Weekly News – 27 May 2016


The ALRTA Executive Director attended a meeting of the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA) in Melbourne this week.

The ‘pre-election’ line up of guests was outstanding, including:

  • Minister for Small Business;
  • Minister for Vocational Education and Training;
  • Shadow Cabinet Secretary;
  • Greens spokesperson on innovation and competition policy; and
  • Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.

The meeting was a good opportunity to hear the views of each speaker on important small business issues, and for the ALRTA, an ideal chance to explain the problems with the RSRT and the reasons why they should not be repeated.

In the coming weeks the ALRTA will provide you with a ‘scorecard’ illustrating how the parties measure up on key election issues.


Photo 1: Minister for Small Business, the Hon. Kelly O’Dwyer MP

Photo 2: Shadow Cabinet Secretary, Senator the Hon. Jacinta Collins with ALRTA Executive Director, Mathew Munro


The ALRTA Executive Director met with representatives from the Red Meat Advisory Council Independent Steering Group this week to discuss the development of a Sustainability Framework for the Australian Beef Industry.

The proposed framework aims to clearly show consumer and community stakeholders what sustainable beef production is and how it is being achieved.

The ALRTA has a good story to tell in this space because we have now taken an ‘end-to-end’ approach to improving safety and welfare outcomes in the livestock transport sector.  It starts with our National Ramps Guide, then TruckCare deals with the ‘in transit’ issues, and finally, LivestockASSIST is there in the rare event that things do go wrong.

I am sure that our good work will be suitably recognised in any final sustainability framework.


Last weekend the ALRTA National President, Kevin Keenan, and ALRTA Executive Director, Mathew Munro, attended the LRTAQ Annual Conference in Longreach, QLD.

We could see from the air just how tough the rural sector is doing it at the moment in Central QLD.  Not much grass and not a lot of animals as far as the eye can see in all directions. Over dinner on Saturday night, the Mayor of Longreach, Ed Warren, mentioned just how grateful he was that the LRTAQ had chosen to support the people of Longreach.

The conference program was a most enjoyable experience.  We cruised down the Thompson River, took in the QANTAS museum and ventured out to the Stockman’s Hall of Fame.  There are not too many outback towns that can boast so many attractions.

Of course there was also a serious side. The LRTAQ Committee considered a range of important policy issues at the delegates meeting on Friday.  The Saturday Forum was opened by the Hon Senator Ian McDonald and included presentations on the RSRT, review of the Qld Livestock Loading Scheme, crate safety and road access.

I reckon the highlight of the weekend was the LRTAQ Grey Nomad.  This free event brought together caravaners, trucking operators, police, community supporters and the ATA safety truck to foster a greater level of understanding between the various road users.  There was a great spirit in the air as the grey nomads inspected the inside of the prime movers, examined log books, had a free safety inspection of their vehicles and just generally ‘chewed the fat’ with some of our experienced truck drivers.  LRTAQ even treated a couple of lucky winners with a free $50 fuel voucher courtesy of BP.  Let’s hope they spread the word about the high level of professionalism in our industry.

ALRTA congratulates the LRTAQ Executive elected at the AGM:

  • President: Ian Wild
  • Immediate Past President: David Scott
  • Vice President: Gerard Johnson
  • Treasurer: Ron Pattel
  • Secretary: Gary Willoughby

Photo 2:
Grey Nomad Breakfast.Photo 1: LRTAQ President Ian Wild, Immediate Past LRTAQ President David Scott, ALRTA National President Kevin Keenan.

Photo 3:
ALRTA Executive Director, Mathew Munro, Senator the Hon. Ian McDonald, NHVR’s John Gilbert.


Last week the ALRTA attended a Roundtable meeting with the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) to discuss the current Inquiry into the impact of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal 2016 Payments Order on owner drivers.

We provided a broad overview of the uncertainty, lack of clarity, financial impact, problems obtaining finance and the inappropriate operation of the Tribunal itself.

The ASBFEO is keen to hear from you about the impact of the RSRT on your business.  Please shoot a short email to advocacy@asbfeo.gov.au if you can spare a few minutes.  It doesn’t have to be too formal.

The ASBFEO is also planning a series of regional consultation sessions and we will advise you of the details when available.

Remember, the RSRT might be gone now but Labor have pledged to bring it back if they win the Federal Election.  It is still important to have your say to help get the message through that we can’t afford a repeat of highly damaging RSRT.


During the furore leading up to the abolition of the RSRT, the TWU were, and still are, peddling a story that there are 330 heavy vehicle related deaths every year.  The problem is that this figure is grossly misleading because it is from way back in 1999 and includes busses.

Given that the official government statistics are updated 4 times a year there really is no excuse for using 17 year old figures – unless you are trying to exaggerate the problem.

Last week the ATA release authorative new figures calculated by the Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) at the University of Adelaide.  The figures show that the rate of fatal articulated truck crashes fell 80 per cent between 1982 and 2015.

During that time, the number of articulated trucks on the road doubled.

A separate study undertaken by industry economist and academic Kim Hassall has shown that owner drivers are not over represented in NTI crash data.  The proportion of the insured portfolio represented by owner drivers almost exactly matches the proportion of their claims.

These statistics demonstrate that we are on the right track with our approach to improving heavy vehicle safety.



All heavy vehicles over 12 tonnes gross vehicle mass (GVM) and all buses over 5 tonnes GVM are currently required to be fitted with a speed limiter that is set to 100 kilometres per hour.

The NTC is proposing two changes to the Heavy Vehicle National Law that will make it easier to take enforcement action when such vehicles are detected travelling in excess of 115km per hour.  In summary:

  • Proposal 1: a provision that will automatically defect a speed limiter over 115km per hr; and
  • Proposal 2: a power to immediately ground such vehicles.

The ALRTA National Executive has previously considered this issue.  Our inclination is to support the proposals, provided that there is some discretion exercised when vehicles are carrying sensitive materials such as livestock, perishables or dangerous goods.

ALRTA will work with ATA to further refine our position before formally responding to the NTC discussion paper.


NTC has released the Heavy Vehicle Driver Fatigue Data Final Report which aims to develop a new framework to ensure data about the frequency and impact of driver fatigue is collected in a consistent and comparable way across the nation’s states and territories.

Currently, the lack of information has been hindering reform in the area.  Without data we simply cannot fully understand the risks.

The framework developed by the NTC will result in four fatigue-related projects that:

  • conduct new research to evaluate the fatigue impact of the current laws
  • develop nationally consistent definitions and measurements of fatigue
  • analyse commercial data to evaluate the frequency and impact of fatigue regulations, and
  • review road agencies’ ability to link crash data to driver accreditation.

ALRTA is currently considering a request to support the projects, including financially.


NHVR has released new data showing that heavy vehicle permit processing times by local councils have improved in three of the five participating States during the March quarter.

The data showed an improvement in local council processing times in Queensland (an average of 10.2 days down to 8.1), South Australia (10.6 days down to 10.3) and Tasmania (6.1 days down to 5.4). NSW local governments remained steady 15.4 days while Victorian local governments have had an increase from 6.6 days to 7.4 days.

There were 5950 permits processed by state and local government in the January to March quarter, up by 50 per cent on the same period in 2015.

One area of concern to the ALRTA is the information showing areas where permit time is in excess of the statutory requirement of 28 days.  In the vast majority of cases it appears that it is state governments that are responsible for the delays.

You can check how your state and local councils are performing here:


To coincide with national Kidney Health Week, the ALRTA has released an exclusive member fact sheet with key information to help make sure your kidneys are in top shape.

Kidney Health Week is running from 22 – 28 May 2016. The fact sheet was developed in partnership with Kidney Health Australia.

ALRTA National President, Kevin Keenan, said kidney disease was a bigger killer than road accidents, prostate cancer or breast cancer, but didn’t get the same level of publicity

“The problem with kidney disease is that it’s hard to detect – for some people, you can lose up to 90 per cent of kidney function before you even start feeling sick,” President Keenan said.

“This makes it very important to be aware if you’re included in the one in three Australians with an increased risk of kidney disease. Key risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, and if you have a family history of kidney disease or kidney failure.

“There is no cure for kidney failure, but kidney disease can be treated if it’s caught in the early stages. If you think you’re at risk of kidney disease, you should see your doctor for a kidney health test.

“We will continue to release these fact sheets to ALRTA members throughout 2016, each focusing on a new health topic.”

Please contact the ALRTA National Secretariat or your State Association Secretariat to obtain a copy of the exclusive fact sheet.



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ALRTA Weekly News – 13 May 2016 – 2016 Federal Election, Inquiry into RSRT Impact, ACCC Cattle and Beef Market Study


 The ALRTA is participating in discussions with the ATA and COSBOA concerning a coordinated Federal Election Campaign. The Trucking Industry is in broad agreement that our primary issues are:

  • No RSRT;
  • Direct safety measures; and
  • Improved business viability.

There are several specific issues of interest within the topics of ‘safety’ and ‘viability’ that we will expand upon during the campaign.

The ALRTA Executive met via tele-conference yesterday to consider how the ALRTA can use our resources to support the industry lobbying effort. We have devised a strategy that we will execute in the lead up to 2 July 2016.

Over the next few weeks, look out for our ‘scorecard’ summarising how the Liberals, Nationals, Labor, Greens and Independents measure up on key trucking policies.

We will also actively push our message in marginal electorates around Australia.


 The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) is conducting an urgent Inquiry into the impact of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal 2016 Payments Order on owner-drivers.

The Inquiry was triggered by a reference from the Coalition Government. It will cover the period leading up to the commencement of the 2016 Order, through to the abolition, and any lasting impact on affected parties.

The ALRTA has previously made representations to the Coalition Government about the impact of the 2016 Order in terms of lost work, lower value work and problems with financiers.

The ALRTA will attend a roundtable meeting with the ASBFEO in Canberra on Monday and we will make a formal submission in due course.


The ACCC has commenced a market study into the cattle and beef industry in Australia. The study will examine competition, efficiency, transparency and trading issues in cattle and beef supply chains.

The ALRTA has made a short submission in response to the Issues Paper focussing on:

  • The effect of a seller’s geographic location on access to particular sales channels and the effect of this on localised competition and competition and efficiency more broadly. For instance how far can cattle travel efficiently (this may vary across regions) and how does this affect producers’ and buyers’ options for trading cattle?

Our members report that that cattle regularly move efficiently over long distances all around Australia. The submission includes several examples and describes the factors that buyers consider when weighing up purchase and transport options.

The ACCC is inviting people involved with cattle and beef markets to participate in a series of regional forums to discuss competition and fair trading issues of concern.

Any interested parties are welcome to attend the forums:

  • Tuesday 7 June 2016, Wodonga
  • Friday 10 June 2016, Toowoomba
  • Monday 20 June 2016, Mount Gambier
  • Friday 1 July 2016, Bunbury
  • Friday 24 July 2016, Dubbo

You can register via this link:   https://consultation.accc.gov.au/compliance-enforcement/accc-cattle-and-beef-market-public-consultation-fo/consultation/intro/view


There is still time to register for the upcoming LRTAQ Conference at Longreach, QLD, 19-22 May 2016. The conference program also incorporates the LRTAQ AGM and legendary Bull Carter’s Ball.

While you are in Longreach you can check out the Stockman’s Hall of Fame, Qantas Founders Museum, Cobb and Co and Powerhouse Museum.

To register click here: http://lrtaq.com.au/


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Weekly News – ALRTA responds to NTC CoR Duties Review, fuel tax rate increase


The ALRTA has made a submission in response to a NTC Discussion Paper on Primary Duties for Chain of Responsibility Parties and Executive Officer Liability. We have worked closely with the ATA to develop an agreed industry response which supports a switch to a primary duty of care on all chain parties – similar to the duties that already apply to all businesses under work health and safety laws (WH&S).

This will mean that all chain parties will need to take proactive efforts to identify and address safety risks rather than paying attention only after an accident occurs.

Innocent until Proven Guilty

One of the big changes that is likely to occur is that the deeming provisions and reverse onus of proof will be removed. Basically, you will be presumed innocent, rather than presumed guilty – a fundamental tenant of Australian law in most sectors.

However, the move away from being deemed guilty will necessitate several other changes to re-balance the laws. Prosecutors will need more evidence to prove their case and so they will also need new investigation powers. Penalties are also likely to increase in line with those accepted under WH&S laws.

The ALRTA has argued that industry will need an opportunity to consider any changes to investigation powers to make sure that they do not over-step the mark. We have also asked the NTC to have regard for the impact of increased penalties on small to medium transport operators that make up the bulk of the industry.

Specific Concerns about Effluent

The ALRTA’s submission primarily focusses on law reform necessary to enhance the capacity of enforcement authorities to prosecute chain parties for effluent related load restraint breaches.

It is widely recognised that the primary mechanism for reducing effluent production in transit is the application of appropriate livestock feed and water curfews prior to loading. But as we all know, livestock carriers are being held solely and unfairly responsible for the acts and omissions of other parties in the supply chain – namely, the person or entity responsible for preparing livestock for transport.

The intent of the HVNL is clear. Animals are defined as ‘goods’ under the law and effluent loss is dealt with as a load restraint breach. The chain of responsibility was fundamentally designed to ensure that any party in a position to control or influence on-road behaviour is identified and held accountable – so why is this not happening for effluent?

We are advised that the main barrier to prosecution under the current laws is the uncertainty about whether or not a person preparing animals for transport is a party in the chain of responsibility as defined under the HVNL.

Our submission to the NTC argues strongly for changes to the construct of the definition of consignor and packer to remove any doubt.

We are also working with the NTC to clarify the responsibilities of persons preparing livestock for transport under the Load Restraint Guide. While the guide does contain a specific section on ‘live loads’ it does not address effluent.

Together, these initiatives will create a more certain environment in which all persons in the livestock supply chain understand their responsibilities and can be held to account if their business practices cause a breach of the HVNL.


As a result of fuel tax indexation, the fuel tax credit rate for fuel purchased for on-road use in eligible heavy vehicles increased from 12.76 cents per litre to 13.06 cents per litre on 1 August 2015. The fuel tax credit rate for powering auxiliary equipment also increased, from 38.9 cents per litre to 39.2 cents per litre.

Operators will need to claim different fuel tax credit rates for fuel acquired before and from this date. The ATO recommends that all operators use their online Fuel tax credit calculator to get fuel tax credit rates correct for your BAS. The calculator is also available on the ATO app. To find out more about these changes, visit the ATO’s fuel schemes rates page.

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Weekly News – National Remote and Regional Transport Strategy, CoR,


The ALRTA has made a submission in response to a ‘Draft National Remote and Regional Transport Strategy’ which is being developed by the Transport and Infrastructure Ministerial Council. Last year, the ALRTA attended a workshop in Alice Springs at which stakeholders proposed a range of possible actions that should underpin a national strategy.

As I’m sure you know, remote and regional Australia has long been the poor cousin of metropolitan and inter-capital Australia when it comes to road infrastructure and risk-appropriate regulatory oversight. A specific national strategy for remote and regional transport has the potential to deliver economic and social improvements through innovative approaches to infrastructure delivery, red tape reduction and community integration.

The ALRTA has argued in favour of affording a very high priority to the following draft actions proposed in the strategy, several of which we put forward at the Alice Springs workshop:

Transport Infrastructure

Draft Action 1: Develop a national framework that facilitates private sector investment and developer contributions.

Draft Action 2: Investigate the impact of establishing a national infrastructure funding allocation network.

Draft Action 3: Establish national infrastructure planning and assessment guidelines.

Draft Action 4: Establish a national rural and remote arterial road network development plan.

Transport Services

Draft Action 2: Explore nationally centralised remote aerodrome arrangements.

Draft Action 3: Maximise employment and economic opportunities through transport projects and services.

Draft Action 4: Optimise opportunities through the tax system review.

Draft Action 5: Recommend the development of a telecommunication plan based on key freight routes.

Transport Regulation

Draft Action 1: Adopt a more flexible risk-based regulatory approach to achieve consistency and reduce regulatory burdens.


On Wednesday this week I attended the NTC’s Chain of Responsibility Workshop in Melbourne. The aim of the workshop was to flesh out the proposals contained in the NTC Discussion Paper on ‘Primary Duties for Chain of Responsibility Parties and Executive Officer Liability’ which was released for comment earlier this month.

Chain of responsibility reform has been a long journey. Just about everyone I speak to acknowledges that the current system is not working as intended. The unwillingness of the NHVR to pursue chain parties for effluent spills is a good example of why the current law needs to change.

Positive Primary Duties

In line with the ALRTA’s long held position, the NTC is proposing to introduce positive primary duties that closely reflect the duties prescribed under workplace health and safety legislation. However, these duties would only apply to operators, prime contractors and employers, while other parties (such as consignors, loaders and packers) would have duties limited to the role that they perform.

In principle, this could be a workable system, provided that the role specific duties are broad enough to capture all of the acts and omissions of these parties that could have an impact on the road. The scope of all duties would however be limited by a definition of ‘road transport operations’ which is not defined in the NTC discussion paper.

I have previously debated this matter with certain state road agencies and still harbour a deep concern that a narrow definition would leave us unable to use chain of responsibility to pursue the party with the most influence over practices that are causing problems on the road.

However, it is fair to say that industry, NHVR and state agencies do all seem to want the same outcome – but there are varying opinions on how it should be done.

Executive Officer Liability

Complicating these considerations are the changes proposed to executive officer liability. We have previously agreed to reduce the number of offences attracting liability and to remove the reverse onus of proof (i.e. change it to ‘innocent until proven guilty). The NTC discussion paper reflects this position, but it does not deal with other important matters such as enhancing the investigative powers of officers to obtain the necessary evidence to successfully prosecute executive officers. This will be a sensitive issue and it will be near impossible to agree to a package of changes while it remains unresolved. The ALRTA has requested our own legal advice on these matters to assist us in properly responding to the NTC proposals and we are working closely with the ATA to come to an agreed industry position.


On Thursday this week I attended the Annual Seminar of the Australian Institute of Local Government Rangers in Sydney. The ALRTA was invited to make a presentation on the positive measures we are taking to improve animal welfare and incident responses.

The session was opened by a presentation from the NSW Department of Primary Industries on the content of an agreed policy for dealing with heavy vehicle incidents involving livestock. The policy specifies the roles and powers of police, vets, RSPCA etc and is being observed by ALRTA and NTI in the design of LivestockASSIST.

The rangers in attendance supported the NSW policy but also expressed a view that they had been unfairly ‘left out’. In more isolated locations, council rangers are often the first and only respondent on the scene for the first few hours. Without formal recognition in the DPI policy, they are unable to undertake actions such as euthanasing suffering animals or rounding up and holding affected stock because of the liabilities that might arise.   NSW DPI is now further considering this issue.

The ALRTA presentation focussed on LivestockASSIST and our National Ramps Guide. There was strong interest among the audience in both initiatives and the Rangers Institute has pledged to assist the ALRTA and NTI to obtain a new contact network of local rangers to underpin the LivestockASSIST coordination service. Individual rangers will also promote the availability of LivestockASSIST and the National Ramps Guide with their local councils – many of which own or operate livestock facilities that would benefit from considering the ramps guide.

NSW DPI also advised that they will formally recognise LivestockASSIST in their response policy once the hotline is operational.


There is still time to register for the LRTAV Annual Conference to be held on 7-8 August 2015 at the All Seasons Motel in Bendigo Victoria. This year’s conference theme is ‘Safety is no Accident’ and attendees will hear from high quality speakers on a range of topics such as:

  • The VicRoads Rollover Program;
  • LivestockASSIST;
  • National Ramps Guide;
  • Livestock AFM Template;
  • Maximising your fuel rebate claim;
  • SuperStream; and
  • Men’s Health.

More details including a program and registration form can be found at: http://lrtav.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Delegate-Registration.pdf

Posted in ALRTA Weekly News, Chain of Responsibility, Livestock | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Weekly News – National Remote and Regional Transport Strategy, CoR,

Weekly News – China live trade agreement, funding grants for women in agriculture…


Federal Minister for Agriculture, the Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, this week announced a new agreement with China that establishes Australia as the first country with market access for live feeder and slaughter cattle.

The agreement includes a cattle health protocol which has been the sticking point for reaching an agreement over the past decade. Cattle will need to be prepared in registered quarantine facilities and there are some restrictions around Bluetongue virus zones and ports of entry.

However, it is expected that the first shipments will commence within months and up to 40,000 head could be exported in the first year.

This is excellent news in wake of the recent decision of the Indonesian Government to decrease the number of quarterly cattle import permits to 50,000 from 250,000. Greater market diversity will help smooth out the current ‘boom bust’ cycle and there should be plenty of upside in the Chinese market.


In 2015 Women & Leadership Australia is administering a national initiative to support the development of female leaders across all sectors.

From July 1 2015 the initiative will provide women in the agriculture sector with grants for leadership development. More specifically, grant applications are open to women employed in the agriculture sector at two levels. Please click on the preferred program link for details.

  1. Senior Management and Executive level Women Leaders can apply for $12,000 Individual Grants to undertake the Advanced Leadership Program.
  2. Women Managers can apply for $4,500 Individual Grants to undertake the Accelerated Leadership Performance Program.

To request a Scholarship Grant Application Form or additional information click here.

Should you wish to discuss the initiative in more detail please contact Ian Johnson at the office of the National Industry Scholarship Program, Australian School of Applied Management on 03 9270 9000 or via ijohnson@asam.edu.au


The NHVR has notched up another important win on the way to national uniformity with the gazetting of National Class 2 Heavy Vehicle Road Train Authorisation (Notice) 2015 Amendment Notice (No.1).

The Notice authorises the use of tri-axle dollies in road train combinations in South Australia from 29 June 2015.

LRTASA President David Smith welcomed the announcement which brings SA into line with NSW, QLD, WA and NT.

“This change will benefit SA operators as well as interstate operators travelling into or through SA”, said LRTASA President Smith.

“I am very pleased that Minister Mullighan and his department have recognised that there is no basis for having different operating conditions in SA as compared with surrounding jurisdictions. This change will improve safety and decrease impacts on the road asset”, he said.

The notice can be obtained at: https://www.nhvr.gov.au/law-policies/notices-and-permit-based-schemes/national-notices


TruckSafe is proud to welcome two more TruckCare members into the maintenance accreditation program – Strasburg Bros Livestock Carriers (QLD) and H Dowling & Sons (QLD). With more than 37 years’ experience in carting cattle, Strasburg Bros Livestock Carriers prides itself on providing value for money, honest service and a team of workers willing to go the extra mile.

TruckCare accredited since 2003, the Strasburg fleet services all of Queensland and parts of the Northern Territory. “You’ve just got to be in TruckSafe and TruckCare – it keeps everyone happy, including your clients,” Strasburg Director Lester Strasburg said. “We’re proud of having really good employees who do the right thing. We could make the business bigger, but then you wouldn’t know everyone in it. I don’t want to go past the local fellows – we’ve got some people who have been with us for 30, 32 years.” H Dowling & Sons was first established in 1936 in Biggenden, transporting cream to the local butter factory. Today its fleet specialises in livestock transport, gaining TruckCare accreditation in 2005.

TruckSafe Chairman Stephen Marley congratulated the businesses on joining the TruckSafe program and becoming some of Australia’s safest operators.   “I’m proud to welcome Strasburg Bros Livestock Carriers and H Dowling & Sons to the TruckSafe program and commend them on making the decision to put safety first in their business,” Mr Marley said.


Members are reminded that a mandatory Road Safety Remuneration Order came into effect from 1 May 2014.

Recently, the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal compelled several transport companies, including a livestock transporter, to provide certain records for examination. This might be the start of a broader enforcement effort, so if you are transporting anything destined for sale in a supermarket or are engaged in long distance work you should read the 13 page order and do what you reasonably can to be complaint.

You can find the order at: www.rsrt.gov.au/

The order applies to both employee drivers and owner-operators and imposes new requirements on employers, hirers and other supply chain participants. Among other things it mandates:

I know that there are mixed opinions about the Order across the industry – but whatever your view it is now the law and you risk prosecution if you are not complaint.

Posted in ALRTA Weekly News, truckCare | Comments Off on Weekly News – China live trade agreement, funding grants for women in agriculture…