ALRTA NEWS – 22 May 2020


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South Australian trucking operator David Smith was elected as the new Chair of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) at the organisation’s annual general meeting this week. 

David Smith is managing director of D&S Smith Haulage and has worked in the transport industry for more than 40 years as a driver, business owner and industry leader through his involvement in associations and committees. 

David is President of the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of South Australia, and former President of the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association. David has been a member of the ATA board since 2016. 

“I thank my predecessor, Geoff Crouch, for his leadership and advancement of the ATA agenda during his three-year term, as well as the ATA board and council for their support,” Mr Smith said. 

“As new chair of the ATA, I look forward to working with our members and industry as we work collaboratively to improve trucking’s safety, professionalism and viability,” he said. 


A feasibility report into the trial of innovative infrastructure has demonstrated there is a demand for safer options for loading and unloading livestock.

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said that the trial of a Parallel Access Landing (PAL) frame included a user-pays option for drivers arriving at Kilcoy Global Foods.

“Having seen the PAL frame in action, it’s clear that there are big safety benefits for operators as well as for livestock. It provides easy access to the top decks of trailers, keeping drivers safe from falls and separated from livestock at all times,” Mr Buchholz said.

“The positive result from this trial means that other businesses can now seriously think about this as an option.”

The feasibility study by the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association concluded that “depending on the type of gantry installed and average daily usage rates, installation and maintenance costs can typically be fully recovered by a higher volume livestock facility in less than three years”.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said that the project was funded by the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI), supported by the Federal Government.

“Heavy vehicle safety is everyone’s responsibility, and our support for this project is a perfect example of how the NHVR is helping to deliver tangible safety improvements with the potential to be rolled out nationally,” Mr Petroccitto said.

ALRTA National President Stephen Marley said the trial had demonstrated that transport businesses are willing to contribute to the cost of safer infrastructure via a user-pay system.

“Loading and unloading livestock is a high-risk activity.  This trial confirmed that the majority of operators are willing to share the cost if it means safer unloading for drivers,” Mr Marley said.

“Not only have we proven a willingness to contribute, we have also demonstrated that it is technically possible to operate infrastructure on a user-pay basis without impacting efficiency.

“In partnership with Proway, this project produced a first of its kind moving gantry that fully retracts while remaining parallel to the ramp and vehicle, so there is a range of gantry systems available to suit all sites.

“Livestock facility owners can now bring forward safety improvements using the user-pay option with full confidence that it is a low risk proposition accepted by the majority of transporters.” 

Over the course of the trial there were no safety incidents for those operators using the PAL frame. 

The full report Investigating the Feasibility of User-pay Loading and Unloading Infrastructure is available here.


The ALRTA National and State Presidents Forum met via teleconference to discuss a range of important maters affecting the rural transport sector. Participants included:

  • ALRTA National President: Stephen Marley
  • LRTAQ President: Ian Wild
  • LBRCA President: Paul Pulver
  • LRTAV President: John Beer
  • LRTASA President: David Smith
  • LRTAWA President: David Fyfe
  • National Member Chapter: Ross Fraser & Robert Cavanagh

The Forum was honoured to be joined by the Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport, the Hon Scott Buchholz MP. The Assistant Minister is one of the few members of Parliament who has operated a trucking business and he has a keen interest in rural transport issues including safer off-road infrastructure fair charging. 

Assistant Minister Buchholz checks out a new Kenworth.


Latest truck crash statistics have highlighted the need for urgent action on safety, education and improved infrastructure, Chair of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), David Smith said. 

National Transport Insurance has released its Major Accident Investigation 2020 report, compiled by the National Truck Accident Research Centre, which outlines a rise in the number of truck driver deaths in 2019 compared to the two years prior. 

Mr Smith said that the report demonstrates a need to improve truck driver safety through increased education, improved business safety practices, and better transport infrastructure. 

“An important finding in the report is that 80 per cent of all serious crashes involving cars and trucks were the fault of the car driver,” Mr Smith said. 

“This highlights the need to educate light vehicle drivers about how to share the road safely with trucks, which is the core focus of the ATA’s road safety exhibition SafeT360.   

“Through its travelling exhibition and online resources, SafeT360 educates young road users by putting them in the virtual driver’s seat. It is providing the hands-on experience and knowledge that is not offered by learner driver programs,” Mr Smith said.  

The report also found that two thirds of crashes were a result of fatigue or distraction. 

“The ATA has long called for improved and more frequent rest areas along our roads and highways, which would ensure that drivers have spaces to take proper breaks and manage their fatigue effectively,” Mr Smith said. 

“The ATA is also a strong advocate for operator accreditation, like our award-winning TruckSafe scheme, which promotes better fatigue management practices, better fitness for duty and driver health monitoring, and more comprehensive safety policies and procedures,” he said. 

To better understand the cause of heavy vehicle crashes, Mr Smith said the ATA is also calling for the implementation of no-blame safety investigations. 

“Since 2013, the ATA has been arguing for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to investigate crashes involving heavy vehicles. 

“The trucking industry needs more knowledge about the causes of crashes where there are safety lessons to be learned,” he said. 

Mr Smith congratulated NTI on its report and said the data will play an important role in pushing for improved safety outcomes. 

“This report tells us that we must never become complacent when it comes to safety,” Mr Smith said. 

“Until there are zero deaths or serious injuries on our roads, the ATA, our members, governments and the community must work together to ensure the proper education, infrastructure and safety policies are in place to ensure everyone gets home safely at the end of the day,” he said. 


The Federal Liberal and Nationals Government will deliver a $1.8 billion boost for road and community projects through local governments across Australia.
The package of support will help local councils support jobs and businesses by delivering priority projects focused on infrastructure upgrades and maintenance. 
The new $500 million Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program and the bringing forward of $1.3 billion of the 2020-21 Financial Assistance Grant payment will also help communities battling the effects of COVID-19.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said local governments were playing a critical role in responding to the impacts of COVID‑19.
“Our funding boost will help councils accelerate priority projects that will employ locally and support local business and also stimulating our economy,” the Prime Minister said.
“These projects will cut travel times, make our communities safer and upgrade the facilities we all enjoy while also getting more people into jobs.
“We know this is going to be vital support, particularly for councils that have faced the combined impacts of drought, bushfires and now COVID-19.”
In summary:
This is a new $500 million infrastructure stimulus package for local roads and community infrastructure.

  • it is exclusively through local councils.
  • Priorities can be set locally. 
  • Available to councils from 1 July 2020.
  • Funding to councils will be allocated based on the well-established and successful Roads to Recovery program to avoid any unnecessary delays and to ensure funding is distributed in a fair and equitable way.
  • Local road projects which can be funded under this program include constructing or improving bridges, traffic signs and control equipment, street lighting and heavy vehicle facilities such as rest areas.
  • Funding will also be available to support community infrastructure projects such as new or upgraded bicycle and walking paths, community halls, picnic shelters and barbeque facilities at parks, playgrounds and off-road car parks such as those near sporting grounds.

For more information click here.


It usually feels like the Australian community just takes road transport for granted. During the drought, bushfires and COVID-19 some people have begun to take more notice of the super heroes on our roads keeping food on the table, fuel in the car, medicines on the shelf and, yes, even paper in the dunny. To lighten your day, we thought we’d share a very special thank you note received by Smith’s Haulage from Tumby Bay Area School in South Australia.


“Road cones line the bitumen, hi-vis clocks every hour Humility’s a noble trait – it drives a special power Their grit deserves our gratitude – they build for you and I They keep Australia moving. Great job… from nti.”
The poems by Rupert McGall are aired on radio across the country, with billboards also appearing nationally from 8 May.  More information on the campaign and to see the video with this poem (video 2) can be viewed here


Teacher: “Kids, what does the chicken give you?”
Student: “Meat!”
Teacher: “Very good! Now what does the pig give you?”
Student: “Bacon!”
Teacher: “Great! And what does the fat cow give you?”
Student: “Homework!”


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