Industry Issues, LBRCA, Rural

Discussions on a Number of Topics

Discussions on a Number of Topics

The 2024 Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association of NSW Conference took place in Wagga Wagga and saw a wide ranging set of discussions on a number of topics, including the new NSW Government, truck and trailer stability, the inclusion of Queensland enforcement in the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, and much more.

At the opening of the LBRCA event in Wagga Wagga, the new Minister for Rural Transport and Roads in the NSW government, Jenny Aitchison, opened proceedings, in front of a substantial and proactive audience of delegates.

Minister Aitchison’s speech focused on the challenges and solutions for regional freight transportation in New South Wales. She emphasised the need for collaboration between the industry and government to address road safety concerns.

A plan to highlight the need for a systemic approach to address the skills gap in the industry was discussed by the Minister, and she emphasised collaboration with the transport industry, as being vital.

The audience also discussed the need for industry reform to address driver shortages and licensing challenges in Australia, with proposals for experience-based progression options and a pilot program to bring young people into the industry. Questioners from the floor emphasised the need for enhanced driver training and licensing, while raising concerns about the potential risks of removing regulations without significant changes.

The need to implement heavy vehicle driver competency framework reforms across all states and territories and to develop an evidence base for young driver heavy vehicle pilot program initiated a lively discussion from the floor, including the suggestion that increased behind the wheel experience requirements should be introduced.

Rollover Awareness

Alan Pincott, who developed a rollover prevention program for VicRoads, spoke to the conference about involving industry in the development and roll out of a heavy vehicle rollover and accident prevention (HVRAP) program.

The importance of implementing rollover awareness programs and involving the entire industry in reducing heavy vehicle crashes alongside practical solutions to mitigate risks were highlighted by Alan. He stressed the need for a comprehensive online learning program that incorporates both technical and behavioural aspects of the issue.

There is a need to discuss the significance of analysing crash data to identify trends and improve safety, plus training and information to encourage an understanding of the importance of proper loading, centrifugal forces, and ground clearance.

With the LBRCA, Alan is working to develop additional industry-specific HVRAP modules for loading and transporting fertiliser, hay and fodder, plus cotton. The aim is to also continue building a crash investigation tool database to identify industry trends.

On its release the HVRAP program will be available with free access to everyone in the industry. The task at the moment is to look for additional funding to support the crash investigation database.

NHVR and Streamlining

In his speech to the audience, Sal Petroccitto, CEO of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) talked about the need for his organisation and the trucking industry to collaborate to improve road safety through enforcement and education.

As the NHVR integrates the Queensland TMR into its set-up there will be standardisation of roles and responsibilities across different entities, which is crucial for supply chain safety and accountability. Sal acknowledged a more streamlined heavy vehicle access regime is needed to speed up the process.

Looking forward, Sal explained the NHVR is investigating ways of taking mainstream PBS vehicles into restricted or general access regimes, so that it can refocus the scheme on to true innovation opportunities.

He also announced that the NHVR has established an off-road parties investigation team, which will look at other parties in the chain of responsibility like distribution centres as an area of focus.

Enforcement

The Director for the Central Region of NSW Operations at the NHVR Brett Patterson and Greg Casey, a former NSW Police Officer, who is currently researching truck driver attitudes to the interaction between them and the police, discussed the challenges of enforcing regulations in the transport industry.

They both emphasised the need for education and training, as well as the importance of engaging with drivers, managing driver fatigue, and instilling a culture of safety. They identified the need for education and understanding in managing fatigue, also understanding police officers’ difficulty in enforcing fatigue management regulations.

Elim Chan from the NHVR’s Investigations and Prosecutions Division, discussed and highlighted penalties and compliance measures for those breaching Heavy Vehicle National Law regulations. She talked about the importance of understanding the chain of responsibility in heavy vehicle regulation, addressing challenges and myths surrounding anonymous tips and prosecutions.

She also provided case studies to drive sustainable behavioural change, while discussing the NHVR team’s challenges in gathering evidence and conducting investigations. Her speech reinforced the need for a robust investigation process to identify and address safety risks.

The end of 3G

Telstra is set to close its 3G network, with Chris Meisnner, Customer Access – Executive at Telstra interviewed by Gavin Hill, General Manager Strategy and Delivery at Transport Certification Australia.

Chris began by explaining the need to relinquish the space used by 3G, which is about to be closed down, in order to free up spectrum for 5G services. He told the conference it will enable an improvement in network efficiency and coverage, as well as creating benefits for customers.

With the ending 3G networks there is a need for consumers to upgrade their devices to 4G or newer technology. Chris highlighted the importance of checking device compatibility and upgrading infrastructure.

It is important for trucking operators to take stock of telematics devices used for regulatory schemes and upgrade any 3G devices before shutdown deadlines.

 

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