WELCOME TO 2023
SUPPORT ALRTA NATIONAL PARTNERS
The continued support from ALRTA National Partners to our industry is invaluable and we are forever grateful.
ALRTA encourages all members to visit and engage with our National Partners.
MANDATORY MINIMUM RATES BACK ON
A leaked document has confirmed the Federal Labor Government is actively preparing to revive the powers of the disastrous Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT), abolished in 2016.
Federal Labor has made no secret of its intention to re-establish an authority to set minimum rates and conditions for owner-drivers. In 2021, it became formal policy at the Australian Labor Party National Conference. That same year, the Labor-Chaired Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee Report ‘Without Trucks Australia Stops: the development of a viable, safe, sustainable and efficient road transport industry’ made the same recommendation. Ultimately, Federal Labor took the policy to the 2022 Federal Election and won.
The leaked document indicates that additional powers will be given to the Fair Work Commission to do much the same job as the former RSRT.
ALRTA President Scott McDonald said it was important not to repeat the mistakes made by the RSRT.
“The RSRT was an absolute disaster for rural trucking. It created a two-tiered freight market in which owner-drivers became uncompetitive and tied up in red tape,” said President McDonald.
“Shortly before the 2016 payments Order came into effect, our member owner-drivers began receiving letters from head contractors advising that their services would no longer be required. Almost immediately, people lost their work. Families lost their businesses. And sadly, some took their own lives.
“There were flow on effects along the entire supply chain. Truck and trailer orders were cancelled en masse. Small regional economies servicing owner-drivers with fuel, tyres, servicing, food and clothing were left reeling.
“While I understand some small operators are struggling, fixing rates is not the answer.
“Owner-drivers are small business people who need freedom to innovate, adapt and accept work on their own terms. Rather than being continuously located at ‘the end’ of a sub-contracting chain, rural carriers often share work amongst each other and constantly change positions in the contracting chain. It is this short-notice, low red-tape, flexibility that enables the rural road transport sector to move seasonally unpredictable farm produce over vast geographic areas to domestic and international markets as efficiently as possible.
“Fixed minimum rates cannot take account of different business circumstances and practices such as backloading, part-loading, multi-owner loading, empty running, vehicle modifications, business innovation, debt and complimentary business activities which are an important part of efficient freight movements in the rural sector. If someone can perform a task below the minimum rate because it suits their particular business circumstances, they should be allowed to do so.
“Instead, ALRTA would prefer greater focus on practical safety measures, financial education, elimination of sham contracting, maximum payment timeframes and accessible dispute resolution.
“With our deep understanding of the problems experienced under the RSRT, we expect that the Federal Government will listen to our concerns and work constructively to avoid a repeat of the previous debacle,” he said.
ALRTA APPOINTED TO $140M REST AREA STEERING COMMITTEE
Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Senator the Hon Carol Brown has announced the appointment of ALRTA Past President, John Beer, to the steering committee of the Federal Government’s $140 million Rest Area Initiative.
Mr Beer joins three other organisational representatives (including Michelle Harwood – Executive Officer of the Livestock Transport Association of Tasmania), and five truck drivers appointed via an expression of interest process.
Former truck driver, Senator Glenn Sterle will Chair the steering committee. Senator Sterle said that “Key to that success is utilising the experience, insight and knowledge of the truck drivers and road safety advocates on the committee and I can’t wait to get to work.”
The Committee will meet for the first time in February.
CONSULTATION ON INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF ANIMAL WELFARE
Consultation has commenced on the establishment of a Federal Inspector-General of Animal Welfare.
It is proposed that the current office of the Inspector-General or Live Animal Exports will be expanded to establish the combined function of an Inspector-General of Animal Welfare and Live Animal Exports (IGAWLAE). The Government has committed $4m over for years to effect the change.
Interestingly, it appears that the main function of the IGAWLAE will be to oversee how the Federal Department of Agriculture regulates the animal export supply chain, including functions, use of powers, assessments, approvals, detection of non-compliance, investigations and interactions with states and territory enforcement agencies.
There is nothing to suggest that the Inspector-General will be activity monitoring and enforcing animal welfare outcomes within the supply chain. It may however influence how the Federal Department and State agencies use their powers.
Members can consider the consultation paper and have your say here.
The proposals will be considered at the next ALRTA Driver and Animal Welfare Committee meeting on 24 February 2023.
PREPARATIONS FOR LIVE SHEEP EXPORT PHASE OUT
ALRTA Executive Director, Mat Munro, met with officials from the Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) this week to discuss the phase out of live sheep exports.
Federal Agriculture Minister, Murray Watt, has recently instructed the department to commence stakeholder consultation. We can expect a discussion paper to be released in March 2023, followed by a series of face-to-face stakeholder meetings. Road transport is recognised as an important stakeholder.
The phase out will affect exports by sea only and will apply year-round (not just during the summer period). Exports by air will be allowed to continue. Other species such as cattle are not under review at this stage.
Any phase out will not commence until the next term of Parliament (ie after 2025). The phase out may then continue for some years to enable farming, transport and processing businesses to adapt. Compensation packages are not off the table.
TELEMATICS FOR PRODUCTIVITY AND RISK MANAGEMENT
ALRTA is engaging with NHVR in early consultations on the application of telematics conditions for risk management and productivity. The consultation is exploring policy and principles for using telematics to enhance access for operators while giving safety assurances to road managers.
ALRTA National Council will consider this important issue at our next meeting.
A public consultation period is expected to follow later in 2023.
NHVR URGES OPERATORS TO CHECK BRAKES
Recent intercepts in the Blue Mountains found that 5.2 per cent of heavy vehicles inspected had a brake defect, 14 per cent of which were major. In a media release of 13 January 2023 NHVR urged operators to check their brakes.
NHVR Director of Operations Central Region Brett Patterson said that the results of these intercepts, which took place at the Mount Boyce Safety Station late last year, were particularly concerning given the road environment in the Blue Mountains.
“Operators should make sure their brake system components are inspected in the pre-start checks before they start a journey – it may save their life and keep others from harm,” Mr Patterson said.
The NHVR recommends using a daily pre-start checklist, such as the NHVR’s Daily Safety Checklist, before each trip and following the below advice:
- Check for brake faults quickly and efficiently by applying the brake with the engine off and listening for air leaks. Then, with the park brakes released, apply the brake again and listen for abnormal sounds, as this can indicate excessive brake travel.
- Whether they’re minor or major, fix any brake defects before travel
Additionally, it’s important for heavy vehicle operators to:
- Obey all steep decent heavy vehicle speed signage; and
- Always drive to road conditions – the condition of the road can severely impact a vehicle’s brake responses and effectiveness.
For more information on the NHVR Daily Safety Checklist visit: www.nhvr.gov.au/dailycheck
eNVD APP TRANSPORTERS CHECKLIST
Are you ready for digital consignments?
Customers may soon expect transporters to use an eNVD to provide for end-to-end electronic transfer of livestock consignments including Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) NVDs, Meat Standards Australia Vendor Declarations, National Health Declarations and National Feedlot Accreditation Scheme forms.
The eNVD Livestock Consignments app is the fast, easy system for completing all livestock consignment forms digitally.
The app means transporters can receive and transfer consignment forms offline, making the process even easier. Digital consignments ensure:
• No damaged or lost paperwork so all regulatory requirements can be met.
• Receive consignments ahead of time direct to your mobile or tablet.
Integrity Systems have produced a transporters checklist for setting up the eNVD app: download the checklist here
NHVR – EMPTY LEAD TRAILER IN B-DOUBLE
The NHVR’s latest piece of regulatory advice provides guidance to parties in the Chain of Responsibility on managing the risks associated with a light or empty lead trailer in a laden B-double.
Industry has told the NHVR that driving a laden B-double with a significant load imbalance between the axle masses of the lead trailer and the rear trailer can impact the ride quality to such an extent that drivers find the vehicle unstable.
In addition, a very light or empty lead trailer when the rear trailer is fully loaded impacts the vehicle’s braking performance. This may significantly increase braking distances or cause a vehicle to lose control, especially when emergency braking, braking on wet roads, or even using compression brakes.
Read this regulatory advice here to learn how to avoid load imbalance and the resulting risk to drivers and other road users.
FAMILY & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LEAVE
Amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 mean that full-time, part-time and casual employees will be entitled to access 10 days paid Family Domestic Violence (FDV) leave per year from either 1 February 2023, for employees of large and medium businesses, or 1 August 2023, for employees of small business employers (defined as employers with less than 15 employees).
These changes bring domestic family and sexualised violence to the forefront in the workplace and place the onus on all of us to play a part in building our understanding and our responses.
Employees can apply for FDV leave leave if:
- they experience family and domestic violence
- they need to do something to deal with the impact of the family and domestic violence
- it is impractical to deal with the family and domestic violence outside their ordinary hours of work
Insight Exchange has developed free resources to assist workplace efforts to support victims of domestic family violence.
The Small Business Starter Kit is available here: www.insightexchange.net/smallbusiness/
ATA ELECTIONS: NOMINATIONS CLOSING
Nominations for the owner driver and small fleet representative positions on ATA council CLOSE TODAY.
To review the eligibility rules for candidates and to access the online nomination form go to this link.
Voter registrations also close at 5pm AEDT, TODAY 3 February 2023.
ALRTA NATIONAL COUNCIL
ALRTA National Council will meet face-to-face in Melbourne on 17 February 2023.
For more information please contact our National Secretariat via: email@example.com
SAVE THE DATES FOR 2023
LBRCA – 9-11 March 2023 – TAMWORTH NSW – Information & Registration
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
LRTAQ – 28-29 September 2023 – The Ville Resort, TOWNSVILLE – QLD