drivers were accurately and fairly represented in the Heavy Vehicle National Law review. 

“Truck drivers were telling us they needed more opportunities to provide the National Transport Commission (NTC) with their views,” ATA CEO Ben Maguire said. 

“The response we received was overwhelming. The detailed feedback has given us additional insights into the issues drivers are facing on a day-to-day basis and provided practical solutions that could be included in the new laws,” he said.   

Via the ATA and Big Rigs Facebook pages as well as a dedicated SMS and email hotline, the campaign reached nearly 190,000 people. Gathering more than 110 constructive pieces of feedback, the responses have now been delivered to the National Transport Commission (NTC) for consideration in the Heavy Vehicle National Law review. 

Big Rigs editor James Graham said the collaboration was an enormous success and gave those who were feeling disenfranchised by the process a chance to finally have their voice count. 

“The review is one of the biggest things to happen to the industry in a long time, so it was vital our readers had their chance to contribute,” he said. 

“We can’t thank the NTC enough for listening and taking all this invaluable feedback onboard. Hopefully we all end up with a better HVNL as a result.” 

Mr Maguire thanked the NTC for their flexibility and willingness to accept the crucial feedback although submissions to review issues papers had already closed. 

“This feedback is an incredibly important source of information that will be of great value to the NTC as they progress into the next stages of the HVNL review. We are very appreciative of their support for this campaign,” he said.   

Together with its members, the ATA also made detailed submissions to the HVNL review focusing on a range of issues affecting trucking businesses and their employees, including fatigue management, access, vehicle standards and safety, and regulation. 

The ATA and its member associations collectively represent the 50,000 businesses and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry. Together, the ATA and its members are committed to safety, professionalism and viability.

View the feedback


Nominations for the 2020 National Professional Driver of the Year award are now open, recognising the outstanding performance of professional truck drivers, including driving skill, attitude and contribution to industry improvement.

As well as receiving national recognition for their achievement, the award winner will receive $5,000 cash and hosted to attend Trucking Australia 2021.
Do you know an amazing driver? Celebrate them today! 
Nominations for the 2020 National Trucking Industry Awards are also open in the following categories:

  • Outstanding Contribution to the Trucking Industry
  • National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year
  • National Training Excellence Award

Award winners will be announced at the ATA’s Trucking Australia conference, held in Cairns from 1-3 April.
Nominate someone great and join us in Cairns as we celebrate industry excellence.
Nominations close 5 March 2020. Nominate Now


The Australian Women’s Leadership Symposia are a national series of events focused on the experiences of women leaders in the contemporary workforce.
Taking place in every state and territory capital between May and September, the Symposia are an unparalleled gathering of the best and brightest female talent. Keynote speakers include: Nova Peris, Ita Buttrose, Libby Trickett, Ann Sherry, Catherine Fox, Tammie Matson, Sallyanne Atkinson and many, many more.
The events will feature a range of presentations, panel discussions and interactive sessions covering a highly captivating range of topics.
An attendance discount of 25% is currently available by entering code ANSY20 at the time of booking (available until each symposium sells out). For more information and to book:


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.
LTAT (TAS) on 2 May 2020 in Hobart TAS.
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.