Weekly News – A win on ABS exemption for A-Trailers, Proposed AFM template, New leaders for NHVR

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I hope you managed to have a break over the holiday period, and if you didn’t, I do hope you at least made a few bob keeping busy.  Shaking off ‘Januaryitis’ can be a struggle sometimes but the year is already well and truly underway and road transport reform waits for no one!

The ALRTA National Executive held its first meeting for the year on 8 January and our Large and National Member Chapter will meet on Friday this week.  The ALRTA National Council meets in Melbourne on Friday next week to discuss a range of issues including proposed changes to chain of responsibility, braking, and fatigue.

Our industry-government Ramps Working Party will also get together in Melbourne to consider draft National Guidelines for Loading Ramps and Forcing Yards.  The Guidelines are now well advanced and include model designs.  We hope to commence public consultation in early 2015 and to publish before the middle of the year.

Don’t forget that there are several important conferences coming up soon. Registrations are open for the LRTAQ conference 19-22 February at Tangalooma Island Resort and for the LBCA conference in Jindabyne 6-7 March.  The ATA ‘Trucking Australia’ Conference is in Hobart 19-21 March.

As always, your State Associations and the ALRTA are here to help. So if you have any issues you need addressed in 2015 just let us know.


The ALRTA is pleased to inform members that all five of our national sponsors (NTI, PACCAR & PACCAR, Beaurepaires, Cummins and BP) will continue to support your national and state associations during 2015. Please show your appreciation by always considering their products and services whenever you make a purchase in your transport business.  Help those that are helping you!


The ALRTA is pleased to inform members of a successful outcome for our campaign to amend Australian Design Rule 38/04 to ensure that the general ABS exemption for heavy trailers also applies to A-trailers.

On 19 December 2014, the Federal Administrator of Vehicle Standards wrote to trailer manufacturers to advise that “for the purposes of calculating unladen braking performance, the calculation of ‘unladen trailer mass’ (UTM) may include any mass transmitted to the trailer via a fifth wheel coupling”.

This will have the effect of increasing the UTM of livestock A-trailers so they meet the threshold for the exemption.

It is important to note however that while the ruling has full immediate effect, a permanent regulatory change must still be made in the Australian Parliament by way of a disallowable instrument (i.e. the matter is placed on notice for a period and the regulatory change then comes into effect if there is no disagreement).


The ALRTA has been closely examining the exposure draft of the proposed Livestock and Rural Transport Fatigue Management Scheme (LRTFMS) released by the NHVR in December.  It is fair to say that while we are very pleased to see a draft released, the first version has missed the mark in terms of what operators are seeking for a 14 day cycle.

Put simply, the administrative hurdles and operational conditions have been set far too high for the vast majority of operators to consider taking up the system.

An ALRTA delegation met with NHVR in Brisbane last week to put forward our views.  Given that there was a good spirit of cooperation and an openness to explore alternatives, the ALRTA remains hopeful that, with industry input, a workable system can be developed.  Unfortunately however, that means it will take longer than originally anticipated and we have asked the NHVR to extend the consultation period beyond the 30 January 2015 deadline.

NHVR representatives have been invited to attend our National Council meeting next week to speak directly with operators from around the country in the hope of rapidly progressing the issue.


The Australian livestock transport industry’s quality assurance program, truckCare, has officially become a voluntary module of the TruckSafe safety accreditation program.

TruckSafe and truckCare operators are now able to use both programs under a single administration and auditing system, as well as only paying a single set of fees.

truckCare Chairman Kevin Fechner said the arrangement would usher in a new era for truckCare and its members.

“The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) developed truckCare to provide a first class quality management system for businesses that transport livestock in Australia,” Mr Fechner said.

“By incorporating truckCare as a voluntary module of TruckSafe, we will be reducing overlap and providing better value for trucking operators who put safety first in their business.

“ALRTA will retain strong involvement with the truckCare program, nominating two representatives to the TruckSafe Board to provide continuing livestock transport input.

“We understand that some of our members who are not accredited in TruckSafe may have some issues with transitioning to the program.

However, we feel that this will provide the best long-term outcomes for truckCare and our members.”

Members of truckCare are invited to continue their accreditation through the TruckSafe program.

Existing TruckSafe members will not be affected by the changes. TruckSafe and truckCare members who have questions about the transition are invited to contact the TruckSafe office on (02) 6253 6900.


National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has announced three new appointments to the NHVR leadership team following a nation-wide search for the best available skill, expertise and experience to drive regulatory reform for Australia’s heavy vehicle industry.  The appointments are:

  • Executive Director (Productivity and Safety) – Mr Geoff Casey
  • Executive Director (Engagement and Partnerships) – Ms Karen Vohland
  • Executive Director (Regulatory Compliance) – Mr Tony Kursius

The ALRTA looks forward to working with these individuals who each come into their positions with strong credentials.

For more information about the senior appointments, click here:  https://www.nhvr.gov.au/news/2015/01/19/nhvr-leadership-team-in-place-for-2015


Voter registrations and nominations for the 2015 ATA election are now open. In this election, owner drivers and the operators of small trucking fleets will elect two representatives to the ATA General Council.

The Council sets the ATA’s policy direction on key issues like safety, professionalism and operator viability. If you own, are purchasing or leasing 1-5 trucks over 4.5 tonnes and are on the Commonwealth Electoral Roll, this is an important opportunity to have your voice heard about the industry’s future.

You can register to vote online or download a printable voter registration form and return it by mail, email or fax. ALRTA members with 1-5 trucks are also invited to consider nominating for one of the two positions. You can nominate by downloading the nomination form and returning it by mail, email or fax.

Voter registrations and nominations will close on 10 February 2015. If there are more candidates than vacancies, there will be an election by postal ballot. More information about the 2015 ATA election


The ATA has created a short survey to collect information about how trucking operators are affected by regulatory requirements when setting up, acquiring, transferring or closing a trucking business. This survey consists of 18 questions, and takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

The results of the survey will be used in the ATA’s submission to the Productivity Commission to help reduce red tape in this area. The survey closes on Sunday 8 February, and all answers will be recorded anonymously. If you’d like to provide further feedback to the ATA on this issue, please include your name and email in the survey or contact Sarah Harber at sarah.harber@truck.net.au. Take the survey now.


Want to have your say about fatigue laws?

The NTC is collaborating with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to establish a national framework for collecting fatigue-related data to provide a solid evidence-base for future decision making.

We are seeking your feedback on what fatigue issues matter to you, and what fatigue data industry is currently collecting and could contribute to a future Fatigue Data Framework.

The scope of the project will be informed through consultation and at this preliminary stage the project scope is broadly framed. It includes

  • identifying the relationship between fatigue and current regulations
  • measuring the impact and frequency of nose-to-tail shifts on the fatigue risk
  • capturing data over longer timeframes.

The survey should take about 15 minutes, and all results are confidential unless you nominate otherwise.  The survey will remain open until 27 February 2015.

To participate please click here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/X98FZKZ