ALRTA News – 17 November 2023


I’m at the end of another busy week! 

On Monday I travelled to Sydney to participate in a workshop with Graeme Hoare hosted by Deloitte and Integrity Systems regarding the redevelopment of the National Livestock Information System (NLIS).  It was an informative session, but there is still some work to go to ensure the system works for all parties in the supply chain.  

I met with Amy Crawford the new CEO of Australian Local Government Assocation (ALGA) regarding mutual priorities including road access, regional bridge program, rural road funding and regional investment.  Amy alerted me to the Grattan Report, Potholes and pitfalls: How to fix local roads, released this week.  The report identifies: 

That a gradual erosion of federal funding over the past decade has been terrible for local roads. 

A $1 billion funding injection would mean an extra 25 per cent on top of what councils are currently spending on road maintenance. Many councils do not have a realistic way of raising the money they need to keep their roads in good condition, especially rural and remote councils. A billion dollars is only about 10 per cent of what the federal government spent on roads last year. 

This report will be pivotal in ALRTA and the broader regional community’s advocacy efforts in targeted road investment.  

I’m looking forward to our continued relationship with ALGA as we advocate for the need for regional investment.  

I met with Tony Gavan from Shooters Union NSW this week regarding Closing Loopholes Bill and emissions reduction, specifically the potential impacts on the broader agriculture industry following the establishment of the Federal Government Net Zero Department.  Tony and I will continue to come together on mutual issues to ensure both our respective organisations member interests are represented the public policy discourse.  

Tammie Swalling, LRTAQ and I met this week to finalise the ALRTA LRTAQ combined conference to be held 21 – 23 March 2024, please save the date.  Tammie and I expect to release the finalised program shortly, covering off fuel and AdBlue, adoption of technology, diversity and workforce issues, enforcement and what the future of the industry looks like.   

The Biosecurity Truck Wash Subcommittee met again this week and we are well on our way to establishing terms of reference and drafting instructions for the Truck Wash guide. Thank you to all our members and state secretariats for their involvement.  I know I can speak for Sue when I say we appreciate your time and input.  

Wednesday afternoon I formed part of a COSBOA delegation to Parliament House to continue to advocate against the proposed Closing Loopholes Bill.  I met with Ms Allegra Spender MP and her office plus representatives from Kylea Tink MP and Dai Li MP’s offices.  It was a fair hearing, and I will continue to provide input to their offices regarding the impacts of the proposed Road Transport elements of the Bill.  

Wednesday evening, I was privileged to be an invited guest of Reith and Gordon, a communication and public relations recruitment firm, to attend the inaugural Australian Professional Government Relations Association (APGRA) annual dinner.  (Correction to previous email), Senator Deborah O’Neil, spoke at the event regarding the need for ethics in government relations and lobby, an interesting choice of topic given the event. It was a great evening, providing lots of opportunity to connect with other government relations professionals and industry bodies on topics of mutual interest.  I spent quite some time speaking with Katherine Delbridge, CEO of Australian Seeds Federation.  

APGRA Dinner, Michele O’Brien speaking

I met with Ben Rogers from National Farmers Federation specifically to discuss Closing Loopholes Bill and other mutual issues of concern.  We will continue to engage as appropriate to progress issues pertaining to regional and rural communities.  

I finished the week with a meeting with bp regarding our partnership.  Quarter 3 results are very positive, and it is heartening to see the mutual benefits of this partnership.  A reminder if you are considering taking up the ALRTA bp offer, you have until 30 November 2023. Also, a big shout out to Elanor for all her hard work on managing this partnership, I received glowing feedback from the bp team.  

We’re almost on the home stretch to Christmas and a reminder the office will be closed from noon 22 December until 6 January.  I will remain contactable during that time, but the team is looking forward to a well-deserved break.  

Looking ahead to another busy week next week, Sue and I will be in Bendigo for an MLA update event Thursday and Friday.  

Until next week 


PS: Repco has 2 clearance sales valid until the 30th of November. Click here and here to find out more.

ALRTA will be at MLA Updates 2023 in Bendigo

ALRTA Executive Director Rachel Smith and Project & Communications Officer Sue Davies will be in Bendigo next Thursday 23 November along with LRTAV Chief Operating Officer Alina Hawkins, to join peak industry associations being represented at MLA Updates 2023.

This year’s theme:
Sustainability from paddock to plate
Solutions and technology that embrace sustainability and set you up for success

We will be sharing information about the Ramp Standard (AS5340:2020), the Effluent Code and promoting the ‘Fit to load’ guide. Alina Hawkins will also be presenting on the topic of eNVDs.

LBRCA President Wade Lewis presenting on the eNVD app at MLA Updates 2022

Registration for the event is free.

Newell Highway’s 38 new overtaking lanes

The completion of 38 new overtaking lanes along the full length of the Newell Highway will deliver faster, safer, and more reliable journeys for residents, tourists and freight operators travelling in regional NSW.

The overtaking lanes have been completed as part of a four-year project to build about 60 kilometres of new overtaking lanes between Tocumwal in the south of the state and Narrabri in the north.

Eight of the new overtaking lanes have been built in the Pilliga, between Coonabarabran and Narrabri. They are now open at:

  • Pilliga, about 15 kilometres north of Coonabarabran.
  • Dandry, about 30 kilometres north of Coonabarabran.
  • Near the Pilliga Rest Area, about 63 kilometres north of Coonabarabran.
  • Near the Sir William Bridges Rest Area, about 24 kilometres south of Narrabri.

More information about this project is on the TfNSW website here.

ATA calls for truck law review to fix penalties

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) says Australia’s transport ministers should, if necessary, extend the length of the Heavy Vehicle National Law review so it can deal properly with the unfair penalties for truck driver work diary offences. 

ATA CEO Mathew Munro said the maximum penalties for work and rest hour and record keeping offences were too high, particularly since work diaries were so complicated.

“The NTC needs to run a formal review process to set much fairer penalties for drivers. The existing penalties, and the penalties matrix published in 2015, are not fit for purpose,” Mathew said.

“We are told that maximum penalties need to be high enough to deal with worst case offences, but those offences should now be prosecuted under the primary safety duty or driving while fatigued provisions of the law.

Mathew said the ATA was developing its response to the NTC’s consultation statement on fatigue management, access and operator assurance.

ATA members met recently to consider a package of enforcement measures. They agreed it must include a reduction in work diary penalties to fair and just levels.


  • 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