ALRTA News – 10 March 2023


 NTI is Australia’s success story. From our humble beginnings over four decades ago to the national company we are today, it’s been a long and interesting road to becoming Australia’s leading specialist insurer.

“NTI Knows what it sounds like to keep Australia moving as Australia’s specialist Insurer.”

Find out more


The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has responded to an NHVR discussion paper about options for reforming the Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme.

The discussion paper presents three options ranging from ‘do nothing’ to ‘make everything PBS’.  As is often the case, the middle reform option is the most sensible approach.  This option will involve:

  • Developing and implementing a Standards Framework;
  • Developing and implementing an Access and Transition Framework; and
  • Developing and implementing an Assurance Framework.

Under current arrangements, entry into the PBS scheme is far too costly and uncertain for most operators. Without network access and vehicle accreditation guarantees (that can be transferred on the sale of PBS vehicles), investing in engineering designs and vehicle production is a risky proposition.

ALRTA recognises that the PBS scheme is growing steadily, but it has failed to meet its original intended purpose of progressing commonly approved vehicle designs out of the PBS environment into a less regulated environment.
While supportive of ‘Option 2’, ALRTA has raised concerns that some jurisdictions (especially Victoria) are relying too heavily on PBS as the only pathway for vehicle innovation and network access. ALRTA asserts that basic vehicle modifications to higher productivity vehicles should fall well below the PBS approval threshold (which should only be required for bespoke designs) as they are manifestly equivalent to vehicle combinations that are already approved. This is particularly frustrating when one jurisdiction requires particular vehicle combinations to be PBS assessed and approved when these very same vehicle combinations already have network access outside of PBS in other jurisdictions.

Secondly, ALRTA is concerned that PBS may undermine approved productivity schemes already established under notice and eventually result in a complicated landscape of vehicles operating under different specifications.

A prime example of this potential problem is the current standardisation of trailer dimensions under state livestock loading schemes. This standardisation has been helpful for industry by allowing a sectoral productivity increase while simultaneously establishing a level playing field.

Standardised equipment enjoys predictable road access and can be easily traded among operators. If jurisdictions were to insist on a PBS accreditation as a condition for accessing productivity improvements it may result in a plethora of new and unique trailers, making it difficult for some operators to compete, difficult to maintain sale value for some trailer types and difficult for roadside authorities to assess compliance with any loading scheme that may or may not apply.  A better alternative would be for NHVR to work with industry to develop options for standard productivity innovations that would continue to be allowed under such schemes.

Again, the primary concern here is the potential for state authorities to take differing approaches using PBS as the basis for providing network access or eligibility for productivity schemes.

For this reason, ALRTA has strongly encouraged NHVR to apply maximum pressure on all participating jurisdictions to take a uniform approach to any requirement for vehicles to be PBS accredited to gain network access or participate in productivity schemes.  In cases where vehicle combinations have network or scheme access without PBS, this should apply across all jurisdictions.


The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has responded to an Australian Government consultation paper about a proposal to establish an Inspector-General of Animal Welfare. 
While ALRTA has supported establishment of the new office, we note however that the function is limited to matters concerning live exports. More specifically, the role will be limited to reviewing / reporting on performance of the Commonwealth, Department and officials and how animal welfare related matters are detected, investigated, dealt with and reported.

Given the importance of Australia remaining abreast of constantly changing animal welfare expectations, ALRTA has recommended that:

  • Recommendation 1: That the Inspector-General of Animal Welfare take an active role in monitoring new animal welfare research and the evolving attitudes of the Australian community and our trading partners.
  • Recommendation 2: That the Inspector-General of Animal Welfare proactively consider and report to government about emerging animal welfare issues in the export supply chain including options for ensuring that Australian standards and practices remain contemporary.

In ALRTA’s view, the livestock export supply chain commences with a domestic decision to offer livestock for sale, or to purchase livestock, with an intention or expectation that the animals will be exported live.  There are sub-optimal practices that occur within the domestic live export supply chain that should be improved, but do not seem to be specifically addressed via live export regulations, the department or its staff.

In considering a broad range of these issues, ALRTA has recommended that:

  • Recommendation 3:The objectives of the Inspector-General of Animal Welfare be broad enough that activities can encompass:
    • Review and reporting on the design and operation of live export facilities (including accumulation feedlots and port facilities);
    • Identifying new relevant Australian Standards or Codes of Practice relevant to live export and making recommendations about how these should be adopted;
    • Reviewing documentation used in the live export chain (for example National Vendor Declarations) and making recommendations about how it can better support the objectives of applicable regulations such as the Land Transport Standards.
    • Reviewing and making recommendations concerning departmental communication practices to supply chain parties.

To ensure best practice governance and operations, ALRTA has also recommended that information published by the Inspector-General is factual (not based on opinion) and that efforts be made to recruit expertise/staff with real life experience working within the live export supply chain.


ALRTA is proud to have nominated Alina Hawkins for ATA’s National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year Award, which is sponsored by our association partner, Cummins.

Alina is the Chief Operating Officer of the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Victoria (LRTAV), and is an excellent role model for women in the trucking industry. Alina is a passionate advocate for the transport industry, especially rural trucking.

Alina is respected for her experience in, and grass roots knowledge of rural trucking and her ability to apply strategic thinking to policy development. Customers of Hawkins Stock Transport say Alina’s skills in logistic management, communication and organisation are excellent.

We wish you every success Alina!


A few weeks back ALRTA advised that the gross value of Australian Agricultural production for 2022-23 was forecast to be $85 billion – just shy of the record set last year. Well, the final figures are now in and the record has been shattered again.  Farm production has hit $90 billion and the value of agricultural exports has increased to $75 billion.

Wheat and canola harvests were the largest on record. Livestock was steady. Most of this produce was carried by our members – just like you! 

Higher input costs, worker shortages and a return to normal seasonal conditions in 2023-24 will likely end the 3-year record run.


The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is conducting a Communications Survey as part of a continuous improvement approach to ensure communications remain effective, timely and informative.

The survey is your opportunity to let NHVR know what kind of communications you prefer to receive, how often you would like to receive communications and what topics you would like to see more of.

The survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete, and responses will remain anonymous. The survey is accessible on a computer, tablet and smart phone.

You can access the survey here.

Survey responses are due by March 20


ALRTA National President, Scott McDonald, and ALRTA Executive Director, Mat Munro, are off to Tamworth this week for the LBRCA Annual Conference. Look out for a report next week.


LBRCA – 9-11 March 2023 – TAMWORTH NSW – Information & Registration
ATA TRUCKING AUSTRALIA 2023 – 29-31 March 2023 – SUNSHINE COAST QLD – Information & Registration
LRTASA – 16-17 June 2023 – Adelaide Entertainment Centre SA
LRTAWA/NATIONAL Combined Conference – 4-5 August 2023 – BUSSELTON – WA.
LRTAV – 11-12 August 2023 – BALLARAT – VIC
LRTAQ – 28-29 September 2023 – The Ville Resort, TOWNSVILLE – QLD