New ATA Chair, Tunnel Tolls, Industry Code and Fair Work

Tunnel Tolls, Industry Code, Fair Work and Noelene Retires

The news this week includes stories about a New Chair for the ATA, Tunnel Tolls, Industry Code, and Fair Work, plus overflowing effluent and the chain of responsibility.

Geoff Crouch
Geoff Crouch

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has elected Geoff Crouch as its new Chair. Crouch ended his term as President of ATA member association NatRoad in 2015 and is the managing director of Ron Crouch Transport, where he has worked since 1995.

“I am very proud to represent the ATA and the trucking industry as the new Chair. I wish to thank my predecessor, Noelene Watson, for all of her tireless hard work,” Crouch said. “If I can be half as good a Chair as Noelene I will consider my tenure very successful indeed.”

“The trucking industry is made up of so many exceptional people, and I am excited to work with our state and territory member associations and all our sponsors to maintain and improve road safety, industry viability and professionalism.”

Tunnel Tolls, Industry Code, Fair Work and Noelene Retires
Noelene Watson

This week Noelene Watson her retirement from the role of Chair of the Australian Trucking Association, a post she held since 2014. This move will free up her time to return, full time, to her role as the Managing Director of Don Watson Transport.

Under my leadership, the ATA campaigned for strong practical road safety measures, including the reforms to the truck safety laws that will come into force next year,” said Watson.“We also stood up for owner drivers and small family trucking businesses. I’ll never forget the chilly April morning when I watched our truck convoy against the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal roll up to Parliament House.” 


A row has broken out in Melbourne following the announcement of a new tunnel to be built in the city’s inner-west. To be known as the Western Distributor, it will connect the freight area around the Port of Melbourne to the Western Highway, heading out of the city.

While welcoming the announcement of the tunnel’s construction, the trucking industry is concerned about the truck bans aroundcentral Melbourne which will follow, when the tunnel is built. The bans will stop trucks traveling through Yarraville and Footscray to access the port.

Most trucks heading in or out of the port area will have use the toll road. This row comes on top of two lingering issues in the city. The campaign against rising tolls for trucks, led by Lindsay Fox, has reached a crescendo as tolls are set more than double to use the toll roads around Melbourne.

The residents of both Yarraville and Footscray have been engaged in an ongoing and vitriolic battle with the trucking industry over a number of years over the trucks travelling through Francis Street, Somerville Road, Buckley Street and Moore Street. These streets are to be included in the proposed ban.



Code of Practice

In his first outing as ATA CEO, at the Livestock, Bulk and Rural Carriers of NSW Conference in Dubbo, Ben Maguire talked about maintaining and improving safety, viability and professionalism being the focus for the trucking industry.

There are many challenges facing the trucking industry and we need to tackle them as a unified front,” said Maguire. “The ATA is the leading voice in the trucking industry and we use that voice to support our state and territory member associations in issues that affect our members.

The ATA is working with the Australian Logistics Council to form an Industry Code of Practice that covers areas such as fatigue, chain of responsibility and risk assessment. There are also issues with the Euro VI regulation impact statement which would have an enormous impact if implemented on trucking operators and companies nationwide.”

Fair Work Tribunal

NatRoad has appeared at the Fair Work Commission in Sydney as part of its effort to reduce the regulatory burden faced by small trucking businesses all around Australia. NatRoad was opposing proposed changes to the transport modern awards, it says, would result in more red tape for all trucking businesses.

What we saw last week is yet another attempt to over regulate the industry” said Warren Clark, NatRoad CEO. “We remain critical of regulatory changes that impose additional costs on our members yet fail to bring about any productivity gains. The road transport industry is already highly regulated and new red tape adds to the regulatory burden.”

Effluent Plan

The Livestock and Rural Transporters Association of Queensland has called for the State Government and Local Councils to work with industry to develop a plan for the construction and funding of managed roadside disposal sites for livestock effluent.

Queensland is home to the largest cattle heard in Australia and can ill-afford to ignore controllable risks to the livestock supply chain,” said Ian Wild, LRTAQ President. “There are four major abattoirs in the Brisbane area with four major highways (Bruce, Cunningham, Warrego, Brisbane Valley) carrying many tens of thousands of animals for processing annually. While professional livestock carriers who enter this area are using effluent capture tanks, they are unable to fully control effluent loss because of the poor animal preparation practices of other parties in the chain and a complete lack of managed roadside disposal infrastructure.”


The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has added to the number of information sessions across the country to discuss amendments to Chain of Responsibility laws that are coming in mid 2018.The latest session added for NSW is at Coffs Harbour Racing Club and Function Centre, Howard Street, Coffs Harbour on April 10 at 9.30am and again. To register for sessions in other locations and states, visit the NHVR website.