This week in Diesel News, it’s all happening. Brett Wright Retires, Victoria Extends Length Allowance, TruckSafe on Infrastructure Projects and Road Building in the Territory.
Heavy Vehicle Industry Association (HVIA) CEO, Brett Wright, has announced his impending retirement from his current role.
“It is with many great memories, fondness and pride that I announce my leaving HVIA,” said Wright. “I have been privileged, firstly to have been given the opportunity to work for the Commercial Vehicle Industry Association of Queensland (CVIAQ) all those years ago and then to continue to lead it over the last twenty years culminating in its transformation into a truly national industry body, HVIA, in 2015.”
Wright began his career at the predecessor to the HVIA, the CVIAQ, in 1996 and took over the role of CEO shortly after. During his tenure, the organisation has been instrumental in advocating for the heavy-vehicle industry on many major issues and most notably through the transition to Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL)under the auspices of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).
Wright has represented the industry on numerous peak regulatory committees and working groups on issues ranging from Australian Design Rules (ADRs), Performance Based Standards (PBS), Vehicle Modification to Workforce Development programs and National Training Package development.
Increased Access for Long Vehicles
VicRoads has announced access for Level 2 PBS-approved High Productivity Freight Vehicles (HPFVs) up to 30 metres in length carrying cubic/volumetric freight will be improved significantly across Victoria’s road network.
Operators with combinations up to 30.0 metres in length and 68.5 tonnes (no heavier than a conventional B-double) can access a significant portion of the arterial road network under an annual permit provided they comply with the PBS Level 2 standards.
The map page and map can be found here.
TruckSafe and Construction Contracts
According to Ben Maguire, Australian Trucking Association (ATA) CEO, the federal and state governments should improve safety on major infrastructure projects by making TruckSafe accreditation a mandatory part of construction contracts. The statement followed an event where Maguire joined Chief Inspector Phil Brooks, as NSW Police and RMS officers inspected construction trucks working on the WestConnex project in Sydney.
“It was impressive to see first-hand how the NSW Police delivered such a professional intervention to raise the standards on our roads,” said Maguire. “But they shouldn’t have had to do the inspections at all. The professional, safe trucking businesses that join ATA member associations like Road Freight NSW and our safety management scheme, TruckSafe, are sick and tired of hearing reports about the small minority of unsafe trucks on the road.
“Sydney has a decade of major infrastructure work ahead. Governments and businesses need to act now to make construction trucks safer. The Australian and state governments should make TruckSafe accreditation, or its equivalent, a mandatory part of construction contracts.”
Tax Change Concerns
The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has said it agrees with the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO), the Transport Workers Union (TWU) and other industry groups about a recent Australian Taxation Office (ATO) determination that will reduce how much drivers can claim for travel on their tax returns.
ATO Determination TD 2017/19, issued on 3 July, has reduced the ‘reasonable amount’ that an employee driver, or an owner-driver, may claim for travel expenses without substantiation by $42.10, which translates to a 43 per cent reduction.
VTA CEO Peter Anderson, in his capacity as Secretary and Treasurer of ARTIO, has written to the ATO to express concern about the lack of consultation with industry about the Determination, along with the impact such a significant reduction will have on individual drivers and their income.
“We are amazed the ATO has made such a far-reaching Determination that will leave drivers and their families so significantly out of pocket without bothering to inform the industry,” said Anderson.
Victoria Highway Upgrade
Works to strengthen the Victoria Highway between Western Australian and the Northern Territory will soon be under way, with the contract to deliver the $35.5 million bridge replacement projects at Big Horse and Little Horse Creeks awarded to Northern Territory business Allan King and Sons.
“The Victoria Highway is the only sealed link between the Northern Territory and Western Australia, which means this upgrade project is critical to the keeping the Perth to Darwin freight corridor open for business,” said Darren Chester, Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. “This project will replace the existing bridges of Big Horse and Little Horse Creeks to 1-in-20-year flood immunity standards, consistent with other crossings along the Victoria Highway. It will create approximately 60 jobs, 10 of which will be allocated as Indigenous positions.”
The new bridges ill replace the existing crossings with higher structures, along with raised road approaches and culverts at low points to minimise the impact of flooding.