ALRTA News – 8 September 2023


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Another busy week of stakeholder meetings and getting my feet under the desk. It has been great to connect and reconnect with people from across the industry.

This week I was involved in the ongoing consultation process regarding HVNL reform being led by the NTC with Ken Kanofski’s involvement.  Michael Hopkins, NTC CEO and I caught up to discuss industry priorities including heavy vehicle rest areas, livestock and animal welfare, development of industry standards including biosecurity and truck washes.  It was a very positive discussion and I am looking forward to working with Michael on these and many other issues as appropriate.

Michael Hopkins NTC CEO and Rachel Smith ALRTA Executive Director

I attended the CropLife Annual Drinks at Parliament House, which was a great event, and I had the opportunity to catch up with Alistair James, CEO of Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC), and CEO of Food Standards Australia and New Zealand, Dr Sandra Cuthbert. There was good political and industry attendance. Prof Brian Schmidt delivered an interesting speech on the role of science in production, food security and emissions reduction.

Prof. Brian Schmidt, Vice-Chancellor ANU

I had the opportunity to meet with national partner bp to discuss their priorities and their partnership arrangement.  It is heartening to see this is a positive partnership with benefits for both bp and industry.  We’ve also solidified support and funding for the Rural Transport Rising Star Award for 2024, with bp agreeing to be a partner for this award again!

Speaking of the Rural Transport Rising Star Award, I met with Power Torque representatives to discuss launching the award later this year.  The team and I are finalising the nomination form and process ready to go to print and launch in the November / December Power Torque addition.  I urge you to encourage rising stars of the industry to nominate for the award, to be awarded at the combined LRTAQ / ALRTA conference in Toowoomba in March next year.

You may have seen in the news the ‘Closing Loopholes Bill’ was blocked in the Senate this week by a motion put forward by Senator Michaelia Cash.  This means that industry will have until February 2024 to consider the bill and its implications.  In that time ALRTA will engage proactively and pragmatically with Minister Burke and his office and other relevant stakeholders to ensure there are no unintended consequences for our members.  National Farmers Federation released a statement on this issue, which can be found here.

On the office front, I’ve been working with the Executive on developing a budget and some back of house processes.  This includes undertaking some minor office and equipment upgrades and looking at where systems can be refined and/or automated.  I’m looking forward to some of these solutions coming online in coming weeks and freeing up valuable time to undertake member focussed activities.

I’ve started meeting individually with all the Secretariats, I met with Bec Coleman and Di Peisley from LBRCA this week to discuss NSW priorities including the National Heavy Vehicle Rollover Awareness Program, Farm Gate Access, Glove Box Guide, and biosecurity truck washes.  Truck washes and biosecurity measures are a consistent issue across jurisdictions and I’m investigating partners and opportunities to bring about a nationally consistent approach to not only standards but funding models. Watch this space.

LBRCA COO Bec Coleman, Rachel Smith & Di Peisley (LBRCA)

Elanor and I also had the opportunity to meet with a potential new partner this week and will continue these exciting discussions over coming weeks.  I’ve also started to reach out to other potential new partners and will keep members across these discussions as they arise.

I am looking forward to another busy week next week engaging with members, secretariats, partners, and other stakeholders. 

Until next week.


Lara Jensen, representing 12 families who are campaigning for improved train lighting and passive level crossing safety, contacted ALRTA President Scott McDonald in late July requesting the association’s support. Ms Jensen said that the lack of safety lighting on locomotives and rolling stock in the regions, and passive level crossings, represent serious dangers to regional motorists and have for decades claimed many lives or have been the location of serious, life-threatening injuries.

Ms Jensen delivered a moving presentation to the ALRTA/LRTAWA combined conference in Busselton in August 2023, where items were auctioned to raise funds for the national campaign. This grass roots campaign is now seeing increasing support across the transport industry.

photo courtesy of Transport Safety Victoria

At the ALRTA  National Council meeting in August, association representatives wholeheartedly agreed to join the campaign calling for rail companies to fit auxiliary lighting to locomotives (ie hazard, side, and front lighting) and for upgrades to passive level crossings.


R U OK? Day this year is Thursday 14 September 2023.

Got a feeling that someone you know or care about it isn’t behaving as they normally would? Perhaps they seem out of sorts? More agitated or withdrawn? Or they’re just not themselves. Trust that gut instinct and act on it. Learn more about the signs and when it’s time to ask R U OK? here.

You can also Register to access resources including posters, the Guide to Supporting R U OK?, social media tiles, activity sheets, videos and more.


Consultation on the NHVR’s review of the Master Code (2018) has begun. The ALRTA has joined the external working group, which includes stakeholders from a range of transport, logistics and other businesses, large and small, as well as auditors, consultants, and compliance managers,  to consider the feedback already provided.

In the coming weeks focus groups will meet to consider topics such as

  • Running a transport business
  • Safe vehicles
  • Managing loading/unloading premises
  • Driver and employee training
  • Working with other businesses – exchanging information and contracts and
  • Planning and scheduling routes and activities.

We will keep you updated as the review progresses and you can subscribe to receive updates from NHVR here.


The Victorian Farmers Federation – Stock Sense recently posted a video to Facebook promoting safe loading ramps and the Australian Standard 5340:2020. It’s great to see farmers promoting the loading ramp safety features that reduce stress and injuries – for people and livestock.

VFF Stock Sense – link to Facebook post

You can find out more information about the Ramp Standard on the ALRTA website here.


  • LRTAQ – 28-29 September 2023 – The Ville Resort, TOWNSVILLE – QLD
  • LBRCA – 23-24 February 2024 – WAGGA WAGGA NSW