ALRTA News – 15 May 2020



ALRTA has written to the Australian Treasurer proposing the establishment of an income smoothing scheme for rural transport businesses dependent on the agricultural supply chain. 
ALRTA National President Stephen Marley said that an income smoothing scheme would improve resilience in the agricultural supply chain.

ALRTA National President Stephen Marley.

“During 2019-20, Australian rural transport businesses were affected by unpredictable events including drought, fire, flood, closure of the live sheep export market and COVID-19.  Our sector is inexorably linked with the seasonal and regulatory environment affecting agricultural production,” said President Marley.

“Primary producers have access to a Farm Management Deposit Scheme that allows tax-deductible deposits in ‘good years’ that can be withdrawn and taxed in later years.  ALRTA believes that a Rural Transport Management Deposit Scheme could similarly assist eligible road transport businesses become more resilient, reducing need for direct government assistance.

“One of the cornerstones of the proposed scheme is that it is self-funded by its own beneficiaries.  For this reason, it is important to establish the scheme several years prior to the next seasonal, regulatory or economic downturn.

“for this reason, ALRTA has asked the Australian Government to commence an investigation into the feasibility of establishing an income smoothing scheme for rural road transport businesses including eligibility, rules and rollout.

“Given that the proposal is largely based on the existing Farm Management Deposit Scheme, I am hopeful that it might be possible to make provision for a small-scale pilot in the 2020-21 Federal Budget.

“It is in Australia’s national interest to make preparations now so that rural trucking businesses are able to endure the worst-case economic circumstances that might be faced in future,” he said.


New record keeping requirements have been introduced for essential transport and freight services entering South Australia.  Transport and freight services are defined as:

  • Persons who, in the conduct of their duties, provide transport or freight services into, within and out of South Australia (including any crew on such transport or freight services) and are required to be physically present in South Australia for such purposes.

The record keeping requirements are in place now and apply as follows:

Essential travellers are required to keep records of close contacts for a 14 day period from the date of their arrival in South Australia.

A “close contact” occurs when a person is in the company of another person:

  • within an enclosed space for two hours or longer
  • within 1.5 m of the other person for 15 minutes or longer

The essential traveller must record the time and location of the contact, as well as the name and contact details of each other person (if known). These records must be kept for 28 days after the initial 14-day recording period.


The Chinese Government has suspended market access for four export abattoirs from 12 May 2020. The affected facilities are JBS Dinmore (Dinmore), JBS Beef City (Toowoomba), Northern Cooperative Meat Co (Casino) and Kilcoy Global Foods (Kilcoy). The Chinese Government is alleging inconsistencies relating to labelling and documentation.
This is essentially a repeat of a similar suspension that occurred in 2017.
China is also considering the application of huge tariffs on Australian Barley that would effectively kill the trade. This threat relates to allegations of dumping (supplying product to market at a price below the cost to make and sell) and farm subsidies (drought relief). Collectively, the tariff could exceed 85%. 
These actions come against the backdrop of the Australian Government supporting an independent investigation into the origins of COVID-19 and not-so-subtle hints from Chinese officials that there will be consequences.


Geoff Crouch will retire as the Chair of the Australian Trucking Association at the organisation’s annual general meeting on 20 May 2020. 

Mr Crouch was elected as Chair of the ATA in 2017 and was re-elected in 2019. He is the Managing Director of Ron Crouch Transport, which specialises in general and dangerous goods freight, warehousing and third party logistics. 

Mr Crouch said it had been a great privilege to chair the ATA during three years of significant achievement. 

“I am especially proud of the master code of industry practice, which the ATA developed with the Australian Logistics Council. The NHVR formally registered the code under the Heavy Vehicle National Law as evidence for the courts and the industry of the safety measures that are reasonably practicable,” Mr Crouch said. 

“During my time as Chair, the ATA redeveloped our travelling road safety exhibition and renamed it SafeT360. My board colleagues and I took the evidence-based decision to change the focus of the truck from primary school students to 16-25 year olds: the most vulnerable group of road users. 

“The ATA was able to continue improving its relationships and engagements in Parliament House with both the Government and the Opposition. 

“I was also able to turn the ATA’s focus to mental health issues, with the formation of our mental health and wellbeing committee. I am looking forward to continuing my personal work on mental health as a director of Healthy Heads in Trucks and Sheds, an independent organisation that will develop a national approach to mental health and wellbeing for the entire transport and logistics industry. 

“I would like to thank all of the ATA’s directors and councillors for their support, and in particular my immediate past chair, Noelene Watson, and our vice‑chairs, David Smith and Austin Vella. 

“To ATA CEO Ben Maguire and his wonderful team of dedicated staff: my sincere thank you for your professionalism and dedication to making the Australian trucking industry better and safer.” 

Mr Crouch will remain a member of the ATA board and its council. 

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.


Australian Industry Standards is currently consulting on draft training package materials for the Logistics and Warehousing sector.  If you have an interest in this ensuring that the draft package meets your needs, you can review and comment here.


The Australian Government has announced a new $650 million package for bushfire recovery which includes:

  • $448.5 million for regional projects, to help towns get back on their feet and support local economic recovery
  • $15 million to assist the forestry industry with the increased costs of transporting salvaged logs over longer distances
  • $27.1 million to strengthen communications capabilities
  • $149.7 million for native wildlife and habitat
  • $13.5 million for local community wellbeing projects.

 For more information click here.


Have you ever wanted to know exactly what happens during a bridge inspection?
The Australian Road Research Board are conducting a one-day e-workshop covering Level 1 Bridge Inspections on 9 June 2020.  While the course is aimed at engineers, inspectors, contractors etc it may be beneficial for transport operators to understand the how inspections are carried out, including how common problems and defects are identified.
For more information click here.


The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has welcomed the Government’s move to disclose the payment times offered by big businesses. 

The Government introduced legislation into Parliament today to establish a Payment Times Reporting Framework, requiring 2,500 of Australia’s largest businesses and government enterprises to report how long it takes them to pay small business. 

“Trucking is a small and family business industry. More than 98 per cent of trucking operators are owner‑operators or small businesses,” Mr Maguire said. 

“Trucking is also characterised by tight margins, and most costs, like wages and fuel, are incurred before operators can bill their customers. Operators often have little capacity to negotiate with large customers,” he said. 

Mr Maguire said that while the ATA welcomed the move to make payment times more transparent, the legislation did not go far enough. 

“Trucking businesses are vulnerable to adverse changes in their payment times, and monitoring schemes have limited effect. They are regularly ignored,” he said. 

“For example, the ACCC monitoring of landside port charges is openly mocked by the stevedores, with prices climbing to astronomical levels.” 

In a submission on the Payment Times Reporting Framework, the ATA called for a mandatory code for the trucking industry to address payment terms issues facing trucking businesses. 

“Given the scope of the problem, however, the Government needs to follow the UK’s approach and include all business to business transactions in mandatory payment terms legislation, with the statutory time period set at 20 days,” Mr Maguire said. 

“Australia’s economic recovery from the pandemic will depend on the nation’s small businesses – but cash flow to them will be more important now than ever before.” 


A national campaign has been launched thanking truck drivers, cargo and warehouse personnel, construction workers and all those keeping Australia moving during the coronavirus crisis.
Australia’s largest transport and logistics insurer, NTI Ltd, has teamed up with legendary poet Rupert McCall to thank all transport and logistics workers for ensuring groceries and medical supplies are delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rupert McCall is renowned internationally for his poems which in the past have paid tribute to Australia’s soldiers and the New York fire department for its response to the 9/11 tragedy. Now, NTI has partnered with Mr McCall to pen five short poems for its “Thank you” campaign.

Visit NTI to listen to all the poems.

ALRTA will published a poem each week for the next five weeks. See below for the first poem.


Clocking up the k’s, the endless highway of our lives A to B, land and sea – the unsung hero drives From pasta bowls to toilet rolls…For what those trucks keep proving  nti says “thank you…You keep Australia moving” 


Two sisters, one blonde and one brunette, inherit the family farm. Unfortunately, after just a few years, they are in financial trouble. In order to keep the bank from repossessing the farm, they need to purchase a bull so that they can breed their own stock. Upon leaving, the brunette tells her sister, “When I get there, if I decide to buy the bull, I’ll contact you to drive out and bring it home.”

The brunette arrives at the man’s ranch, inspects the bull, and decides she wants to buy it. The man tells her that he will sell it for $599, no less. After buying him, she drives to the nearest town to send her sister a telegram to tell her the news. She walks into the Post Office, and says, “I want to send a telegram to my sister telling her that I’ve bought a bull for our farm. I need her to hitch the trailer to our pickup truck and drive out here so we can bring it home.” The postal worker explains that he’ll be glad to help her, then adds, “It’s just 99 cents a word.” Well, after paying for the bull, the brunette only has $1 left. She realises that she’ll only be able to send her sister one word.

After thinking for a few minutes, she nods, and says, “I want you to send her the word “comfortable”. He shakes his head. “How is she ever going to know that you want her to hitch the trailer to your pickup truck and drive out here to bring that bull back to your farm if you send her the word, “comfortable?'” The brunette explains, “My sister’s blonde. The word’s big. She’ll read it slow. – (“com-for-da-bul” ).


From 24 March 2020 the ALRTA staff – Mathew, Sue, Colleen and Jack are working from home amidst COVID-19.

Please email or call Colleen on the ALRTA mobile 0490 515 681 or Mathew (ED) on 0421 082 489.


LRTAQ (QLD) on 19-21 March 2020 at Roma QLD. – POSTPONED
LTAT (TAS) on 2 May 2020 in Hobart TAS. – POSTPONED
LRTASA (SA)on 12-13 June 2020 at Adelaide Entertainment Centre SA. – CANCELLED
LRTAWA/ALRTA (WA & National) on 24-25 July 2020. Perth WA.- POSTPONED until further notice
LRTAV (VIC) on 14-15 August 2020 at All Seasons Resort Bendigo VIC – POSTPONED