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This Week’s Industry News

ten years after

Check out this week’s industry news, featuring truck licensing changes, new powers for industry regulators, and associations liaising with the federal government.

Austroads releases new licence framework details

Following a review into the National Heavy Vehicle Competency Framework, Austroads has revealed the changes coming to the heavy vehicle licencing process. This includes new minimum training and assessment standards as well as experienced-based progression options.

It aims to give drivers options to progress their licence without having to hold them for a set period of time, instead opting for more performance and experience based methods.

The Decision Regulatory Impact Statement was approved by transport ministers in December last year, and the new framework is set to be rolled out over the next two years.

Austroads is also developing an Australian-first hazard perception test for drivers going for their truck licence.

NHVR takes over in Queensland

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator will begin the transition to take over road regulation in Queensland, following in the wake of the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads.

This will see the regulator become fully responsible for on-road compliance and enforcement in the state starting from April 20 this year.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says the organisation hopes to create consistent regulation for heavy vehicles nationwide to provide safer roads and work for drivers.

“The transition of heavy vehicle services in Queensland will complete our National Service Transition (NST) program – a huge accomplishment for our organisation,” he says.

“I am thrilled we are a step closer to achieving our aim, of having a consistent approach to compliance and enforcement from the roadside to interventions, borderless operations and delivering timely, national responses to critical compliance issues.

“The transition will result in a more streamlined approach to how heavy vehicles are regulated across Australia, a journey that will have taken the NHVR almost 10 years to achieve.

“From April 20, on-road compliance, investigations, prosecutions and programmed heavy vehicle inspections will be some of the services currently provided by TMR to transfer across to the NHVR.

“This exciting milestone will see 165 roles added to the NHVR as part of our Northern Region, many of which will transfer across from TMR.”

The NHVR is also launching a new operation to improve safety in the construction industry.

It will be an on-road targeted operation, focused on mechanical safety and compliance with mass, dimension and loading requirements of heavy vehicles operating in support of the construction sector.

NatRoad welcomes call for more rest areas

A Parliamentary committee has recommended that the NSW Government build more heavy vehicle rest areas in the state after an inquiry into the pressures on truck drivers.

The NSW Legislative Council Committee on Transport and the Arts released the report this week, which also called for an education program for motorists on the importance of rest areas to heavy vehicle drivers.

The inquiry made a number of recommendations for how the government can ease pressures on truck drivers, and also welcomed Austroads’ licence changes.

Image: Scott Donkin/stock.adobe.com

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says the association is supportive of the inquiry’s recommendations.

“It is a big issue with our members, and we advocated strongly on their behalf,” he says.

“I’m happy to say the committee members got our message.

“Rest areas may not be the sexiest of topics to anyone outside our industry, but they are a preoccupation for many drivers for reasons of safety and complying with the rules.

“It’s not good enough that someone moves up the licence ladder on the basis of how long they’ve held a qualification,” he says.

“We have long held the view that drivers issued with a heavy vehicle licence must have the skill sets and experience needed to drive a heavy vehicle.

“We welcome the committee’s concurrence with that view and look forward to continuing to work with all governments towards a national competency-based licencing system.”

ALRTA set to hold members forum on new Bill

After the passing of the Closing Loopholes Bill this month, the Australian Livestock and Rural Transport Association is holding an online webinar on Tuesday, February 27.

The association is aiming to give members information on the Bill, as it says ‘no detail has been released regarding the regulatory framework that sits below the legislation’.

The federal government has promised a carve out for livestock transport workers as a part of the Bill, and the ALRTA hopes to actively engage with the government throughout the process.

The ALRTA would also like to remind its members that the LRTAQ/ALRTA Combined National Conference will be held from 21 – 23 March 2024 at The Goods Shed in Toowoomba.

NTRO set to show off green technology at TruckShowX

The National Transport Research Organisation is set to demonstrate its clean air initiatives at the upcoming inaugural TruckShowX at Victoria’s Cape Schanck Resort on May 13-14, 2024.

It will be advising Freight Victoria’s proof-of-concept pilot which is testing alternative clean air technology to improve health outcomes in western suburbs.

The NTRO is exploring the introduction of low and zero emissions heavy vehicles across Victoria, focusing on infrastructure impacts and emissions reduction. It is aiming to assist government to understand and implement greener technologies as Australia moves towards zero emissions.

The organisation will also speak on the future of hydrogen in the transport industry.

Image: TruckShowX

Unions defend livestock transporters

The ALRTA and SARTA have come to the defence of livestock transporters after they recently received criticism from the RSPCA.

RSPCA South Australia said in a media release that it was alarmed by how animals were being treated by transport workers.

ALRTA Executive Director Rachel Smith says the health and welfare of livestock being transported was front and centre for all transporters.

“ALRTA works closely with RSPCA Australia and Animal Angels when developing policy and programs directed at animal welfare,” Rachel says.

“Control measures include ensuring animals are fit to load, use of ramps that adhere to strict standards and loading density guides.

“ALRTA is working with TruckSafe, NTI and MLA to develop a new livestock module, TruckCare, to ensure carriers meet accreditation requirements ensuring the safe transportation of livestock.”

“There are thousands of truck movements every week in South Australia transporting livestock of one form or another throughout the state,” SARTA Executive Officer Steve Shearer says.

“We don’t want any incidents, but five in six months out of thousands every week is actually an extremely low number, and we do everything we can to have none.”

 

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