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ALRTA HAILS RECOMMENDATIONS OF SENATE BIOSECURITY INQUIRY
ALRTA has welcomed the release of a Senate Committee Inquiry Report into the Adequacy of Australia’s biosecurity measures and response preparedness, in particular with respect to foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and varroa mite. The report contains 29 recommendations, including investigating the feasibility of a Road Transport Management Deposit Scheme, national coordination of internal border controls and permit systems, and establishment of effluent management infrastructure at truck rest stops on key livestock freight routes.
Other important recommendations relate to improving livestock traceability systems, sustainable biosecurity funding arrangements and improved consultation with the transport sector on all biosecurity matters.
ALRTA National President Scott McDonald said that the rural transport sector had left its mark on the Inquiry and called for rapid implementation of the recommendations.
“The devastating impact of an FMD outbreak would be acutely felt by all rural transport operators, their families, employees and communities, both immediately and for more than a decade afterwards. For this reason, ALRTA has been heavily involved in the biosecurity inquiry, providing evidence in-person and lodging a comprehensive written submission,” said President McDonald.
“I am particularly pleased that the Committee has applauded ALRTA’s initiative and desire to manage our own risks via a Road Transport Management Deposit Scheme. Further consultation and modelling work is required to bring such a scheme into being, but recognition of our seasonal exposure and a recommendation to determine the feasibility of a scheme, represent a landmark first step in the right direction.
“In the immediate aftermath of the ridiculous state-based COVID permit system, I am excited at the prospect of the Australian Government coordinating a national approach to interstate border control and permitting for affected trucks and livestock. In the event of an FMD outbreak, there will be chaos enough without having to deal with eight different movement permit systems.
“ALRTA has also long called for a national truck wash and livestock effluent disposal network on key livestock freight routes – this is critical to controlling and eradicating an FMD outbreak. The Committee has agreed with ALRTA that the Australian Government should take the lead in coordinating a network plan and sustainable funding mechanism. However, I note with concern that this is not the first time a Senate Committee has made this recommendation and flag the need for action, not just words.
“On the whole, this Inquiry has delivered a broad range of sensible recommendations that would greatly improve Australia’s biosecurity preparedness. Yet time is of the essence. With major disease threats on our doorstep, I call for the Australian Government to adopt the recommendations and act with all haste on implementation,” he said.
APPLICATIONS OPEN: HEAVY VEHICLE REST AREAS INITIATIVE – STEERING COMMITTEE
The Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Senator Carol Brown, has invited ALRTA to nominate a suitably qualified representative to be a member of the Heavy Vehicle Rest Areas Initiative – Steering Committee (the Committee).
The Committee will oversee Federal Labor’s $80m additional commitment to improving safety outcomes for the trucking industry by building and upgrading heavy vehicle rest areas to ensure drivers have the facilities they need to rest, recuperate and return safely home. Senator Glenn Sterle was recently announced as Committee Chair.
Along with Senator Sterle, the Committee will be comprised of four industry representatives and five long-distance truck drivers.
Individual long-distance truck drivers can apply to join the Committee via an expression of interest available here. Applications are encouraged from individuals (especially women) who have:
- experience driving heavy vehicles on long-haul trips across a wide range of locations in Australia;
- an understanding of the issues facing drivers on long haul trips;
- the ability to work collaboratively with others to achieve a common goal; and
- the ability to analyse applications and provide advice on merit.
The first meeting will be held for up to two days in February 2023. Other meeting durations will be determined by the Chair and members as required. Members will be required to travel for meetings. While members will not be paid to participate, reasonable out-of-pocket expenses will be reimbursed.
NATIONAL RECONSTRUCTION FUND
ALRTA Executive Director, Mat Munro, participated in early consultations on Federal Labor’s election commitment to establish a $15b National Reconstruction Fund (NRF). Among other sectors, transport is a priority area for investment.
The NRF will provide finance for projects that diversify and transform Australia’s industry and economy. It will be an independent financier that operates commercially to deliver a positive rate of return, and will be governed by a board who will make independent investment decisions guided by an investment mandate.
The NRF will provide a range of finance options including:
- equity investment
Within the transport sector, it would appear that the NRF will most likely target low emissions technologies and manufacturing. It would not invest in ‘business as usual’ fleet expansion. However, this might become a possibility if the fleet expansion was ‘transformational’ because it switched to new technologies and low emissions energy sources.
In essence, the NRF will be akin to a $15b version of the TV show ‘Shark Tank’.
While generally supportive of the concept, ALRTA has cautioned against the NRF providing support without first considering the impact on promising new Australian start-up companies that are already driving innovation. The last thing we need is for a large government sponsored investor to unfairly out-compete other good Australian new businesses.
You can have your say on the $15b NRF here.
SOUTH KOREAN DRIVERS STRIKE OVER MINIMUM RATES
In perhaps a sign of things to come in Australia, 5,000 South Korean truck drivers have refused to return to work, calling on the government to make permanent a minimum freight rate system for shipping containers and cement that is due to expire at the end of 2022.
Drivers are also demanding that the minimum rates system be expanded to include oil and chemical tankers, steel and automobile carriers and package delivery trucks.
The government has offered to temporarily extend the current system for three years and issued a return-to-work order for cement drivers – a breach of which can result in three years jail or a fine of $34,000.
Federal Labor has committed to re-introducing minimum freight rates and conditions for owner-drivers in Australia.
NEW PBS COMBINATIONS ADDED IN VICTORIA
Four new Performance Based Standards (PBS) combinations are now eligible to operate in Victoria under the National Class 2 Performance Based Standards (High Productivity) Authorisation Notice 2022 (No.3).
These new vehicles include B-triples general freight, B-triples volumetric, AB-triples general freight and AB-triples volumetric.
According to NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto, since the notice was introduced in Victoria and New South Wales, it has replaced thousands of Class 2 permits, saving administrative time and cost and improving productivity.
For more information about the National Class 2 Performance Based Standards (High Productivity) Authorisation Notice 2022 (No.3), read the Operator’s Guide.
PBS GENERIC TYRE APPROACH IN PLACE
The generic tyre approach for PBS vehicles is now in place, and the PBS Standards and Vehicle Assessment Rules now reflect this significant change, which brings greater flexibility to PBS operators, and enables the PBS scheme to better support and promote the next generation of smarter, safer and more productive vehicles.
All existing PBS vehicles have been deemed to comply with the new approach – with no need to be reassessed – and operators won’t be required to have their existing vehicle approval amended to reflect this change.
For more information, visit www.nhvr.gov.au/gta or contact the PBS Review Project Team at PBSreview@nhvr.gov.au
bp IS ROLLING OUT EV CHARGING
SAVE THE DATES FOR 2023
LBRCA – 9-11 March 2023 – TAMWORTH NSW – Information & Registration
LRTAQ – 16-17 March 2023 – TOWNSVILLE QLD
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 – WA (Venue TBC)
LRTAV – 11-12 August 2023 – BALLARAT – VIC