History has arrived in NSW – and his name is ‘the Hon Duncan Gay, Member of the Legislative Council and Minister for Roads and Ports’.
Last fortnight, Minister Gay was the keynote speaker at the annual conference of our NSW Association.
When he took up the microphone, the Minister has a quiet smile on his face and, in a modest tone, he uttered these words: ‘I’ve got a bit of good news for you’ …
Well indeed he did. The room fell completely silent as the Minister delivered the centrepiece of his speech:-
“In the coming weeks, I’ll be taking a proposal to my colleagues in Cabinet to introduce a new and improved livestock loading scheme for NSW …
The Minister outlined that, subject to Cabinet’s agreement, it is proposed the new scheme will have the following features:
- “Any livestock loading scheme will have total combination and axle weights capped at Higher Mass Limits. Furthermore, a half-tonne tri-axle group floating mass concession will be granted.”
“As you know, for a 26 metre B-Double this will mean you’ll be able to load about 66 to 72 head of cattle. At the moment you can only load 56 to 60 beasts.
“That’s a 15 per cent increase in freight productivity, meaning fewer truck movements on our roads. In fact, on average, for every B-Double truck operating at a higher mass limit you can reduce the number of semi-trailer movements on the road by nearly 40 per cent.”
2. “Livestock trucks operating at HML will be given general access to approved Restricted Access Vehicles routes unless otherwise sign-posted by RMS or a local council.
“In plain English, this means a B-double operating at HML weights will enjoy general access to approved B-double routes, except if sign-posted. In short, the same truck; just carrying a few more head of livestock.
“In regards to accessing local roads, there are ongoing constructive discussions between the Government, your Association and the Local Government & Shires Association. Indeed, just this Wednesday at Parliament there was a lengthy meeting on this issue attended by all key stakeholders.
“About 90 per cent of roads in NSW are owned and managed by councils who are the consent authority for access; so their support is vital for these reforms to succeed.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to pay particular thanks to the President of the Shires Association Ray Donald – a farmer from Nyngan – and the Vice President of the Country chapter of the Local Government Association Alan Smith for the goodwill and common sense they have shown during negotiations on this issue.
“The Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner, Minister for Local Government Don Page, Minister for Western NSW Kevin Humphrey, Member for Lismore and Deputy Speaker of the House Thomas George and the Member for Murray-Darling John Williams have all played significant roles in helping to support the development of this new scheme.
3. “Except for B and AB-Triples – which under this scheme will be operating at weights of over 90 tonnes – IAP will not be required under the proposal.
“… without getting into the finer details, I’ve already asked the Transport Certification Authority of Australia – the agency overseeing IAP nationally – to look at making IAP more user-friendly and less costly for operators. I expect this work to be done in the next 6 to 9 months.
4. “Under the proposed scheme for NSW, driver training requirements similar to Victoria will be introduced and provided by accredited providers.
5. “Finally, if passed by Cabinet, we aim to introduce the new scheme later this year.
“I’ll end here by saying that the long term success of any future scheme will largely depend upon the behaviour and professionalism of livestock carriers. The Government wants to work closely with industry to weed out rogue operators and customers who threaten the integrity of this scheme.
‘You’ve already seen evidence this week of the Government’s determination to remove rotten apples from the trucking industry’.