ALRTA News – 3 April 2024

Thank you to all ALRTA National Partners

ALRTA National Partners provide invaluable support, helping us achieve important outcomes for the Australian livestock and rural transport industry.

You can find out more about our National Partners on our National Partners webpage.

ALRTA Executive Director Update

Welcome to another weekly update. It’s been just over a week since LRTAQ ALRTA Combined Conference in Toowoomba, once again a big thank you to everyone involved. I’ve had some great feedback from attendees, which is heartening to hear as it highlights the mammoth efforts of Tammie, Colleen and Elanor in delivering such a well received event. 

Reflecting on the conference and the themes that arose from the conference sessions and conversations with attendees, really assist in setting the agenda for ALRTA for the next twelve months and beyond.

LRTAQ ALRTA Conference launch of Transport Hub

Workforce and Diversity 

Industry is facing increasing challenges in attracting and retaining staff.  As an industry we are working towards solutions to attract more diverse cohorts of candidates and retain them through favourable working conditions, training and development opportunities and higher salaries. 
The need for consistent licencing and training frameworks is needed including competency based training and heavy vehicle apprenticeships to build a pipeline of workers and engage them from school age. 

Fuel Prices

Internationally fuel prices are moderating however, the global economy is still feeling the effects of refineries not coming back on line after COVID.  Part of this is being driven by uncertainty of future fuel refining requirements as more and more economies commit to electrifying their fleets.  Fuel prices in Australia are heavily impacted by the price of the US Dollar as Australia buys our fuel via the Singapore exchange. 


We heard about developments in renewable and alternative fuels including a case study from a company in New Zealand, where they are using hydrogen mixed with diesel to reduce their carbon emissions.  
There was general consensus in the room and from on stage that the transition to a net zero economy is being driven by ideology but there are real challenges for livestock and rural carriers as the technology is simply not there and greener trucks are vastly more expensive.  It will be important for ALRTA to continue to advocate for sensible public policy in this space that does not negatively impact on operator productivity and financial viability. 

Heavy Vehicle National Law Reform 

It was noted by presenters this reform is moving at a glacial pace and is now more of an ‘amendment’ rather than actual reform.  Concerns were raised by presenters regarding the need to ensure technology and data are effectively catered for in the drafting and to ensure data from operators and in and on truck technology is used for the intended purpose.  ALRTA will continue to advocate for HVNL reform that makes sense, can be consistently applied and increases the productivity of heavy vehicles in Australia. 

Rural and Regional Road Funding

Councils only receive 3% of Australia’s tax revenue which means they are chronically underfunded and unable to maintain their road networks. While we were in Toowoomba the Federal Government announced an Inquiry into Local Council Sustainability.  ALRTA will respond to the inquiry and I have reached out to the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) to ensure consistent messaging on cross over issues.  ALRTA will seek to re-establish the Rural Roads Alliance to advocate to governments to fund Australia’s regional and rural road networks properly and sustainably. 

Incident and Emergency Management

This session highlighted the need for operators to have a crisis communication plan for when things go wrong.  As everyone has a camera in their pocket now, it is increasingly important to act swiftly and manage public and community messaging.  
This session also highlighted how natural (and other) disasters are impacting communities and are becoming more and more frequent.  ALRTA has developed a framework for a ‘Rural Transport Managed Deposit Scheme’ which we are advocating for, this will enable operators to have a fund to dip into in the event of weather events including droughts to enable them to remain in their communities. 

Animal Welfare and Social Licence to Operate

National Council has approved the development of a suite of training podcasts on animal welfare for drivers and operators.  This is an exciting development and demonstrates industry’s commitment to proactively managing animal welfare risks in the meat supply chain. National consistency with regards to animal welfare regulations is needed and this is an area ALRTA will continue to advocate for. 

Using technology to prevent rollovers

We heard from a great panel of speakers on how electronic stability control technology can assist in modulating braking behaviour, prevent crashes and inform advocacy efforts with regard to road design and road funding.  LBRCA will soon be releasing the HVRAP program aimed at collecting consistent data in rollovers and provide complimentary training.  ALRTA is looking forward to sharing the results of our Telematics project later this year, thanks to Frasers for participating in the project. 

Over the next weeks, ALRTA will develop a policy manifesto that will be used to advocate on national issues in the lead up to the next federal election, expected late this year or early next year, dependent on the polls.  Watch this space for its release. 

A big thank you again to all the panellists and attendees at the conference for such lively and frank discussions. 

Reflecting on my week back in Canberra, I kicked off with presenting as part of a panel on Cyber Security for COSBOA and Cyber Wardens.  If you haven’t already seen the Cyber Warden program it is aimed at helping small businesses remain cyber secure.  Cyber Wardens also released their latest research which indicated that less than half of small businesses were cyber aware. A cyber attack happens in Australia every 6 minutes with the aver cost to a small business per attack equalling $46,000. 

I met with the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) to discuss road safety research priorities and as a result will be participating in a workshop in Brisbane at the end of April. 

The transition of the animal welfare components of TruckSafe back to ALRTA conversations are continuing.  Please watch for further updates on TruckCare 2.0. 

I also had the opportunity to meet with Bonnie Ryan, GS1 and Lachlan Benson, BlueArcadia on the National Location Registry which forms part of the National Freight Data Hub funded by the Federal Department of Infrastructure.  I was involved with this project when I was with ALC and the register aims at providing drivers and operators with accurate location data at consignor and consignee sites with opportunities to expand to include heavy vehicle rest areas and other driver facilities. As a result of this meeting, I’ve been invited to join the NLR steering committee to assist in driving safety outcomes for drivers. 

We have another busy week ahead here in the office and I look forward to catching up with those attending the Trucking Australia 24 Conference here in Canberra in a couple of weeks time.  If you haven’t registered you can do so by clicking this link. I’ll be presenting on two panels, Technology and AI and Level Crossing Safety Initiatives. Also, Michelle Harwood is one of two finalists for National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year Award, very well deserved Michelle!

Until next week!

Transport Hub launched

At the recent LRTAQ/ALRTA Combined National Conference in Toowoomba QLD, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) launched a Transport Hub – a central location for information and resources on transporting cattle, sheep and goats by road in Australia.

The hub follows extensive consultation in 2023 at transport industry events and brings together information specifically focused on best practice preparation of livestock through Australia’s red meat supply chain

Information includes relevant standards and guidelines, rules and regulations and there is a focus on presenting animals fit to load for their intended journey.

The Transport Hub is a work in progress; next steps involve the development of further extension and adoption resources to increase uptake of best practice preparation for livestock transport.

MLA welcomes feedback and suggestions which can be sent via email to

Chef acknowledges role of transporters 

MLA Corporate Chef Sam Burke highlighted the importance of transportation in the red meat supply chain at the LRTAQ/ALRTA Combined National Conference in Toowoomba, and created a red meat feast!

While breaking down a beef rump in front of more than 200 conference attendees, Sam spoke about how transportation is critical to delivering the highest quality red meat for consumers.

“Professional livestock transport means animals are delivered in the optimum condition to the processor or other destination,” Sam said.

“That’s why MLA has launched the Transport Hub – it’s a one-stop shop for resources on preparing animals well for transport.”

Check out the Transport hub here.

New NSW guide to livestock preparation for transport

Following discussions at the LBRCA conference in Wagga Wagga this year, about the critical need for consistent information regarding livestock preparation practices for road transport, the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSWDPI) has developed a ‘NSW livestock feed curfew before transport guide’. 

You can read the full 2-page guide here.

ATA future leaders survey – skills for decarbonisation

ATA future leaders, Patrick Stevenson, Ann Ferry and Justin Khan invite you to complete a survey as part of their group project for the Australian Trucking Association.

As Patrick advised, “This project is focused on identifying the essential skills required in a decarbonized industry.  With the global transition to sustainable transport, it is clear we need to identify these skills and drive the industry forward.” 

The survey will take 3 minutes to complete and can be accessed at the following link here.

Michelle Harwood – a finalist in ATA Award 2024

Livestock Transporters Association of Tasmania’s (LTAT) Executive Officer, Michelle Harwood is a finalist in the ATA’s, Cummins sponsored, National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year Award 2024, along with Jenny Fellows from NSW.

Michelle was nominated by the board of the Tasmanian Transport Association. Her nomination was strongly supported by LTAT and ALRTA, as well as government representatives of all levels of government and transport industry stakeholders.

Congratulations to both Jenny and Michelle on being selected as award finalists – very well deserved!

Winners of the National Trucking Industry Awards 2024 will be announced at the ATA Foundation Sponsors Gala Dinner in Canberra on 19 April – for more information see the ATA website.

Save the dates for 2024

  • LRTASA – May 31 – 1 June 2024 – ADELAIDE SA
  • LRTAWA – 3 August 2024 – WA
  • LRTAV – 16-17 August 2024 – SHEPPARTON VIC
  • LTAT – 21 September 2024 – TAS

Save the dates for 2025

  • LBRCA/ALRTA National Combined Conference – 4 – 5 April 2025 – CANBERRA ACT