Isuzu, Hartex, Caltex Telematics, Groeneveld and Transking at MEGATRANS2018

MEGA panel announced for MEGATRANS2018

 

At the mega panel announced for MEGATRANS2018, Victorian Minister for Ports, Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan, will hold a briefing breakfast, hosted by the Victorian Transport Association, as the opening event for the MEGATRANS2018 event.

 

MEGA panel announced for MEGATRANS2018

 

The Minister will be joined at the event by representatives spanning the road, sea and rail transport sectors. Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director of the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), Tony McMullan, Chief Executive Officer of the Truck Industry Council (TIC), and Caryn Anderson, Executive General Manager – Strategy and Business Development for the Port of Melbourne will form the breakfast panel in an interactive Q&A session.

 

Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from the Government about how it has invested into our vital industry segments, where the opportunities and challenges will be in the next five to ten years and how the Government plans to continue to invest in order to sustainably manage the freight task in Victoria.

 

The breakfast will conclude with the launch of a new industry initiative by Sal Petroccitto, Chief Executive Officer of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

 

The event, held on Thursday, May 10 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, will be moderated by transport industry heavyweight Peter Anderson, CEO of the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) and brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to the moderator role.

Remain Vigilant

The Meat in the Sandwich

The trucking industry is very much the meat in the sandwich, in the ongoing arguments about charges by the big stevedores. So called infrastructure charges are simply price gouging by the very small number of powerful national companies, who are running our ports, to maintain their margins at the expense of transport companies already running on much thinner margins.

 

After the latest announcement this week, the Victorian Transport Association is urging its members to pass on the charges to their customers in order to make the end customer pay for the increased cost for the truckies at the sharp end. Easier said than done!

 

The trucking industry has a bad record for passing on cost increases in a rational manner. The industry has grown used to living on a knife edge of minimal profit margins on substantial turnovers. This is something which would be regarded as reckless at best by the rest of the business community.

 

No, the cost base goes up and the trucking company squeeze one of their cost centres and improve efficiency just a enough to make a couple of cents in the dollar and are satisfied with the result.

 

Anyone who is willing to put their head above the parapet and suggest they should pass on all of the cost increases they have endured directly to the customer, runs the risk of having their head blown off in the rush by the competition to get the work at the old price.

 

It hasn’t always been the case, we have an example of how to do it in recent memory, or have we forgotten already? Back in the period between 2004 and 2006 fuel prices went through the roof. The price of a litre of diesel would hit new highs every month over a period of years.

 

With fuel coming in at number two in the cost charts for every trucking company the pressure was excruciating and something had to be done or everyone was going to go out of business.

 

Why were they going to go out of business? Because they had trained their customers to expect the transport operator to absorb any rise in costs without passing it on in higher freight charges.

 

Things were getting ugly and something had to be done to staunch the flow of cash out of the hands of the truckies straight into those of the fuel companies. The customer wouldn’t accept a price hike, so what could be done?

 

The Meat in the Sandwich

 

Luckily, some bright spark came up with the concept of a fuel surcharge and, because every trucking company was coming up with the same basic idea, there was no escape for the customer, there were no rivals willing to take the work at the old rate without a fuel surcharge.

 

What happened? The customers begrudgingly accepted the surcharge concept and everyone got paid.

 

Those operators getting squeezed by the big boys in the ports could do with getting together and coming up with a similar concept right now, before the cut-throat nature of the industry does some real economic harm.

 

Award Winners, Freight Routes, FIRS and Primary Producers

Award Winners, Freight Routes, FIRS and Primary Producers

This week’s headlines from Diesel News include Award Winners, Freight Routes, FIRS and Primary Producers.

 

This video is of Les Bruzsa’s acceptance speech after receiving the Australian Trucking Association Industry Achievement Award for leading continuous improvement in heavy vehicle regulation and standards.

Award Winners, Freight Routes, FIRS and Primary Producers
Mark Collins from Frasers Livestock Transport, winner of the 2017 Craig Roseneder Award.

 

Also presented at the dinner as part of the 2017 Australian Trucking Association (ATA)/Australian Road Transport Suppliers’ Association (ARTSA) Technical and Maintenance Conference (TMC), Mark Collins from Frasers Livestock Transport received the 2017 Craig Roseneder Award, which recognises technical and maintenance excellence and celebrates the professionalism of men and women who work behind the scenes in the trucking industry’s workshops.

 

Infrastructure Spending

 

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has welcomed a series of road infrastructure spending announcements from the Victorian Government that will improve roads on key freight routes in the state’s south west, providing a productivity dividend for the community and transport operators in the area.

 

Roads minister Luke Donnellan confirmed reconstruction works on stage two of the Portland Ring Road and roads in the Green Trial would soon begin, and that a deteriorated section of the Princes Highway at Heywood would be rebuilt.

 

This followed an announcement that roads surrounding the Henty Employment Precinct would be upgraded to accommodate high productivity freight vehicles.

 

FIRS to End

 

The government intends to close FIRS to new entrants from 1 July 2018 and fully close the scheme by 30 June 2019. The proposal is outlined in a consultation paper released by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

 

FIRS commenced in 1987 and applied only to vehicles weighing more than 4.5 tonnes that are solely involved in interstate trade or commerce. FIRS vehicles are not subject to state-based stamp duty tax for new vehicle purchases. The number of FIRS vehicles peaked in in 2007-08 at 22,000 and has since declined to around 14,000 (or 1.6 per cent of the total fleet) with the decline predicted to continue.

 

Award Winners, Freight Routes, FIRS and Primary Producers
Peter Anderson, CEO, Victorian Transport Association.

Licensing Out of Step

 

Heavy vehicle driver licence training requirements are vastly out of step with requirements for drivers of other modes of transport, and must change to improve safety, reduce risk and improve standards in the transport industry, reckons VTA CEO, Peter Anderson, speaking at the TMC.

 

“Heavy vehicle drivers must be trained and capable of controlling the vehicle in all conditions, at all times, and to make the right decisions that will not increase the chance of risk or accident,” said Anderson. “Regrettably, the industry does not have a good record in training drivers, partially because there is very little funding support for it. In fact, there is very little training for drivers at all except for on the job experience.

 

“For example, we have an issue with the licensing of heavy vehicle drivers. Did you know that it takes 120 hours of instruction before you can sit for a car licence, 20 hours before you can sit a motorcycle licence and even 20 hours of instruction before you can be tested to fly a plane solo?

 

“However, there are no pre-set hours of on-road instruction before you can sit for a heavy vehicle licence test. What it does take, is just five hours of on-site training, the ability to reverse the vehicle 50 meters in a straight line and $1,000. And you do not even have to be able to read English.”

 

Primary Producer Problems

 

The Livestock, Bulk and Rural Carriers Association (LBRCA) of New South Wales is expressing concern about the alleged use of NSW Primary Producer concessions on vehicles which are used for purposes other than those for which the concessions are intended.

 

“The issue appears to be more prevalent during the annual grain harvest where commercially operated trucks exploiting the primary producer concession enter the market and compete against professional rural carriers who do not have this advantage,” said Lynley Miners, LBRCA President. “Unfortunately, one unintended consequence is that rural carriers who fully pay their way under the current road-funding scheme suffer a cost disadvantage compared to those misusing the concession. It might seem a small price difference to those not involved in the industry, but in a competitive marketplace this illegitimate cost advantage has a huge impact.”

Accreditation Review, EWDs, OBM and Wage Levels

Accreditation Review, EWDs, OBM and Wage Levels

In Diesel News this week, read about the NHVR Accreditation Review, EWDs, OBM and Wage Levels.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has commissioned an independent review into heavy-vehicle accreditation schemes to support improved road safety.

“Heavy-vehicle accreditation schemes have proven benefits for road safety across a number of heavy-vehicle sectors, including trucks, cranes and buses,” said Sal Petroccitto, NHVR CEO. “The national roadworthiness survey released earlier this year showed major non-conformities for vehicles in accreditation schemes dropped from 13 per cent to nine per cent.

“That said, I believe it is time to independently review the systems and processes to ensure they deliver the future safety outcomes our growing industry requires. The review will look at a range of factors, including governance and oversight, rules and standards, as well as examining associated assurance activities.”

The review will kick off with a marketplace scan to identify the best-practice approach for accreditation schemes, and identify inconsistencies that exist between schemes. The independent review will examine schemes such as Western Australian Heavy Vehicle Accreditation and the NHVR’s National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS), as well as industry schemes such as TruckSafe.

“Thank you to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, for listening to our calls to review truck safety accreditation programs,” said Geoff Crouch, Chair of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA). “Operators, industry, government and regulators need to work together on truck safety. Recognising safe practices should not be an unbalanced competition between government and industry like the ATA’s TruckSafe program.”

EWD Standards

The NHVR has engaged professional services firm WSP Australia to develop new performance-based standards for Australia’s Electronic Work Diaries (EWDs), which are being introduced as a voluntary alternative to the written work diary.

Geoff Casey, Executive Director – Productivity and Safety, NHVR, said that the NHVR will publish the new EWD Standards for industry consultation in December 2017, with system assessments anticipated to commence early in 2018.

On-Board Mass

Transport Certification Australia (TCA) has announced it has received five applications for type-approval of On-Board Mass (OBM) Systems.

“The number of applications we have already received since May 2017 is significant because it paves the way for establishing an open technology market for the supply of OBM Systems,” said Chris Koniditsiotis, TCA CEO. “This ensures that end-users will be provided with more choice, competitive pricing and innovative technology.”

Wages Bottom Out

There are signs the rate of wage increases in enterprise agreements negotiated in the road transport industry may have bottomed out according to the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO).

Speaking in his capacity of ARTIO Secretary & Treasurer, Victorian Transport Association (VTA) CEO Peter Anderson said a recent ARTIO review of hundreds of enterprise agreements lodged in the Fair Work Commission in the road transport industry since the second half of 2011 showed a slight uptick in the rate of wages growth in 2017 to date (compared to 2016).

TruckSafe Directors

Two new directors have been appointed to the Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA) TruckSafe board. Nathan Cecil and Peter Elliot will work with other board members to underscore safe and responsible operations in the industry and help deliver the TruckSafe safety accreditation program.

Cecil is a Partner in Holding Redlich’s national transport team. He specialises in shipping, logistics, road transport and trade law, and has particular expertise in heavy-vehicle regulation and chain of responsibility (CoR) laws.

Accreditation Review, EWDs, OBM and Wage Levels
Peter Elliot.

Elliot has been part of the trucking industry for more than 40 years and has worked across numerous operations and industry sectors. For the past decade, he has specialised in compliance, both as an operator being audited, and as a manager of compliance schemes.

NHVR Directors

NHVR has appointed two new directors, in the Regulatory Compliance and Productivity and Safety divisions. Tony Martin will be the Director – Regulatory Compliance and Assurance, while Greg Fill was appointed to the role of Director – Safety Standards.

Accreditation Review, EWDs, OBM and Wage Levels
Tony Martin.

Martin has been with the NHVR since 2011 in the role of Manager Regulatory Compliance. He has leadership, business management and operational experience in the heavy-vehicle regulatory environment, including 15 years with the New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services in a variety of management and heavy-vehicle compliance operational roles.

Greg Fill.
Greg Fill.

Fill also has an extensive career in the transport industry, specialising in the development and implementation of transport-related safety management systems, undertaking safety incident investigations, and building assurance frameworks.

Grain Scheme, Master Code and Autonomous Rules

Grain Scheme, Master Code and Autonomous Rules

There have been announcements about a Grain Scheme, Master Code and Autonomous Rules this week, read about them on Diesel News.

 Grain Scheme, Master Code and Autonomous Rules

The Victorian Transport Association has welcomed the establishment of the state’s first Grain Harvest Management Scheme, which will provide a productivity and safety boon for farmers and grain transport workers.

 

The scheme will allow heavy vehicles to increase their load by five per cent during the grain harvest season from October 1 to April 30 2018, when delivering grain to receivers who are also participating in the scheme.

 

“As an industry group, we welcome the scheme and the positive outcomes it will inevitably create for operator safety and productivity,” said Peter Anderson, VTA CEO. “Provisions made for bigger loads mean fewer trips for operators, which will improve their profit and safety margins.”

 

 

Grain Scheme, Master Code and Autonomous Rules
John West with Sal Petroccitto NHVR CEO.

Master Code Development

Development of an industry master code of practice for heavy vehicle safety is progressing well with the project receiving $200,000 of Commonwealth Government funding assistance under the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative program.

 

“Led by the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) and the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), the master code will help adopters to identify, assess and mitigate risks to meet their obligations under the national law and improve safety,” said Sal Petroccitto, NHVR CEO. “I encourage industry to be involved in the consultation workshops being conducted by ALC and ATA to develop this code which will deliver significant heavy vehicle safety benefits.”

 

ALC and ATA have established a company called Safe Trucking and Supply Chains Limited to develop the code of practice.

Grain Scheme, Master Code and Autonomous Rules 


Autonomous Rules Feedback

The National Transport Commission (NTC) is asking road transport agencies, police, and industry to provide input on how Australian governments should amend driver laws to facilitate the introduction of automated vehicles.

 

The NTC released a discussion paper ‘Changing driving laws to support automated vehicles which seeks to clarify how current driver and driving laws apply to automated vehicles and who would be legally responsible for their operation.

 

“The introduction of more automated vehicles will see elements of the driving task shift away from the human driver to the automated driving system but our laws currently don’t recognise these systems,” said Paul Retter, NTC CEO. “We need to ensure that relevant driving laws apply to automated vehicles when the automated driving system—rather than the human driver—is operating the vehicle.”

This work is one of seven projects—five of which are being led by the NTC and a further two led by the states/territories but for which the NTC is coordinating the findings and subsequent ministerial recommendations. These projects were approved by ministers in November 2016 as part of the NTC’s roadmap of reform to support the commercial deployment of automated vehicles.

AFIA Winners, Reducing Red Tape, Fatigue Exemption, Biosecurity, NSW Bypass Funding

AFIA Winners, Reducing Red Tape, Fatigue Exemption, Biosecurity, NSW Bypass Funding

Read about AFIA Winners, Reducing Red Tape, Fatigue Exemption, Biosecurity and NSW Bypass Funding in this week’s Diesel News.

 

VTA announces 2017 AFIA winners

 

AFIA Winners, Reducing Red Tape, Fatigue Exemption, Biosecurity, NSW Bypass Funding
L–R: VTA CEO Peter Anderson, Treasurer of Victoria Tim Pallas, Dr Hermione Parsons and VTA President Cameron Dunn.

 

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) announced the winners of the 2017 Australian Freight Industry Awards (AFIA) at the 28th AFIA event, held in Melbourne on 2 September.
The ‘Personality of the Year’ Award was presented to Deakin University’s Dr Hermione Parsons, Rocke Brothers’ Matt Simmons took home the ‘Young Achiever of the Year’ and the ‘Waste & Recycling’ accolade went to FBT Transwest.
There were two winners for the ‘Application of Technology’ Award: Redstar Transport and Victoria International Container Terminal.
Metropolitan Express Transport Services was awarded for ‘Best Practice Safety’ and DP World Australia accepted the ‘Investment in People’ Award.
“We once again had a very enthusiastic response to these awards from the industry, as evidenced by the dozens of applications judges assessed in determining the winners,” said VTA CEO, Peter Anderson. “Congratulations to all the winners and finalists on their tremendous achievements, and for working to continually improve the standards of our industry which helps to make it safer and more productive.”

 

 

New SA notice to reduce red tape

 

 

A new notice in South Australia will reduce red tape for truck and dog operators, according to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).
NHVR Project Director of ‘Network Access’, Annette Finch, said the NHVR and South Australia’s Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure would release the South Australian Class 3 Heavy Vehicle 23m Truck and Dog Notice, covering three-, four- and five-axle trailer configurations for operators.
“The previous notice covered only three or five-axle trailers to operate on the dedicated truck and dog network,” said Finch. “The updated notice is specific to South Australia, and removes the need for operators with four-axle trailers to apply for permits to access the network.”
This Notice will reportedly replace Schedule 3 of the South Australia Consolidated National Heavy Vehicle Mass and Dimension Notice 2014. It includes new provisions for three-axle truck and four axle dog trailer combinations that were not available in the original notice.

 

 

NHVR invites feedback on new personal fatigue exemption

 

The NHVR has started consultation on a user-friendly exemption for managing fatigue and driving a fatigue-related heavy vehicle for personal use.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto told the NatRoad Conference held in North Queensland on 5 September that the Personal Use Exemption would allow operators some personal use of a heavy vehicle outside their regulated driving hours.

“Under the proposal, operators would be able to use a heavy vehicle for personal use for up to one hour at the end of the day or on a day off,” Petroccitto said.

“Currently a personal use exemption of up to one hour during a driver’s day off exists in NSW.

“We continue to work closely with the heavy-vehicle industry to provide flexibility around fatigue while still maintaining the highest safety standards.”

The exemption is expected to be used for personal or non-revenue activities, such as reaching suitable sleeping accommodation and restocking supplies for a trip.

Operators should note that current fatigue laws apply during the consultation process.

The beginning of the one-month consultation period for the Personal Use Exemption is part of the Focus on Fatigue being promoted by the NHVR over the coming month.

“The correct management of work and rest times through a work diary is the best way to predict and assess a driver’s potential level of fatigue impairment,” Petroccitto said.

“There will also be a number of coordinated enforcement operations taking place across the country in the coming weeks with a specific target on work and rest hours and the correct filling out of a work diary.”

For more information, or to enter a submission, head to the NHVR website.

 

 

 

LBRCA participates in biosecurity exercise

 

AFIA Winners, Reducing Red Tape, Fatigue Exemption, Biosecurity, NSW Bypass Funding

The Livestock, Bulk and Rural Carriers Association (LBRCA) has represented the interests of the livestock transport industry as part of the New South Wales Government’s Greater Sydney Peri Urban Program.
LBRCA President, Lynley Miners, participated in a biosecurity exercise at Camden saleyards as part of the Program, which is part of the NSW Government’s Biosecurity Strategy 2013–2021 that aims to improve biosecurity practices.
“As the sole livestock carrier representative in attendance it was a perfect opportunity to explain a few home truths about our industry, starting with the lack of adequate infrastructure,” Miners said.
Miners reportedly highlighted that no truck wash facilities are on-site at Camden, nor within what would be deemed an acceptable distance should a biosecurity outbreak occur.
“I would imagine that the livestock vehicle would need to be washed down and disinfected before leaving the unload site, to mitigate against further reach of the disease,” Miners said.
“This site has no such facilities, nor any publicly available sites within a practical distance. For example, the nearest livestock truck wash facility is over an hour away, at Mossvale.
“Strategically positioning truck wash infrastructure as close as practical to key livestock areas, would certainly go a long way in minimising the reach of an outbreak.”
Government greenlights $10m Tenterfield bypass

 

 

The Australian Government has reported that it will fund a $10 million heavy-vehicle bypass in Tenterfield, New South Wales.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, said the proposed project could now proceed to the development phase, which will include detailed design works, environmental assessment, property acquisition and preconstruction works.

“This funding delivers on a 2016 election commitment and builds on the extensive community consultation with local residents, Council and key stakeholders that led to identifying the final preferred route in 2015,” said Chester.

Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said the preferred route had the backing of Tenterfield Shire Council and respected the local environment, particularly by avoiding the Currys Gap State Conservation Area.

“Getting heavy vehicles out of the middle of town is going to vastly improve safety for local traffic and pedestrians, and certainly make the main street of Tenterfield a more ‘user-friendly’ place,” said Joyce.

“The preferred route will include a new five-kilometre carriageway west of the town incorporating four new bridges and two new intersections at the northern and southern connections with the existing highway.

“The preferred route is now incorporated into Tenterfield’s Local Environment Plan, meaning the land is reserved for future road construction – providing planning certainty for the community.”

The Government will expect the tenders for the latest works to be called in September 2017 and for the detailed design to be completed by mid-2019.

 

 

Epic Fail by the ATO, ACCC Involved in Road Tolls and National Harmonisation

Epic Fail by the ATO, ACCC Involved in Road Tolls and National Harmonisation

This week has seen an Epic Fail by the ATO, ACCC Involved in Road Tolls and National Harmonisation coming onto the agenda in a real way.

 

 

According to the Australian Trucking Association (ATA), the epic size of the tax office’s failure to consult about its decision to slash employee truck driver travel expenses has got industry associations up in arms.

 

During the 2017–18 income year, the tax office will allow employee truck drivers to claim just $55.30 per day in travel expenses (excluding accommodation) without detailed receipts. In 2016–17, the amount allowed was $97.40. In the same determination, the tax office increased the reasonable food and drink allowance for comparable employees in other industries from $106.90 per day to $109.35 per day.

Epic Fail by the ATO, ACCC Involved in Road Tolls and National Harmonisation
Geoff Crouch, ATA Chair.

 

“Even the tax office has now admitted that it did not receive a single response from trucking industry associations in response to the paper,” said Geoff Crouch, ATA Chair. “The lack of responses should have been a red flag for the tax office that something had gone wrong with its consultation process. One of their highly paid staff, who all receive travel allowance without needing to lodge receipts, should have picked up the phone, sent a follow-up email or called a meeting. But nobody bothered.

 

NatRoad is also urging the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to reconsider its reduction in travel allowances for 2017–18.

 

“At a time where the Federal Government and industry are working together to reduce the compliance burden on road-freight businesses and their employees, this change negatively impacts small businesses and their employees,” said Warren Clark, NatRoad CEO. “It is important to get further clarity from the ATO on this difficult issue and have further consultation. NatRoad considers that the reduction will cause undue hardship to the industry. In meeting with the ATO, we hope to find a more practical solution for the industry.”

 

Call in the ACCC

Epic Fail by the ATO, ACCC Involved in Road Tolls and National Harmonisation
Ben Maguire, ATA CEO.

 

Australia’s competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), should take over regulating toll road and landside port charges, according to Ben Maguire, ATA CEO.

 

“Toll road charges for trucks are growing rapidly,” said Maguire. “Small trucking businesses simply cannot afford them. Although these charges are set by state governments, the arrangements for setting them are not transparent and do not take into account costs across the supply chain.

 

“The ATA and its members have similar concerns about landside port charges. Earlier in 2017, DP World unilaterally increased the infrastructure surcharge at its Melbourne terminal and imposed a new surcharge of $21.16 per container at its Port Botany terminal. ATA member association Road Freight NSW pointed out that the Port Botany surcharge could cost carriers up to $150,000 per year.

 

Improving Harmony

 

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has met with industry representatives in Canberra to provide a briefing on the National Harmonisation Program (NHP), which aims to minimise the compliance burden by reducing duplication and inconsistencies across state and territory borders.

 

The first phase of the NHP is aiming to develop:

National HML Declaration

Class 2 B-double Notice

Class 2 Road Train Notice

Class 1 Agricultural Vehicle and Combination Notice

 

Currently, there is a range of different notices established across the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) states and territories that include inconsistent definitions and conditions for routes, days, hours and vehicles.

 

TCA Sponsors Award

 

Transport Certification Australia (TCA) is to sponsor the Application of Technology Award (Shaun Owen Memorial) at the 28th Australian Freight Industry Awards (AFIAs). The awards are being hosted by the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) on 2 September 2017, and recognise outstanding achievements and excellence in the Australian freight industry, across six award categories.

Brett Wright Retires, Victoria Extends Length Allowance, TruckSafe on Infrastructure Projects and Road Building in the Territory

Brett Wright Retires, Victoria Extends Length Allowance, TruckSafe on Infrastructure Projects and Road Building in the Territory

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.

 

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

Brett Wright Retires, Victoria Extends Length Allowance, TruckSafe on Infrastructure Projects and Road Building in the Territory

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

Brett Wright Retires, Victoria Extends Length Allowance, TruckSafe on Infrastructure Projects and Road Building in the Territory

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.