NSW Freight Plans, Women in Transport, Effluent Progress and Reform Report

NSW Freight Plans, Women in Transport, Effluent Progress and Reform Report

Diesel News has picked up stories about NSW Freight Plans, Women in Transport, Effluent Progress and Reform Report

NSW Freight Plans, Women in Transport, Effluent Progress and Reform Report
Paul Retter, NTC CEO.



A report by the National Transport Commission (NTC) monitors progress on national transport reform. The conclusion comes down to reckoning the reform is trending in the right direction.


“The report provides an independent assessment on how well the Transport Infrastructure Council’s nationally agreed transport reforms are being implemented in practice,” said Paul Retter, NTC CEO.


Here are some of the conclusions:

Most jurisdictions (excluding WA and NT) are now operating under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), with the last remaining milestone of the original regulatory reform due on July 1 2018 when the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator plans to have a register of heavy vehicles available for use.

The fifth HVNL amendment package was approved by the Queensland parliament in December 2016 ahead of an anticipated implementation in mid-2018.

Heavy Vehicles Standards Rules are now included in the HVNL, and the Australian Light Vehicle Standards Rules, approved by Council in May 2016, will apply to light vehicles in the future.



NSW Freight Plans, Women in Transport, Effluent Progress and Reform Report
New Chair of Transport Women, Jacquelene Brotherton.

New Chair at Transport Women


Pam McMillan has stepped down after 18 years on the Transport Women Australia Board having served for 11 of those years as Chair over various periods. The new chair of the group is Jacquelene Brotherton.


“This is my second time as Chair and I never expected to be back in the role,” said Jacquelene. “However, with Pam retiring and Di and Coralie having been with us for only one year, it was a decision that was made with the support of the Board in keeping the association strong. And as we move forward with our new Board, I feel that – as a team – we have never been stronger.”


Effluent Progress


The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association says it is making great progress on its quest to establish Australia’s first roadside effluent disposal facility in South East Queensland.


After a series of face-to-face meetings over 2017, ALRTA has secured strong support from more than 30 key stakeholders in the supply chain (producers, transporters and processors), community advocates and local, state and federal governments. Importantly, in cooperation with QLD Transport and Main Roads, it has identified a preferred site on the Warrego Highway in the Lockyer Valley with a construction target of December 2018.


The ALRTA obtained critical data from the CSIRO’s ‘TraNSIT’ strategic investment tool relating to the number of semi-trailer equivalent cattle movements past the preferred site. It has been calculated that, if constructed, the site will prevent up to 2,500,000 litres of livestock effluent from escaping into the road corridor every year.


NSW Freight Plans, Women in Transport, Effluent Progress and Reform Report
ALC Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff.

NSW Freight Priorities


The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) says the Draft Freight and Ports Plan released for comment by the NSW Government is an encouraging sign that freight efficiency is being embraced in the state’s long-term infrastructure plans.


“This Draft Plan forms an essential component of the NSW Government’s new transport vision for the state, Future Transport 2056, and demonstrates there are plans to address a number of key priorities for the freight logistics industry,” said ALC Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff. “Many of the priorities outlined in this Draft Plan will complement those that have been included in other significant NSW Government transport plans released over the past two months.”


“In particular, the suggestion contained in the draft Greater Sydney Services and Infrastructure Plan that a Last Mile Freight Policy be developed and implemented is one that will have the whole-hearted backing of ALC.”

Getting It Right

Getting It Right

In the lead-up to the introduction of new Chain of Responsibility (CoR) obligations in July next year, the trucking industry needs to be sure it is getting it right. Diesel News runs through the basics, which operators need to be sure of going into operation on a daily basis.

Talking to a room full of small operators at a freight facility, Kym Farquharson-Jones, Senior Advisor – Chain of Responsibility, National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), uses her experience as a Queensland police officer and as roadside enforcement for Transport and Main Roads (TMR) in Queensland to colour her message and explain the situation.

Getting It Right

There are four areas where an owner-driver needs to be concerned about risks. The first is the truck itself, then the load the truck is carrying, the road the truck is using and the person who is driving it.


Risks from the vehicle come from safety standards. By running through a checklist at the start of the journey it is possible to reduce risk around the condition of the vehicle. Does it meet the safety standards and the dimension requirements? Is it within axle and weight regulations? Is the load correctly restrained, and the vehicle and load okay for the route it’s going to take? When it’s out on the road, is it within speed limits?


Answer yes to this set of questions and the owner and driver of the truck have done all things possible to reduce risk of committing an offence and being open to CoR action.


For anyone who owns a truck there is a level of maintenance and recording of that maintenance which has to be done to meet the rules. The daily check needs to be effective. It has to be a robust enough check to ensure the truck is alright to go on the road. The driver needs to be able to check the things they are able to look at.


The rules simply say a person must not drive a truck on a road if it is unsafe.


“Mass, dimension and loading have provisions in the rules which are all the same,” says Kym. “You mustn’t get too caught up in the words, you can replace mass with loading, or loading with dimension.


“It’s a big bunch of text which really says it’s up to the driver to make sure the mass complies with mass requirements. The obligation is still on the driver. The interesting thing is there are no longer ‘reasonable steps’. It just says, without a reasonable excuse. It’s important to stress, the changes in the CoR rules have new penalties, but the penalties for drivers have not been affected.”


The National Transport Commission (NTC) is currently renewing the Load Restraint Guide and, in the meantime, it has published a draft guide. The consultation process has now ended and the new guide looks set to be passed by transport ministers in their next meeting in November. After that, it should be handed over to the NHVR to be introduced to the industry and roadside enforcement in the run-up to the new CoR laws coming online next July.


The changes to the rules seem to be in line with current thinking, but are not expected to be a major departure from the current guidelines. The language and illustrations are reckoned to be easier to understand and presented clearly for the industry. However, the small operator community will need to be aware of any changes and ensure its load-securing methods are brought up to speed.


Boiling the issue of loading down to its basics, the way the CoR rules will look at it, loading any type of freight poses the same questions. Is the load restraint going to stop any unacceptable movement? The restraint must stop the load becoming dislodged. Any movement of freight must be limited and must not adversely affect the stability of the vehicle.


The hauling of shipping containers has caused a certain amount of concern, in terms of vehicle stability, as the truck driver has no control or knowledge of how the container was packed. This is likely to pose some difficult CoR questions.

Progress on the Project

Progress on the Project

Diesel News is looking at progress on the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator project, which is destined to take a long time to reach fruition.


Progress on the Project
Sal Petroccitto, CEO, National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

The trucking industry has had to wait a long time to see even the glimmer of a rational national regulatory system for heavy vehicles across the country. The many years of competing state legislation creating nightmares for interstate operators and filling the revenue coffers with unwarranted fines are, hopefully, now behind us.


The NHVR has been with us as a project for about eight years, and as a reality for nearly four. When the idea was first mooted, it was widely welcomed by the trucking industry. However, it struggled against resistance from inside some state bureaucracies when transforming from a project in development to a reality at the beginning of 2014.


This resistance nearly brought it to its knees at one point, but once the NHVR was stabilised, by mid-2014, some progress began to be made. Funding issues from reluctant states were resolved and some effective systems began to appear, but there was still uncertainty about its future.


In more recent times, the organisation has managed to kick some goals and re-establish its credibility with the trucking industry. Some of its major projects are being seen as effective and there is a clear road map of progress to be seen.


One of the architects of this reconstruction and return to stability, and the person tasked with the job of driving the NHVR project towards its intended goal is, CEO, Sal Petroccitto. From his first appearance in the role, surrounded by the ruins of a failing access permit processing system, he has been a calm voice, never over-promising and stating clear and simple objectives.


From the time of those first crisis-mitigating statements, Sal has become a familiar figure at industry events, telling the NHVR story and, often, appearing as a double act with National Transport Commission (NTC) CEO, Paul Retter.


It would not be true to say the trucking industry is happy with everything the NHVR has come up with and actions it has taken. However, it is certainly true, there is a grudging respect for the achievements of the NHVR in recent years and a recognition the regulatory situation for the trucking industry is much improved.


Most aspects of the NHVR program are still in some form of development or in staged implementation. The next twelve months look like a period over which the final picture will become much clearer and some real progress is expected to be made on some of the cornerstones of a future NHVR.


Diesel took the opportunity to sit down with Sal in his office at NHVR HQ in Brisbane and get his perspective on the years ahead and the aims of the NHVR.


Technical Issues


The niggling problems associated with a consistent roller brake testing regime continue, with the trial period being extended again, until January next year. The problem appeared after the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual (NHVIM) was released and New South Wales rules were realigned with those of the rest of the country.


Procedures have been under scrutiny since it was found some of the procedures were assessing a braking system to be non-compliant when it was, in fact, within the rules. A testing day was arranged at Marulan where the new procedures were tried out on a number of vehicles. As a result of this testing, a delay until 31 January 2018 has been agreed for further research.


“Realistically, the thing I have found most beneficial is the preparedness of the industry top come and work with us,” says Sal. “It has been very successful.”


Earlier this year the NHVR carried out something it called the ‘National Heavy Vehicle Health Check’, where 7,130 vehicles were inspected. The results showed younger vehicles were five times less likely to have a major non-conformity than vehicles 10-years and older. Eleven per cent of hauling units and about 14 per cent of trailers recorded a major non-conformity. Overall, only 147 vehicle units were grounded during the exercise.


“It reaffirmed to us that, overall, the condition of the fleet which we saw was generally healthy,” says Sal. “We do know age is still a contributing factor, but we also know, in the main, line-haul vehicles’ age is not too bad. I think the opportunity to look at a risk-based framework is a possibility and we will bring that through to the ministerial table next year.”


The National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) is under NHVR scrutiny. There have been changes to auditing rules and testing. The number of vehicles in an accreditation scheme is rising. Any future structure will begin to be discussed in 2018.


The area of roadworthiness assessment is sometimes a fraught issue. The states control the NHVAS and are protective of the regulatory concessions that come along with membership. On the other hand, TruckSafe can claim to adhere to higher standards, but is still being shut out of any concession. As a result, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) is pushing hard for a commitment for equal treatment under any new regime.


“We’ve inherited a legacy outcome,” says Sal. “We think we can improve the outcome. We have never said NHVAS will be the system. What we have said is that’s the system we have currently got. We are working to improve the concerns that have been raised. It’s still in evolution.


“The discussion around whether accreditation schemes should be given regulatory benefits, if they are not a regulatory entity. I think that’s a valid discussion, but more work needs to be done.”

ESC, PBS, Linfox, Truck Classes and Roller Brake Testing

ESC, PBS, Linfox, Truck Classes and Roller Brake Testing

Among the topics in the news this week from Diesel News are ESC, PBS, Linfox, Truck Classes and Roller Brake Testing.

ESC, PBS, Linfox, Truck Classes and Roller Brake Testing

The Australian Government should require new trucks and trailers to be fitted with stability control technology and should do it fast, according to the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA).


Geoff Crouch, ATA Chair, said electronic stability control is a vehicle safety system that monitors the stability and sideways acceleration of a heavy vehicle, and kicks in to brake the vehicle if it detects a rollover starting.


“It’s a vital safety technology and should be mandatory for new trucks and trailers,” said Crouch.


The President of the Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of South Australia, David Smith, said that mandatory stability control was in the best interests of the trucking industry, including rural operators.


“For us, adverse conditions are an everyday occurrence. Our gear cops an absolute pounding from rutted roads, stones and sticks along with the dust that gets into absolutely everything,” said Smith. “While running costs are always higher in these environments, there are still net benefits for operators who install the latest generation of stability control systems.


PBS Assessment


A evaluation of the Performance Based Standards(PBS) scheme is being carried out by the National Transport Commission (NTC). It is expected to look at ways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the PBS scheme, and in doing so respond to Australia’s growing freight task.


Findings outlined in Assessing the effectiveness of the PBS Scheme show PBS vehicles:

  • were involved in 46 per cent fewer major crashes;
  • had a reduction of 440 million kilometres in truck travel and saved at least four lives in 2014-2016;
  • delivered 24.8 per cent productivity gains across all commodities;
  • delivered a 6.2 per cent gross tonne-kilometre saving for 2016;
  • saved about $65 million in road maintenance expenses; and
  • saved 94 million litres of fuel in 2016 and reduced CO2 emissions by 250,000 tonnes.


“Road freight is projected to increase by 26 per cent in the next 10 years. PBS vehicles are well placed to assist industry and government in coping with this forecasted growth,” said Paul Retter, NTC CEO. “Since 2007 when the world-first scheme started, PBS vehicles have been involved in fewer crashes, carried more freight with fewer trips, generated lower emissions and reduced road maintenance expenditure. We need to continue improving the scheme to promote greater uptake of these vehicles.”


Linfox and Pacific National

ESC, PBS, Linfox, Truck Classes and Roller Brake Testing

Linfox has entered into a consortium with Pacific National to purchase the containerised freight haulage and end-to-end freight forwarding capability on Queensland’s northern freight line. Forming a consortium with Pacific National is the first step towards purchasing these assets that are currently owned by Aurizon Queensland Intermodal.


Pacific National will be working with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to gain clearance for the acquisition of other assets of Aurizon Queensland Intermodal. Linfox has said it will support this process.


If the Pacific National transaction is cleared by the ACCC, Linfox will acquire and use the rail haulage capacity supplied by Pacific National to supply intra-state and interstate freight forwarding services to customers in Queensland and Northern Queensland.


Truck Classes Chart

ESC, PBS, Linfox, Truck Classes and Roller Brake Testing

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has released a Classes of Heavy Vehicle chart to assist operators to match common heavy vehicles with the three categories used under the law.


“While the NHVR and operators use common terms such as B-doubles, low loaders or mobile cranes for Restricted Access Vehicles, they are classified into classes under the HVNL,” said Roger Garcia. “For example, pick and carry cranes commonly fall under the Class 1 heavy vehicle category, and this can be easily determined from our new easy-to-read chart.”


The new chart illustrates other common examples from the three different classes of heavy vehicles, such as oversize, over-mass vehicles, special purpose vehicles, agricultural vehicles and vehicles under the Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme.


Roller Brake Testing


Trials of roller brake testing methods were conducted at Marulan Heavy Vehicle Testing Station ahead of next month’s end of transition arrangements in New South Wales. Coordinated by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), the joint initiative involved Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA), New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).


The testing will allow further comparison of different roller brake testing methods and will inform the development of national requirements to align with the increased brake performance standard set in the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual (NHVIM).


The latest version of the manual reflects a correction to the brake performance standard in line with Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) achieved through ATA and industry representation.


New CoR Forums


The second phase of the NHVR’s Chain of Responsibility (CoR) education program will kick off in October with 26 forums across Australia. NHVR Chain of Responsibility Manager Michael Crellin said the forums would build on the awareness sessions for industry conducted earlier this year.


“This is a four-phase process to support the changes to CoR coming in mid 2018,” said Crellin. “We had great engagement during the first phase. We’ve worked our way through the feedback and are currently developing materials to provide practical help for industry.


“The materials will provide users with information to identify risks relevant to their operations and install systems that meet the requirements of the law and improve safety.”

Talk Directly to the Problem

Talk Directly to the Problem

David Coonan is one of those people who would always talk directly to the problem in his long career associated with the trucking industry. He is a passionate man who does not have a problem with calling a spade a spade. At heart, he is someone who has a sharp intellect and a big heart to go with his passion for the industry. His time at the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) saw him battling the legislators and bureaucrats, toe to toe, on a daily basis.

Talk Directly to the Problem

Unfortunately, Dave had to leave his role at the ATA, to concentrate on the illness with which he now has to contend. Multiple System Atrophy is a rare neurological condition, involving the gradual loss of nerve cells and atrophy in the parts of the brain controlling movement, balance and the body’s automatic functions.


Starting from a humble background on a farm near Canberra, he has always had a passion for all things mechanical. Now, his lack of coordination leaves him frustrated, but philosophical. Diesel News went to visit Dave and talk to him about those things he feels passionate about, but first we talked about his background.


“When I was at school, I wanted to do something mechanical,” says Dave. “We were poor, so unless I got a scholarship, I wasn’t going to university. There were nine scholarships for mechanical engineers at BHP, and I was tenth.


“They offered me a degree in mechanical metallurgy, but my older brother was already doing it and I didn’t want to go into the same field as him. Then they offered me a mechanical certificate through BHP, but I found I could do the same thing here in Canberra, without leaving home, and do a trade as well.”


The plan was to do a diesel mechanics trade apprenticeship and study mechanical engineering at the same time. Dave enjoyed working on the Caterpillar equipment so much, it took him eight years to get his qualification, working through his apprenticeship and then handling field service.


“After I had qualified, I thought it was time to get off the tools, because I looked around and there were no old diesel mechanics who could still count to ten,” recalls Dave. “I used my qualifications to get into the public sector.


“I worked for National Biological Standards, doing calibrations in the workshop. Then I went into fleet management for the Department of Housing and Construction in the ACT, getting the machines repaired in the workshop or externally. I was dealing with 40 contractors and 2,000 pieces of equipment, right up to D8s on the dump.”


The next move was sideways into the ACT Motor Registry, where Dave got involved with the writing the mass and dimensions regulations. During this period he worked with the National Road Transport Commission, or NRTC (now the National Transport Commission, NTC).


At this point, he had successfully moved all the way from a mechanic to writing policy. The ACT is a relatively small jurisdiction, so Dave had to deal with many varied policy areas, giving him insight into a wide variety of transport issues.


“I actually had a four month stint at the NRTC in the legislation development area,” says Dave. “Then I went to work for Robert Hogan at the Commonwealth Department of Transport, in the road transport reform field. Both at the ACT and the Commonwealth, I was heavily involved in the charges space, and the policy space around vehicle standards and trucks generally.


“Then I went to the Australian Trucking Association, working in the road safety space, later becoming the Manager of Policy, overall, for eight years.”


Among his achievements there, he recalls getting the first permit for a BAB quad in NSW, organising the first PBS demonstration day in Narrandera. He was involved in development of the Truck Application Impact Chart. Most of his time there was spent ensuring those developing policy and regulation for the trucking were very aware of the trucking industry position, in no uncertain terms. Dave’s passion when working at the ATA was particularly strong in the road charging area.

Post-McAleese Pain, Road Rules Change, VSB6 and Qube Loan

Post-McAleese Pain, Road Rules Change, VSB6 and Qube Loan

Among the headlines in Diesel News this week are Post-McAleese Pain, Road Rules Change, VSB6 and Qube Loan, plus West Gate Tunnel issues and Combinations Explained.


More of the former McAleese road transport operation is set to close, as McGrathNicol are appointed receivers to ARX Group and RMS East Group. The administrators have been appointed to handle Australian Road Express and its subsidiary ARX Group, and Rivet Mining Services East Holdco and its subsidiary RMS East Group.


The ARX Group is a provider of nationwide logistics solutions. It has its headquarters in Perth with depots in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. It has approximately 180 employees. The RMS East Group comprises heavy haulage and crane depots in Newcastle (NSW), Rockhampton (QLD) and Emerald (QLD). The business provides lifting and haulage solutions primarily to the mining, energy and infrastructure industries. Approximately 70 personnel provide the heavy haulage and crane services and operations.


McGrathNicol point out the appointment does not affect other entities within the Rivet Group.



Road Rules Changes


The National Transport Commission (NTC) has released the latest package of proposed amendments to the Australian Road Rules for public consultation.


“The proposed changes aim to harmonise the road rules across the states and territories to improve road user safety,” said Paul Retter, NTC CEO. “For example, in November 2016 transport ministers agreed to pursue a national approach to motorcycle lane filtering which is included in this proposed amendment package.”


Key changes include:

  • new load restraint requirements to improve clarity about legal obligations
  • updating technology-based terminology for rules that govern the use of visual display units and mobile phones
  • new rules that impose restrictions on drivers’ use of ‘bus only’ lanes.


The discussion document can be downloaded here.



VSB6 Released

Post-McAleese Pain, Road Rules Change, VSB6 and Qube Loan

Updated checklists, compliance procedures, new codes for installation of roll over systems and falling object protection systems are among the key changes for Vehicle Standards Bulletin 6: National Code of Practice for Heavy Vehicle Modifications (VSB6).



“The new VSB6 allows the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to keep pace with the growth in technology and delivers a modern, national standard for heavy vehicle modifications in all states and territories, including Western Australia and the Northern Territory,” said Peter Austin, NHVR Manager – Vehicle Safety and Performance. “This is yet another measure we are taking to improve the roadworthiness of Australia’s heavy-vehicle fleet and boost safety for all road users.”


The transition to the revised code will be on the table at a series of Industry Forums being held by the Heavy Vehicle Industry Association (HVIA) across Australia during August. According to the HVIA, non-members are most welcome to attend.

The information forums will take place in:

Brisbane – Tuesday, 1 August

Melbourne – Thursday, 3 August

Sydney – Thursday, 10 August

Adelaide – Wednesday, 16 August

Perth – Thursday ,17 August


West Gate Tunnel Issues


The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has made recommendations in its response to the West Gate Tunnel Environmental Effects Statement (EES) that, if accepted, would make the proposed road more efficient and productive for operators moving freight in and out of the Port of Melbourne.


“Our strategic assessment of the merits of the Environmental Effects Statement of the West Gate Tunnel Project, has determined the project will deliver a high level of benefit in providing an alternative to the West Gate Bridge and supporting the productivity and performance of the M1 corridor,” said Peter Anderson, VTA CEO.


“While the project will assist in improving transport connections with the city and the western and inner western suburbs, the need for the Port of Melbourne to grow and prosper is vital to the overall prosperity of Victoria, and this Project must deliver on Melbourne’s future growth opportunities.”


Specifically, the VTA has recommended plans to meter heavy-vehicle entry ramps be abandoned on safety grounds, and to keep truck traffic moving seamlessly.



Combinations Chart


The NHVR has released a new chart showing 39 common heavy-vehicle combinations, with details about weight limits, length and vehicle classes.

Post-McAleese Pain, Road Rules Change, VSB6 and Qube Loan

The chart can be downloaded here.


$150 Million for Qube


Qube Holdings is set to borrow up to $150 million from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to fund its Moorebank Logistics Park in Sydney. The seven-year bilateral debt facility is to provide a medium-term finance for the staged construction of the project.


The fund is helping Qube in this way, because the new terminal, when it opens in 2030, is expected to take trucks off the roads of Sydney by increasing the use of rail networks to move freight in the city.

Industry Is Paying Too Much

Industry Is Paying Too Much

“The industry is paying too much now and the industry is subject to too much regulation now,” says Dave Coonan. A long-time campaigner for the trucking industry, David’s time at the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) saw him battling the legislators and bureaucrats, toe to toe, on a daily basis.

Industry Is Paying Too Much

“They are focusing on areas there is no point in focusing on. Fatigue management has been done to death. The fact remains certain things are certain distances apart and if you change the driving hours regime, you change freight movement in this country, fundamentally.

“I think the industry owes its drivers a lot more than it gives. The activities of truck drivers is something very few people, who thought about their own welfare, would actually go and do. I’m not sure what the solution is. The political climate which wants to bash up drivers all of the time is wrong.

“There should be much more facilitation of the activities they have to do, so that it can be done more smoothly. The fines are just over the top for what the risks are. Some of the silly things about mass enforcement, where you have a situation where a truck does less road damage in one configuration, but it is breached because it’s over on an axle. It’s under on gross, it’s a ridiculous situation we’ve been trying to correct for years. It has no basis in any sound legislative platform.”

Dave recalls talking about access arrangements with the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) in NSW. When presented with an RMS permit given to an operator, the RMS tried to tell him it wasn’t their permit, and policy would not allow what was on the permit.

“People should be focusing on what is the right thing to do, rather than saying there’s a rule and we have to enforce it and make the rules tougher,” says Dave. “If you were actually to sit back and look at the freight task, how to make it safer from the industry and road agency point of view, we would be running combinations on the Hume Highway we don’t currently allow. We should be doing it sooner, because it’s safer. We could collectively present the same argument to the community, saying what we have done is better for everyone concerned.”


Informed Policy


In Dave’s opinion the powers that be talk about ‘informed’ policy, but don’t actually like the results of informed policy. The truck industry has promoted multi-combination trucks which are modular, so they can interchange elements and remain compliant. Dave has concerns about some current developments.

“If we had more trailer combinations on the Hume, the trade-off should be those combinations are safer, with better roll stability, for example,” says Dave. “Unless we can roll couple an A-double, which is a road train, should we be putting it on the Hume Highway? Why aren’t we looking at roll couplings or transfer couplings, which do exist?

“We should be looking at our needs as a country. We have forty-foot containers coming in and they will go to international standard weights, whether we like it or not. This is the challenge we have, we want a vehicle which can move two forty-foot containers at full export weight, fully roll coupled with as many tyres under it, so it doesn’t damage the pavement.

“The answer is there, but you will be forced through a PBS process, which is not being used to facilitate as much as it should be. They say, ‘go through PBS, go jump another hurdle’. It should a matter of saying, ‘here’s a solution’. Someone like the NTC should be bringing forward better combinations for the nation.”

Regulatory Common Sense 

Looking For Young Drivers, Route Planning and Sensible Road Charging

This week on Diesel News we are, among other things, Looking For Young Drivers, Route Planning and Sensible Road Charging.


The Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Victoria (LRTAV) has announced that applications are open for the LRTAV 2017 Young Driver Award. Entries are open for drivers aged 20 to 35 years (as at 31 December 2017).


It is being awarded to recognise and reward young drivers who demonstrate a best-practise approach to driving and safety, promote livestock and bulk transport as a viable career choice for young people and showcase best-practice driving in our industry and break down stereotypes of ‘bad’ truckies.


The winner of the Young Driver Award will receive prizes valued at $4,000. The runner up will receive prizes worth $1,000. The winner and runner up will be announced at this year’s LRTAV Conference on 11 August. Applications must be received by close of business on 21 July.


NHVR Customer Portal


Looking For Young Drivers, Route Planning and Sensible Road Charging
David Carlisle, Director, AccessCONNECT.


Changes to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) Portal’s Customer module will make it easier for access customers to plan and build their routes as part of the permit process.


“The time savings extend beyond just the Portal,” said David Carlisle, AccessCONNECT Director. “There are more pre-approved routes and councils have better systems through our close liaison with local government associations and groups, and our direct engagement with mayors and council staff.”


The new features being released include integration of drag and drop, draw tools and Google Street View, making it easier to plan and map your route; improvements in how to apply for permit schemes; routing improvements, allowing you to avoid tolls, unpaved roads and factor in turn restrictions; removal of the need for Journey Planner (JP) IDs in the application; and

the ability to move to a full-screen map in route planner.


“Keep applying for your permits the same way you are doing now,” said Carlisle. “By now you should have received an email from us that contains some more information.”


Truck Charging


Paul Fletcher, Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure, has been seeking industry views about how heavy-vehicle charging decisions are made. The consultation follows the release of a government discussion paper on options for independent price regulation of heavy-vehicle charges.


The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) says it is strongly supportive of independent price regulation. It says the main problem with the current charging system is that ministers do not need to accept the recommendations put forward by the National Transport Commission (NTC). This has resulted in close to $1 billion of overcharging.


It contends the entity that is most appropriate for making the charging determinations will largely depend on what type of system is adopted. If we stick with a pay-as-you-go cost-recovery system, it may be appropriate for the NTC to continue its current role – but it would make binding determinations rather than recommendations.


If ministers opt for full economic reform, with a forward-looking cost base and a complex charge allocation system (e.g. mass, distance, location), then it may be more appropriate for a body such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to make the determinations. The ACCC already has a similar role for other network assets such as gas, electricity and water.


Other important topics of discussion were transitional arrangements, merits review and ensuring national consistency in charges.