ALRTA News – 15 October 2021


Sponsored by Grays Online

Thank you to ALRTA National Sponsors and LTAT Sponsors for Auction Items

Start Bidding Now! 

 If you are looking to sell assets, excess inventory or consumer goods go through Grays


  • SATURDAY 23 October 2021 
  • 9:00am – 1:00pm 
  • Livestreamed from Wrest Point, Hobart

Online registrations are FREE. 

 If you have registered go to the link on Conference Day 23 October 2021 to view.


ALRTA has supported a proposal to establish a heavy vehicle driver apprenticeship.
A consultation paper released by Australian Industry Standards proposed to establish a two-year apprenticeship to be developed around Certificate III in Driving Operations.

ALRTA National President Scott McDonald. 

ALRTA National President Scott McDonald said that a driver apprenticeship would establish an attractive career path for school leavers and increase professionalism in the industry.
“Our industry is experiencing a chronic shortage of skilled heavy vehicle drivers,” said President McDonald.
“On average, heavy vehicle drivers are around 47 years of age, with many approaching retirement. At the same time, the freight task is expected to grow by 56 per cent between 2018 and 2040.
“Our industry must take decisive action today to recruit young people who will be our drivers of tomorrow.
“We want young people to aspire to a career in road transport rather than to think of it as a job of last resort. In reality, road transport is a crucial industry at the cutting edge of technology, operational complexity and capital utilisation. It is much more than getting a product from A to B.
“Establishing a heavy vehicle driver apprenticeship would elevate the status of our industry in line with other trades and professions, and commensurate with the importance of the road freight sector to the Australian economy.  ALRTA is strongly supportive of the concept and we look forward to working with Australia Industry Standards to develop the detail and delivery mechanisms,” said President McDonald.


ALRTA has increased pressure on Australian Governments to move quickly to rapid antigen testing (RAT) for COVID-19 surveillance as an alternative to PCR testing.  In meetings with Federal and State Government transport representatives this week, ALRTA has argued that:

  • Freight workers are currently subject to different testing requirements in different states.
  • Generally, this is either 7 day or 3 day PCR testing.
  • Some drivers have been tested more than 60 times.
  • The test is invasive and very uncomfortable for some individuals.
  • PCR testing requires drivers to attend supervised testing sites which can be difficult with a heavy vehicle.
  • As testing loads increase, results are sometimes not available for up to 4 days – Drivers can travel more than 3,000km in this time, visiting many locations.
  • While free for drivers, PCR tests cost governments around $120 per test (including sampling, analysis and reporting).
  • RAT are a welcome alternative to invasive, inconvenient and costly PCR tests.
  • When undertaken at 3 day intervals, RAT provide equivalent accuracy to 7 day PCR tests – plus have the advantage of potentially picking up infections much earlier.
  • Currently, RAT must be undertaken under the supervision of a health professional. This is not practical for smaller transport businesses.
  • Self-testing versions of RAT kits have now been approved for use.  These will not require supervision and thus are ideal for a mobile workforce.
  • The cost of current RAT kits is around $10 per unit, and self-testing kits are likely to be around $20 per unit.
  • We believe that governments should offer RAT test kits as an alternative to PCR testing and should cover the cost to encourage uptake and reduce the impost on the road transport sector.
  • Given the much lower cost of RAT kits, governments could deliver a better testing outcome for a fraction of the current cost to the taxpayer.
  • It would be unacceptable for freight workers to be required to undergo multiple RAT tests each day as dictated by individual freight forwarding or receival depots.
  • We acknowledge that there are issues to work through concerning how to provide acceptable proof of RAT test results so that these are portable.
  • However, the road transport sector has already been operating under detailed COVID protocols and COVID-Safe plans for more than 18 months. There is no reason why these protocols could not also address the use of RAT.
  • It is also necessary for governments to recognise RAT undertaken in line with appropriate protocols as an acceptable alternative for PCR testing. 
  • It would however be reasonable to expect a person who returns a positive RAT result to immediately isolate, report the result and undergo a confirmatory PCR test.

Some jurisdictions are currently allowing limited use of RAT and others are undertaking efficacy trials. ALRTA is seeking to accelerate this process to reduce costs, improve the convenience of undertaking tests and to reduce delays in accessing results.  We expect that a move to RAT would also take the pressure off the PCR testing backlog so that symptomatic persons could receive results quickly.
More Information
For the latest summary of border rules and testing sites click here.


ALRTA representatives attended the Australian Lot Feeders Association (ALFA) online conference ‘SmartBeef Bites’.  Of particular interest was the presentation of research results on the Effect of feed withdrawal on truck effluent, animal welfare, carcase characteristics and microbiological contamination of feedlot cattle.   
To our surprise, the research indicated that there is no significant difference in the amount of effluent produced during a 9 hour journey when comparing feedlot cattle subject to pre-loading feed curfews ranging from nil up to 12 hours.   In all cases, more effluent was produced than could be contained in trailer effluent tanks.
While feed curfews were found to have no effect on carcass quality, animals subject to nil curfew delivered a hot carcass weight that was 1.8 kg heavier.  For a 20,000 head capacity feedlot delivering 70,000 short-fed cattle per year, the increased weight is worth almost $1m annually once additional feed costs are deducted.
The findings of this study with respect to the impact of feed curfews on effluent in transit effluent production are at odds with the experience of member drivers and some previous studies. ALRTA is liaising with ALFA with a view to better understanding the new research and its implications.  Further research is continuing concerning effluent composition and potential applications.
ALFA intends to hold a Transportation and Lairage Webinar in February 2022 at which this issues will be further explored.


A new Supply Chain Benchmarking Dashboard, developed by the CSIRO, models Australian supply chains and provides a comprehensive set of benchmarks to assist performance evaluation and international comparison. This project builds on our partnership with CSIRO using the TraNSIT facility to better inform transport infrastructure decision making.
The interactive dashboard currently covers 130 commodities, and around 65 per cent of road and 95 per cent of rail freight trips. The benchmarks provide insights on:

  • Freight task costs and value, including cost per payload tonne or kilometre;
  • Travel distances and durations; and
  • Supply chain movements between businesses.

 Access the Supply Chain Benchmarking Dashboard here.


In recognition of National Safe Work Month, the Australian Trucking Association is calling for urgent action from all Australians to improve safety outcomes for truck drivers and industry members. 
“Most people’s work takes place in an office or controlled environment, whereas a truck driver’s primary workplace is our roads and highways,” ATA CEO Michael Deegan said.  
“Everyone, especially hardworking truck drivers, has a right to a safe and healthy workplace. 
“Road conditions are a causation factor in about 30 per cent of all crashes and a factor in the severity of 100 per cent of crashes. 
“Taking a safety-focused approach to road infrastructure development will build a solid foundation for achieving Vision Zero and saving Australian lives. 
“There is an urgent need to accelerate the uptake of proven safety technologies,” he said. 
Mr Deegan commended operators who implement best-practice standards to keep their staff and community safe, like those who are TruckSafe accredited.  
“TruckSafe accreditation demonstrates that operators have responsible work practices, well-trained drivers, and risk management systems that keep themselves, their vehicles, and the community safe. 
“In addition, the ATA’s SafeT360 exhibition delivers highly-targeted, interactive messaging to improve novice driver education,” he said. 


Members are advised that the ALRTA Council will next meet via Zoom on Friday 12 November 2021.
Please contact the ALRTA Secretariat via for details.


SAVE THE DATES FOR 2021 & 2022

LTAT/National Combined Conference – Hobart & Online – 23 October 2021 – REGISTER NOW
LBRCA Conference – Wagga Wagga NSW – 10-12 February 2022 – Registration
LRTAQ Conference – Sunshine Coast – 4-5 March 2022