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ALRTA RESPONDS TO PROPOSALS FOR HEAVY VEHICLE CHARGING REFORM
ALRTA has responded to the Australian Government Consultation Paper on Heavy Vehicle Road Reform (HVRR), putting forward 17 recommendations to improve the four reform proposals.
National President, Scott McDonald, cautiously welcomed the reform proposals but called for a commitment from Australian, State and Territory Governments to empower a new regulator to independently scrutinise expenditure plans and set heavy vehicle charges.
“The current PAYGO charging system is subject to very little oversight, is highly political and unlikely to be sustainable in the longer term,” said President McDonald.
“The consultation paper acknowledges these problems but does not go far enough to fix them.
“The four HVRR reform proposals will each improve transparency, democracy, accountability and responsibility to some degree. However, it is questionable whether or not adding an additional layer of bureaucracy will result in more efficient decision making given that, at all levels, governments refuse to commit to binding service level standards or to give up final decision-making powers on what is built, how it is funded and the charges that will be levied on heavy vehicles.
“Without change in this area, the HVRR proposals are no better than the current PAYGO system under which recommendations are developed within the administrative sphere but decisions are made in the political sphere.
“ALRTA is gravely concerned that governments have previously reneged promises to hypothecate road related taxes for road related spending and we consider that hypothecation is unlikely to produce significantly improved heavy vehicle road investment because on average just 22 percent of expenditure could be sourced from hypothecated funds. In the absence of full market reform that also includes light vehicles, treasuries will still need to find 78 percent of road costs from consolidated funds.
“ALRTA is also firmly opposed to any move to a complex forward looking cost base until governments are willing to adopt truly independent price determinations and industry has some confidence in other aspects of the proposed reforms, including workable service level standards and scrutiny of expenditure plans. This should be the last step in the reform process.
“The reform proposals are a step in the right direction, but an economic market for road services will not be established unless decisions are independent of politics, light vehicles are included and the RUC is increased relative to registration charges to prove better price signaling to road users,” said President McDonald.
The ALRTA submission is available here.
HOARE ENCOURAGES INJURY REPORTING
Chair of the ALRTA Driver and Animal Welfare Committee, Graeme Hoare, has urged drivers and livestock handlers to report all injuries or near misses. The call comes in the wake of research undertaken by the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Victoria (LRTAV) that found 96 per cent of respondents had experienced a near miss and 70 per cent had not reported injuries.
“Loading or unloading is the most dangerous part of a livestock transport journey,” said Mr Hoare.
“Our industry has developed an accepting attitude towards minor injuries with most people just getting on with the job and not bothering to report an incident or near miss. However, minor incidents are a warning that a major incident is waiting to happen.
“It is important to report and document all incidents or near misses so that facility owners are aware of the risks. You can’t fix problems you don’t know about.
“As much as facility owners have a duty to provide a safe workplace, persons who visit these workplaces have a duty to report safety risks. It is by working together that sites can be improved. If risks are still ignored, workplace authorities can be involved,” said Mr Hoare.
ALRTA plans to replicate the LRTAV research nationally during 2021.
ROAD SAFETY COMMITTEE REPORTS
On 1 August 2019, a Joint Select Committee on Road Safety was established by the Australian Parliament to inquire into and report on the steps that can be taken to reduce Australia’s road accident rates, and investigate the impact of trauma and death on our roads.
On average, more than 1,200 people are killed and at least 36 000 are hospitalised each year as a result of crashes on Australian roads. In 2019 two-thirds of these occurred on rural and regional areas. Taking into account population increases over time, the annual rate of deaths on the road network has reduced from 30.4 to 4.7 deaths per 100,000 people between 1970 and 2019. However, since 2015, this decline appears to have stalled.
The Committee tabled a report in the Australian Parliament on 30 October 2020 containing 22 recommendations including that the Australian Government:
- commit more funding to road safety;
- harmonise inter-governmental of crash data;
- review the Black Spot program and increase funding with a higher percentage in rural and regional areas;
- work with states and territories to harmonise crash data, road asset data and safety principles, plus improve skills and education.
- fund research into the effectiveness of varying road treatments in different circumstances;
- review procurement practices to focus on safety;
- review timeframes for imposition of mandatory vehicle safety features;
- fund research into driver distraction and driver assistance technologies;
- increase the number of point-to-point and mobile phone detection cameras;
- support education campaigns on road sharing, rural & regional roads and distraction;
- include compulsory first aid training for learner’s permit and licence renewals;
- establish a standing committee on road safety.
ROYAL COMMISSION REPORTS
A report has been tabled in Parliament by the Royal Commissions into National Natural Disaster Arrangements. The Royal Commission was established on 20 February 2020 with terms of reference to inquire into:
- Responsibilities and coordination;
- Preparedness, adaptability, resilience and recovery;
- Reporting and accountability; and
- Legal frameworks.
Supply chains and infrastructure considerations featured heavily in the report’s recommendations including that:
- Australian, state and territory governments, in consultation with local governments and the private sector, should review supply chain risks, and consider options to ensure supply of essential goods in times of natural disasters.
- State and territory governments should include road closure and opening information on all roads within their borders on public apps.
- State and territory governments should provide information to the public on the closure and opening of roads. Information should be provided in real-time, or in advance based on predictions, where possible.
- The Australian Government, working with state and territory governments and critical infrastructure operators, should lead a process to:
- identify critical infrastructure
- assess key risks to identified critical infrastructure from natural disasters of national scale or consequence
- identify steps needed to mitigate these risks
- identify steps to make the critical infrastructure more resilient, and
- track achievement against an agreed plan.
In addition, there are a number of recommendations concerning financial assistance and other support measures that should be improved.
Read the full report here.
LOCAL BRIDGE ASSESSMENT PROJECT
The ALRTA National Driver and Animal Welfare Committee met via zoom this week to consider a range of issues including ramp standards, injuries, user-pay infrastructure, effluent management, electronic NVDs, accreditation systems and language/definitions.
The Strategic Local Government Asset Assessment Project (SLGAAP) received almost 1000 nominations for bridge and culvert assessments, when Round 1 closed last month.
SLGAAP Project Manager Todd Wellard said that the response from almost 100 local government road managers demonstrated a strong interest to improve access for heavy vehicles across Australia.
Read about the way the project is identifying access improvement for critical freight routes here
NEW QLD RULES FOR REST AREAS
Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) has introduced new rules to ensure heavy vehicle specific rest areas are used for fatigue management only and require that heavy vehicle rest stop are only available for heavy vehicle drivers.
Queensland has about 450 rest areas, which are a mixture of motorist, heavy vehicle and combined motorists and heavy vehicle rest areas.
The changes clarify the requirements for rest area use and camping on the state-controlled road network, including fines for light vehicle drivers using heavy vehicle-only areas.
Find out more about the new regulations and penalties for light vehicle drivers at www.qld.gov.au/restareas
BP TO CEASE PRODUCTION AT KWINANA
bp Australia has announced that it will cease fuel production at its Kwinana Refinery and convert it to an import terminal, helping to ensure ongoing security of fuel supply for Western Australia.
The refinery, near Fremantle, has provided fuels for Western Australia for 65 years. However, the continued growth of large-scale, export-oriented refineries throughout Asia and the Middle East has structurally changed the Australian market.
Regional oversupply and sustained low refining margins mean the Kwinana Refinery is no longer economically viable. Having explored multiple possibilities for the refinery’s future, bp has concluded that conversion to an import terminal is the best option.
bp Australia Head of Country Frédéric Baudry said: “bp’s Kwinana Refinery has played an important role in the development of Western Australia. It helped underpin the early development of the surrounding community and key industries. Generations of Western Australians have worked at the facility, building a fantastic legacy of safe and reliable operations that we will always be proud of.
“Today’s decision to cease refining is a difficult one and not in any way a result of local policy settings. It comes in response to the long-term structural changes to the regional fuels market. Converting to an import terminal will not impact the safe and reliable supply of quality fuel products to Western Australia; however, it will require fewer people to run. We deeply regret the job losses that will result and will do everything we can to support our people through the transition.”
The refinery currently employs around 650 people – 400 permanent staff and 250 contractors. Refining activities will wind down over the next six months, with a conversion workforce supporting site works. The new terminal will support construction work out to 2022. Once complete, the import terminal is expected to support around 60 jobs.
“bp is committed to playing a leading role in growing Australia’s future prosperity, making significant investments in natural gas production, as well as in convenience and mobility businesses,” Frédéric Baudry said.
This includes building on its position in the North West Shelf joint venture through gas exploration at Ironbark and investing in retail growth, as well as progressing low carbon projects with Lightsource bp. It is also assessing the feasibility of a large-scale hydrogen export plant in Geraldton (WA) in partnership with the Federal Government.
“We are particularly excited by the shared ambitions with Western Australia to be net zero by 2050 and the opportunities this can offer,” Frédéric Baudry added.
In addition to investing in an import terminal at Kwinana, bp is also exploring future options for the site including a potential clean energy hub to harness the existing and emerging technologies required for the decarbonisation of the Western Australian economy. A multiuse clean energy hub could produce and store lower carbon fuels, including sustainable aviation and marine fuels and waste-to-energy solutions such as renewable diesel.
bp has advised both the State and Federal Governments of its decision and appreciates their efforts to support the industry in Australia.
TMC IS GOING ONLINE FOR 2020
The format will include both live and pre-recorded elements accessed via an online conference platform.
Registrations will be open soon and be free of charge.
Delegates will be able to access on demand content at any time that suits them, as the platform will remain open for seven days.
TRUCKSAFE CODE OF CONDUCT
TruckSafe members are safe, responsible operators, and are bound by the TruckSafe Code of Conduct.
TruckSafe today www.trucksafe.com.au
Has someone you know sprouted more facial hair than usual this month?
Every November, Movember is responsible for the emergence of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces in Australia and around the world. The aim of this facial furniture growth is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer, testicular cancer and male mental health.
These Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. They raise awareness by prompting private and public conversations around the often ignored issue of men’s health. Mo Sistas can get on board with fundraising. All the money raised goes towards a broad range of innovative health programs.
For more info head to movember.com or call 1300 GROW MO (1300 4769 66).
I have two friends. An astronaut and a truck driver.
I like the truck driver most because he seems more down to earth than the astronaut.
ALRTA STAFF AVAILABILITY AMIDST COVID19
ALRTA staff have progressed back to the office, to enable safe distancing there will be only two members of staff present at any one time.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Colleen on the ALRTA mobile 0490 515 681 or Mathew (ED) on 0421 082 489.
SAVE THE DATES FOR 2021
LBRCA Conference – Wagga Wagga NSW – 4-6 March 2021 – The Range Function Centre
LRTAQ Conference – Roma QLD – 9-11 April 2021
LRTASA Conference – Adelaide SA – 18-19 June 2021