Give your feedback on the NHVAS

Here’s the chance for the trucking industry to give real feedback to the National Transport Commission as part of the review of truck maintenance accreditation systems. As reported on Dieselnews this week, there is a push to make the accreditation system tighter and more accountable, to ensure safer trucks are on the road. The assumption is, the current model is not working and a new way to ensure good maintenance and safety outcomes for trucks on the highway can be achieved.

The project to review heavy vehicle roadworthiness is being carried out by the NTC and the project team are now seeking industry input to improve the picture on how the NHVAS works at the coal face and how truck maintenance does, or does not, work under the current regime.

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According to the NTC, the survey consists of 26 questions and should take 10-15 minutes. NTC also assures those taking part their views will remain private, all the answers provided will be recorded anonymously and your personal details will not be published individually.

The people who will set the agenda for any change in the way truck maintenance is controlled are sitting in their ivory tower on Bourke Street in Melbourne. The trucking industry can put a dose of reality into their lives by participating in the short survey on the NTC website.

NHVAS review should be hard hitting says Retter

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is working together with the National Transport Commission to review the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) as part of something called the Heavy Vehicle Roadworthiness Program. This program is a first test of a new relationship between the two organisations and follows a memorandum of understanding between them. It also looks like it may lead to a major shake up in accreditation countrywide.

A review of the NHVAS has been on the agenda for sometime, since the NHVR took over responsibility for the scheme. The controversy surrounding the events of the Mona Vale tanker crash last year have served to further call into question the levels of maintenance in the truck fleet on Australia’s roads.

Although the official announcement plays the issue down as one of a regular regulatory review, the intention is clear and part of the recent friction between nationally based organisations, who have been given increased powers, and state government based bodies intent on retaining a power base in their state capitals. With federal politicians coming out and reiterating their support for the NHVR, in the light of recent issues, the tussle looks set to continue in this review.

 

“This really does go to the efficacy of all of the accreditation systems which are out there,” said Paul Retter, NTC CEO in Tamworth last weekend. “There are too many of them, we need one. We need to make sure they are robust, if you are going to have an accreditation system which provides a benefit, it’s got to be matched by good governance. Quite frankly, NHVAS maintenance, at the moment, is a joke. We need to fix it, and we will.

“This goes to a whole range of issues from the people who have been used to do the repair work. It goes to the equipment they have got. Whether they can pick up the things the RMS can pick up on the roads. There are a whole range of issues we need to look at as we go down this road.

“There are lots of views out there about what we should have as an accreditation system for heavy vehicles. My view is we should have one, it should have a range of modules, some core business, like maintenance and fatigue. We can add on other modules for guys dealing with livestock or other things. We need to rationalise this space, because the cost in time and money of being in five or six accreditation schemes is, to me, a nonsense.”

The trucking industry is to be consulted as the process of this review continues. However, the industry does not want to be the meat in the sandwich in the tension between federal and state authorities, as it has been during the recent permit issuing crisis. The intention needs to be clear, to set up a genuine single accreditation platform, with a national spread and with some credibility created by stringent controls.

Getting a result from the NHVR

At the point where the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is coming in for heavy criticism over the debacle caused by the botched handover of permit issuing duties from the states, a chink of light and a genuine improvement from the national law pops its head up. The timing may be just a bit too well planned, but the NHVR have announced truck drivers will no longer be legally obliged to carry proof of accreditation for mass or maintenance management schemes.

 

The NHVR have announced the Transport and Infrastructure Council has asked the National Transport Commission (NTC) to prepare an amendment to the Heavy Vehicle National Law, to remove clauses requiring drivers to carry documents proving enrolment in accreditation schemes.

 

Importantly, the NHVR has issued instructions for roadside officers to cease enforcing the requirement forthwith. It has informed the state and territory road transport authorities they are not to enforce sections 468 and 470(2)(b) of the national law, against drivers or operators, in relation to the carriage of documents for mass management or maintenance management.

 

The original instructions talked about issuing warnings until March 10 before enforcing the requirements but the NHVR now believes there is no safety issue arising and sees no merit in seeking to enforce these requirements until ministers and Parliament have had an opportunity to consider the proposed amendment.

 

The NHVR points out the rules for basic fatigue management (BFM) and advanced fatigue management (AFM) remain the same. Drivers must still carry and produce on demand all the relevant documents which show that they have been trained and inducted in these two safety-related management schemes.

 

This change may be the first tangible change truck drivers will notice, arising from the shift to the NHVR. It comes as a welcome relief for the regulator, which has been fielding flak from many directions as the permit issuing system remains in flux and trucking operators sit and wait for permission to move loads.

Trucking Industry Awards Nominations

ATA Awards nominations open

The trucking industry has until April 28 to get in their nominations for the Australian Trucking Association’s National Trucking Industry Awards. They will be presented at the annual ATA Convention, to be held on Hamilton Island during the first week of June.

 

The idea of giving awards to people working in the industry does give their peers an opportunity to show appreciation for work well done. Many who have given all of their lives to the trucking world do put a lot extra into the job and try to make the trucking world a better place. Now’s your chance to give thanks for those who go that extra mile.

 

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The Outstanding Contribution to the Australian Trucking Industry Award is presented to an individual or organisation showing commitment to improving the trucking industry through their operation or contribution to industry activities.

 

The National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year Award recognises the strong professional contribution made by a woman within the trucking industry. The National Professional Driver of the Year Award sponsors is seeking a driver whose outstanding performance, including driving skill and attitude have made a contribution to industry improvement.

 

The National Training Excellence Award Award encourages businesses to use and develop effective programs to minimise risk for their workforce. The judges reward excellence in a different safety category each year. In 2014, the focus is on the issue of truck rollover prevention and appropriate speed for the conditions.

 

The Don Watson Memorial Award is presented to a person who has given conspicuous service to the Australian trucking industry. The winner is selected from a range of exceptional people who do not need to nominate to be considered.

 

The TruckSafe John Kelly Memorial Award Award recognises a TruckSafe accredited operator which has implemented and promoted the program in an exceptional fashion and fosters a strong culture of safety in every part of their business.

NatRoad operators back the NHVR

Representatives from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator have met with a large group of trucking operators from Southern NSW and been sent a strong endorsement of the need to continue National law reform. The meeting in Canberra took place in the NatRoad HQ and support for the NHVR was expressed despite the delays currently causing problem for those requiring permits. Read more

Truss says he will not walk away from NHVR

In Parliament yesterday Transport and Infrastructure Minister, Warren Truss, answered two questions about issues effecting the trucking industry and about which there has been uncertainty. He backed the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and went out of his way to reject the Carbon Tax, while taking the opportunity to run down Labor and the Greens.

 

“I think members on both sides of the House have been enthusiastically supporting the development of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator,” said Truss to the House of Reps. “It is an important piece of economic reform that is potentially going to save billions of dollars in the trucking industry over the years ahead.

 

“I met with transport ministers from around Australia to talk about what further response there needs to be to deal with this issue and to try and get the regulator working properly.”

 

Talking about the permit issuing backlog, Truss spoke about the current situation with the states organising the system lasting for a few months until the system has been thoroughly worked through.

 

“A lot of repair work will need to be done, and I would expect that these interim arrangements we have with the states will be in place for several months until everyone has got the confidence that the new system will work well,” said Truss. “It is an important reform. We need to get it right. This government is not going to walk away from it, and we will be working with the states to achieve satisfactory permit-issuing systems.”

 

On the Carbon Tax, there was no question of the tax being imposed on the road transport industry and Truss’s answer to a Dorothy Dixer of a question gave him an opportunity to reject a tax on transport fuel and call on Labor and the Greens to reject it.

 

“Labor’s intention was to extend the carbon tax, 6½ cents a litre, 7½ cents a litre, to every truck operating in this nation,” said Truss. “That was Labor’s plan. If they had been re-elected we would be getting a carbon tax on the entire transport industry. We do not want it on the transport industry. We do not want it at all. The people have voted to get rid of it and it is time this parliament responds to the demands of the Australian people and abolished the carbon tax.”

Transport Minister and associations bolster support for NHVR

The under siege National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has received support from important stake holders who continue to insist on the need for a single regulator for the road transport industry. Today in Parliament Warren Truss, Federal Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, said he and his fellow transport ministers from the states involved remain committed to the NHVR project. Read more

Talking Turkey About Trucking

Trucking must defend the NHVR

It may now be time to circle the wagons as the rampaging hordes approach on horseback. Attacking the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has now become a national sport, with a front page news story, followed up by a self-serving opinion piece in today’s Australian newspaper. Read more

ARTSA and NBTA call for stability control to be mandated

A joint statement from the Australian Transport Suppliers Association and National Bulk Tanker Association is calling for Electronic Stability Control (ESC) which includes a rollover stability feature to be introduced on all trucks. The statement reckons the argument for mandating ESC is compelling, following the recommendation of a NSW Coronial Inquest into four deaths on the Princes Highway in 2009 and the likely outcome of an investigation into the Mona Vale tanker crash last October. Read more

Barnaby Joyce for LBCA event

The Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association of NSW reckons they have pulled off quite a coup with the decision by Federal Agriculture Minister, Barnaby Joyce to get involved with the up coming LBCA Conference in Tamworth on March 6-8. The controversial National Party politician will join Coalition colleague, Warren Truss, Federal Transport and Infrastructure Minister, as well as Duncan Gay, NSW Minister of Roads, at the event. Joyce is booked in to address the conference and also take part in an open question and answer session when delegates can quiz him over the government’s agriculture policy and its implications for the livestock and bulk hauling industry.

 

Paul Endycott speaking at the 2013 LBCA event

 

The conference will also be an opportunity to quiz the responsible person on a number of the major issues facing the trucking industry at the moment. The controversy surrounding the Cootes prosecutions fall under the remit of Peter Wells, NSW RMS Director Customer and Compliance, and Paul Endycott, General Manager Compliance Operations Branch RMS, both of whom are central figures as the fallout from the Mona Vale accident continues. Gay, Wells and Endycott will all be on the dais at Tamworth and answering delegate questions.

The other figure delegates may have a couple of questions for is the CEO of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, Richard Hancock. The permit debacle which has played out in recent weeks will still be fresh in the minds of many operators and some tough questions are sure to be asked. Hancock has never shied away from engaging one on one with the trucking industry and he has been present at just about every major event in the trucking industry since his appointment.