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ALRTA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR UPDATE
It has been another remarkably busy week. I hope everyone won big on Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup!
Thank you again to Michelle Harwood to inviting me to the Tasmanian Transport Awards in Hobart last Saturday. It was such a fun event and a big congratulations to all the award recipients.
Also thank you to Transport Women Australia Ltd (TWAL) for hosting a Women in Transport luncheon in Hobart on Saturday, it was great to connect with women in the transport industry over a fabulous lunch with harbour views.
I met with Senator Glenn Sterle on Heavy Vehicle Rest Areas and how we can work together to identify sites that could also have effluent disposal sites. We also discussed ALRTA developing a National Truck Wash guide, biosecurity implications, the phasing out of live sheep export by sea and ‘Closing Loopholes’ Bill. The Senator and I talked about skills shortages and the need to promote rural transport as a viable career and attract more young people, including women to the sector.
I also met with Senator Murray Watt’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Kate Boyd, on biosecurity, rural road funding and phasing out of live sheep export by sea. Ms Boyd confirmed the Prime Minister and Senator Watt has both publicly confirmed no other species will be affected. I informed Ms Boyd ALRTA was in the process of developing a National Truck Wash guide and I committed to keeping Ms Boyd informed as discussions progressed.
Regarding the National Truck Wash Standard, Justin Toohey from Dairy Australia reached out to discuss the development of a truck wash guide that could be modular based on agricultural environment and turned into a decontamination truck wash in the event of a disease outbreak. We will continue discussions as there is some technology available on the market to do so.
Graeme Hoare, Sue Davies and I met with Bega Valley Council Mayor, Cnr Russell Fitzpatrick and CEO Anthony McMahon regarding suitability to install an effluent disposal site in the shire. We will continue discussions as they have plans to expand their saleyard.
Following the community roundtable with Senator Pocock last week, Ben Davies from the Minerals Council reached out to discuss the implications of the proposed reform, particularly section 45 which deals with competition issues and has the potential to allow cartel like price fixing. As more conversations and public hearings progress it is becoming increasingly apparent just how complex the Bill is and the many impacts it could have for rural carriers.
On Wednesday there was a meeting of stakeholders including MLA, NTI, ALRTA, TruckSafe and ATA to scope the transition of the livestock module of TruckSafe to ALRTA. It is the first of many meetings to ensure whatever program / product designed meets the needs of industry.
I had the privilege of being invited to CT Group’s 21st Anniversary celebration at Aria in Sydney. CT Group is a global consultancy that combines expertise in research, intelligence, campaigns, and advisory services. It was a well-attended event with attendees including Former Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Tony Abbot, Former QLD Premier and now head of Australian Banking Association Anna Bligh plus industry leaders in defence, health, political strategy and industry associations. The event made the Australian Financial Review, you can read more about the attendees here.
It was great to reconnect with Mark McKenzie, CEO of ACAPMA, which represents the interests of the “End Stream” of the Australian Fuel Industry, including fuel distributors, fuel wholesalers, petrol-convenience retailers, and the businesses that deliver services and equipment to Australian fuel businesses. Mark and I will meet next week to discuss fuel and implications of the ‘Closing Loopholes’ Bill.
Senator Bridget McKenzie requested a meeting to discuss the implications of ‘Closing Loopholes’ Bill on rural transport sector. It was great to reconnect with the Senator after meeting at the LRTAV conference.
Sue has been busy working on progressing the outcomes of the National Truck Wash Guide subcommittee and Driver and Animal Welfare committee, plus rolling out the HVSI telematics program in partnership with members and developing a social media campaign for the effluent code of practice.
Elanor has been busy scoping integration member management solutions including website, CRM and communication channels.
Until next week!
GTSN TRUCK CHART UPDATE
With harvest underway, the NHVR is encouraging operators, drivers, loaders and all those involved in the grain harvest supply chain to be familiar with relevant regulations and the information in the Grain Transport Safety Network (GTSN) book. It is important that drivers understand their truck code and weight limit type, to better manage potential mass and dimension risks associated with grain transport.
You can download a copy of the book and the Truck Chart on the GTSN website here.
NTI AND NRSPP – NTARC 2.0 PARTNERSHIP
NTI is partnering with the National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP) to further develop the National Truck Accident Research (NTARC) report.
The NTARC report has continuously evolved and over the past five years has provided unparalleled industry insight, annually. The NTARC 2.0 partnership represents an evolutionary step for the report – looking beyond the annual reporting on incidents, to a broadening of its reach, and development of supporting resources and deeper insights on heavy vehicle incidents through the partnership.
The new iteration of the NTARC report will be developed in collaboration through NRSPP’s partnership host – Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) – and will involve direct sponsorship funding of the report and the in-kind secondment of NTI’s Transport Research Manager Adam Gibson, the current author of the NTARC reports, to the partnership.
The partnership will open the door for an important new research theme for MUARC and for other potential research institutions to draw on the NTI incident data.
The next NTARC report is due for release in April 2024.
More information about this new partnership is available here.
ROAD SAFETY PROJECTS – $5.6M for HVSI ROUND 9
The NHVR has announced that submissions for Round 9 of the HVSI grants program will open on 20 November 2023 and will close on 19 February 2024. The Submission Guidelines for this round will be available on the NHVR website on the opening date.
If you have an idea for a project that would improve safety outcomes for heavy vehicle drivers and make Australia’s roads safer for all, please talk to your state association or contact ALRTA.
See the NHVR website for more information about the HVSI.
UPDATE ON HV REST AREA PROPOSALS
Senator Glenn Sterle recently told Big Rigs that “five or six” heavy vehicle rest area proposals were assessed as “very worthy” by the Heavy Vehicle Rest Area Steering Committee and have been put forward to the Transport Minister Catherine King, for funding.
The Australian Government has committed $140 million over 10 years to support new and upgraded heavy vehicle rest areas.
You can still have your say on where heavy vehicle rest areas should be upgraded or newly constructed by completed the online survey here.
The steering committee will meet again in January 2024.
Potential Implications of Closing Loopholes Bill
Currently, contractors may challenge their contractual terms under either Part 2-3 of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), or Part 3 of the Independent Contractors Act 2006 (IC Act). Substantial amendments to the ACL came into effect on 9 November 2023 but the cause of action is fraught because it is likely to be costly to challenge the drafter of the contract. The second is unduly expensive to run. The new Bill, Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill, would provide a third option, one that blurs the distinction between employees and contractors. This option would facilitate an application to the Fair Work Commission to obtain an order relating to the finding that there are unfair contract terms (UCTs) in a contractor’s contract with a principal or head contractor.
The first step would be for the Commission to find a contract to be a “services contract”. It would then, as a second step, have the power to make orders relating to any UCTs within that contract. The test is the issue; the finding would be made by relating the provisions of the contract in play with similar terms in an employment relationship. The types of considerations for unfairness are in essence about harshness and where there is a significant imbalance in rights and obligations. The Commission has the power to order that the contract be set aside or varied to cover any impugned terms. The Commission does not feature as a relevant court or tribunal in the other legislative instruments.
Lawyer, IR Consultant and Writer
Changes to Unfair Contract Clauses
With the changes to Unfair Contracts terms now in place NTI have put together some material for their customers. This includes an overview article on Unfair Contract Terms which can be found on the NTI website here: https://www.nti.com.au/news-and-resources/articles/understanding-the-unfair-contract-terms-law-change-november-2023
There is also a short explainer video members should find useful. The direct link to the video itself is on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/G5w5aG_Ct5U?si=VEkHJuMctcWJPKdS
SEVEN NEW HVSPP PROJECTS ANNOUNCED
Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Carol Brown says regional roads across the country will benefit from new Australian Government-funded projects aimed at improving heavy vehicle safety and productivity.
Seven new projects have been approved under the latest round of funding applications for the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program (HVSPP); two each in Queensland, South Australia and Victoria and one in New South Wales. These projects include widening and upgrading roads used along heavy vehicle freight routes. The Australian Government is investing over $18 million towards these seven projects under the HVSPP.
This funding is part of the Government’s ongoing commitment of at least $65 million per year for the program. The program gives funding to state, territory and local governments for projects to increase safety and productivity.
Read about the HVSPP program here.
SAVE THE DATES FOR 2024
- LBRCA – 23-24 February 2024 – WAGGA WAGGA NSW
- LRTAQ/ALRTA National Combined Conference – 21-22 March 2024 – TOOWOOMBA QLD
- LRTASA – May 31 – 1 June 2024 – ADELAIDE SA