Melham Leaves, Industry Connects, and North Australia and Melbourne Get Connected

In the news this week, from Diesel News, Chris Melham leaves, industry connects, and North Australia and Melbourne get connected with new road plans.

The Australian Trucking Association announced its Chief Executive Officer, Chris Melham will be leaving the ATA on October 14 to take up a new role in another leading industry association.

“On behalf of the ATA, I would like to thank Chris for his five years of service to the Australian trucking industry and the ATA,” said Noelene Watson, ATA Chair. “During his tenure with the ATA, Chris made significant gains in a number of areas including, reconnecting the Tasmanian Transport Association with the ATA, which secured a truly national voice for the Australian trucking industry with membership from every jurisdiction.

“He also achieving reductions in heavy vehicle fuel taxes with the Australian government freezing the fuel tax paid by trucking operators in the 2015 budget and reducing it in the 2016 budget. He lead the national campaign to defeat the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal and in so doing, secured the livelihoods of numerous small trucking businesses. This included a highly successful truck convoy to Parliament House in Canberra, led by the ATA Safety Truck.

“Chris also secured the agreement of transport ministers to simplify and extend the scope of chain of responsibility laws, which are now before Parliament.”

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s new online Customer Portal is now the main avenue for heavy vehicle operators to apply for national access permits from today. AccessCONNECT Program Director David Carlisle said the effective roll out of the Portal had seen 2200 vehicle configurations created in the first two months.

“The Portal is saving more than 1400 businesses valuable time and money through a more efficient application process,” said Carlisle. “The Customer Portal is improving the way heavy vehicle permits are lodged, assessed and issued across the country with a new online permit solution and digital innovations.”

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association has welcomed the establishment of the $360 million Northern Australian Road Programme. The Programme is an 80/20 funding partnership between the Federal Government and the Queensland, Western Australia and Northern Territory Governments.

ALRTA National President Kevin Keenan said the new Programme will help support further economic development of the rural sector in northern Australia.

“Improved road transport connectivity is the key to developing the northern areas of Australia. Our communities in this part of our vast country rely more heavily on primary industries such as agriculture because there are so few other viable options’, said Keenan.

The Victorian Transport Association has welcomed independent advisory body Infrastructure Victoria’s designation of the missing North East Link connection as the priority road infrastructure project for Victoria.

In its draft 30 year infrastructure plan for the state released this week, Infrastructure Victoria has prioritised the North East Link ahead of other mooted projects, saying it would generate returns of between $1.40 and $2.10 for every $1 invested, and that it therefore ‘provides the greatest benefit for the cost’.

“The North East Link has been the VTA’s priority road project for Victoria and this independent report certainly validates our long-held view that connecting the M80 with the Eastern Freeway or Eastlink, and finally completing the Metropolitan Ring Road, must be the priority for governments,” said VTA CEO, Peter Anderson.