In this week’s Diesel News, Climate Change, Truck Washes, Wage Theft and National Registration all come under the spotlight and the Freight Inquiry chooses David Simon.
Federal and state transport ministers met for their regular summit and have agreed to a number of reforms. The statement following the meeting reveals that the ministers will work towards implementing independent price regulation for heavy vehicles, design and consider a forward-looking cost base, undertake charging trials, examine revenue impacts for governments, assess community service obligations, assess governance and institutional arrangements, develop charging and rebate options for operators and develop low-cost technologies for data capture purposes.
Highlights from the statement include a decision to implement a national registration scheme for heavy vehicles, including funding agreements, a national number plate, removal of rego sticker requirements, improved transactions and seamless interstate transfer capability.
There is also a drive to increase the accountability of road managers to the NHVR for road access requests.
“The Australian Logistics Council is especially pleased that there has been agreement on the introduction of a national registration scheme for heavy vehicles, including a national number plate and removing the requirement for heavy-vehicle registration stickers,” said Michael Kilgarriff, ALC Managing Director.
“These form part of a suite of sensible reforms that will come into effect on 1 July 2018, and will help establish more efficient administrative arrangements for freight and logistics operators, which reflect the reality that freight does not stop at state borders.”
The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has released its submission to the Australian Government review of climate change policy, calling for a focus on boosting truck productivity as a cost-effective way to reduce emissions from heavy vehicles. Increases in width and length requirements and a whole-of-government approach to reducing barriers to the increased use of high-productivity freight vehicles are called for.
NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey and NSW Development Minister Fiona Nash have announced 26 successful applicants in the Fixing Country Truck Washes program. The 26 projects across country NSW will share in the $10 million joint initiative between the NSW and Australian Governments to build and upgrade truck wash-out facilities.
“The NSW Government’s Fixing Country Truck Washes program will help to build a strong, reliable freight transport network by focusing on hotspots where truck washing facilities and effluent disposal don’t currently meet the needs of truck operators, especially livestock carriers,” said Pavey.
NatRoad slams TWU comment
According to NatRoad, the Transport Workers Union’s call for employers to be jailed for so-called wage theft completely ignores the fact that there is legislation before Parliament that strengthens the law where there has been deliberate and systematic exploitation of workers.
“The TWU’s comments appear to be [more] attention-seeking than analytical,” said Warren Clark, CEO NatRoad. “A Senate Committee has recently expressed support for the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017. The Bill amends the Fair Work Act to protect vulnerable workers. Rather than seeking to grab headlines, the TWU should be educating its members about the higher scale of penalties for ‘serious contraventions’ of payment-related workplace laws.
Simon on the Panel
Former ATA Chair, David Simon, has been appointed to the expert panel supporting the Australian Government’s National Freight and Supply Chain Inquiry. Current ATA Chair, Geoff Crouch, said the appointment showed the Australian Government recognised the importance of trucking operators to moving the national freight task.