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FAREWELL: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MUNRO
As the ALRTA farewells our Executive Director this week, Mat Munro offers some reflections on the journey of the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) over the past decade.
All organisations experience change. People have always known this. Way back in 540BC some Greek bloke said “There is nothing permanent except change”.
The ALRTA is about to change, again. After 10 years as Executive Director, I am stepping away from the role to become CEO of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA). For me, it is the new challenge I need. For ALRTA it is an opportunity to consider new opportunities for the future.
Ten years ago, ALRTA already had a reputation for punching above its weight. Yet at the same time it was struggling financially and was organisationally immature. The National Council and Executive at that time were ready for a change.
When appointed Executive Director in 2013, I was ALRTA’s very first direct employee. Prior to that time, all staff and business systems were supplied via a third-party consultancy and shared with a state member association – a model that had worked well for many years.
However, a small employment change was the catalyst that sparked a revolution in the way ALRTA did business.
ALRTA now employs three staff directly, supported by a professional finance team. Our office has moved to the Parliamentary Triangle in Canberra – the very beating heart of Australian decision-making. The organisation operates under a modern governance structure, supported by strong corporate partnerships. We own a building that is practically debt free and we have financial reserves locked away for a rainy day.
This is a great place to be for any organisation about to enter another round of change. The organisational heavy lifting has been done and ALRTA is poised to take another leap forward – of course, under the strategic direction of the six state member associations that ALRTA exists to serve.
I’m very proud to say that ALRTA has also notched up many significant policy achievements over the last 10 years. For example, ALRTA has been successful in:
- securing one hour of work and rest flexibility for livestock carriers to assist in managing animal welfare.
- establishing two AFM templates for livestock carriers, providing even more flexibility for those undertaking long distance work.
- allowing limited personal use of a heavy vehicle, improving life on the road for many drivers since able to travel to reach hot food, showers, toilets or wash clothes.
- reducing red tape by increasing the work diary exemption radius to 160km for rural carriers.
- improving access certainty by clearing the way for customers to obtain Class 3 permits ahead of organising transport.
- securing an exemption from unworkable mandatory ABS brakes for heavy trailers operating in rough environments.
- abolishing the former Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal when it threatened the livelihood of our members, families and communities.
- securing an exemption from new financial laws that would have prevented members from obtaining additional insurance before journeys.
- improving livestock standstill rules in the event of a foot and mouth disease outbreak.
ALRTA has also worked with Standards Australia to develop and publish AS 5340:2020 an Australian standard for livestock loading/unloading ramps and forcing pens. Widespread adoption of the Australian Standard will prevent injuries and save lives.
More recently, ALRTA worked with NHVR to develop a registered industry code of practice for managing effluent in the livestock supply chain. For too long the transporter has been the only party held responsible for effluent related load restraint breaches.
And to make a practical difference and demonstrate new concepts, ALRTA has even built and operated critical infrastructure.
At Kilcoy Global Foods we built an innovative unloading gantry and trialled a user-pay access system. We proved that transport operators are prepared to make a financial contribution to obtain safer infrastructure sooner – if the price is reasonable.
In partnership with local governments ALRTA has built three effluent disposal facilities on important livestock freight routes. Each facility is free to use and was designed by our members for the use of all livestock carriers. We need more of them, but we are off to a good start.
Around us, our industry and our world continues to change. So, we must change too.
New technology is making our industry safer and more efficient. Heavy vehicles are rapidly becoming computers on wheels. Everything from the phone in the driver’s pocket to the braking and stability systems are becoming ‘smart’ – soon, even our road infrastructure will be talking to the vehicle. Drivers may even become redundant for some types of journeys. Add to this an imminent change in fuel and engine technology and the industry of tomorrow will likely look very different from the industry of today.
Charting a course through all this change and uncertainty requires a strong and united voice for the rural road transport sector. ALRTA has been that voice for the past 38 years.
Our state member associations and their elected representatives remain as passionate as ever about our vital industry. So, while the ALRTA might look and feel little different under new management, that passion is something that will never change.
On that note, I really can’t walk out the door without acknowledging the association members and staff who have supported me over the past 10 years. Looking back at all we have achieved, and the platform we have created for the future, it is plainly obvious that we really are stronger together.
I sincerely thank past Presidents, Executive, Council, state member associations, committee members, our dedicated secretariat staff and our generous national sponsors who have devoted their time, intellect, muscle and energy to protect and enhance our industry. I count many of you among my friends. The incoming ALRTA Executive Director will certainly be in great hands.
MINISTERS AGREE TO ACCELERATE TRANSPORT DECARBONISATION
Australian Infrastructure and Transport Ministers met in Perth on Friday last week. These meetings occur twice annually. It was the first meeting for NSW Minister the Hon Jo Haylen MP.
At the meeting, ministers acknowledged that emissions from the transport and infrastructure sectors would rise as a proportion of overall emissions unless further steps were taken to address climate change. As a result, ministers agreed to establish a new Decarbonisation of Transport Working Group to improve national coordination and help oversee a new transport decarbonisation work plan and shared principles for national transport decarbonisation.
Ministers further agreed to work together, and in consultation with industry, to develop a nationally consistent approach for measuring embodied carbon in infrastructure projects and consider further policy levers available to reduce emissions.
Ministers also endorsed proposed amendment to the Heavy Vehicle National Law with the NTC to develop drafting instructions for an Amendment Bill and develop core regulations in consultation with industry. Ministers noted an aspirational goal of having a package of legislation and core regulations presented to ITMM for approval in July 2024, with an update to be provided at the next meeting.
In addition, ministers committed to improving level crossing safety across Australia and welcomed industry stakeholders’ willingness to endorse a code of practice on increased train illumination, reflecting findings from industry trials. Ministers noted the proposed National Level Crossing Safety Strategy 2023-32 and asked senior officials to conduct consultations on the strategy before considering its adoption later in 2023.
Ministers agreed to next meet in December 2023, with Tasmania to host the meeting, and meet in Queensland in early 2024.
REMINDER: EFFLUENT CODE LAUNCH
ALRTA invites members to attend the official launch of the registered industry code of practice ‘Managing effluent in the livestock supply chain’.
The enforceable new code promotes a more cooperative approach, addressing animal preparation and communication. It will improve road safety, amenity, biosecurity, animal welfare and community support for our important industry.
- Friday 23 June 2023
- at Blue Mountain Hotel, 264 New England Highway, Harlaxton QLD
Also expected to be in attendance will be local politicians, NHVR, ALRTA Executives, supply chain participants and media. A light lunch will be served following the launch address.
For more information contact ALRTA via firstname.lastname@example.org or 0422 003 452.
NHVR INDUSTRY REFERENCE FORUM
ALRTA Executive Director Mat Munro attended the NHVR’s Industry Reference Forum (IRF) in Brisbane. The IRF is a high-level group that considers bigger picture issues affecting heavy vehicle regulation and enforcement.
The main topics of discussion included the NHVR portal, fatigue, distraction, PBS and the National Notices Program.
ALRTA NATIONAL COUNCIL
ALRTA National Council met on 14 June 2023 to consider the appointment of an ALRTA Executive Director and a potential new National Platinum Partnership.
Look out for exciting announcements soon.
LRTASA 2023 ANNUAL CONFERENCE
ALRTA President Scott McDonald and Executive Director Mat Munro are in Adelaide this week to participate in the LRTASA Annual Conference.
The event will feature a keynote address by SA Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Tom Koutsantonis MP and presentations on eNVDs, AFM templates, prosecution lessons, mapping, succession planning, mental health and zero emissions engines.
FINE AND FEE INCREASES FROM 1 JULY
NHVR access permit fees will increase by $5 and the cost of a National Driver Work Diary will increase by $2 (from $26 to $28) from Saturday 1 July 2023.
Fees will also increase for National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme modules. These increases are in line with CPI. Heavy Vehicle National Law penalties and fines will also increase in line with CPI.
HEAVY VEHICLE DEFECTS
The NHVR website now features new information on heavy vehicle defects, including safety, legal and administrative requirements. You can learn what is a defective heavy vehicle, who can issue a vehicle defect notice and what to do when issued with a notice.
There’s also practical information on the different risk categories, defective vehicle labels, the continued use of a defective vehicle, non-compliance with a vehicle defect notice, and how to clear a defect notice.
Please note there are different requirements for clearing a vehicle defect depending on where the vehicle is registered. View the handy summary table to find the defect clearance requirements in each jurisdiction. This table is particularly relevant when a vehicle defect notice is issued in one jurisdiction but cleared in another.
Learn more about the new heavy vehicle defects page.
SAVE THE DATES FOR 2023
- LRTASA – 16-17 June 2023 – Adelaide Entertainment Centre, ADELAIDE SA
- LRTAWA/NATIONAL Combined Conference – 4-5 August 2023 – Abbey Beach Resort, BUSSELTON WA
- LRTAV – 11-12 August 2023 – Mercure, BALLARAT VIC
- LRTAQ – 28-29 September 2023 – The Ville Resort, TOWNSVILLE – QLD
SAVE THE DATES FOR 2024
- LBRCA – 23-24 February 2024 – WAGGA WAGGA NSW