Online freight matching must include CoR: NatRoad

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has provided a submission to the Victorian Inquiry into the On-Demand Workforce.
NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said: “The nature of the freight task is changing. We told the inquiry that this change in part comes from changing community preferences and demographics linked with technology developments. Members have informed us that there is a large number of digital platforms that ‘match’ freight tasks with transport companies. They essentially offer a limited form of freight forwarding, often without assuming any of the liabilities which accompany the traditional manner in which freight forwarding tasks occur. They want members to operate on demand.
“The experience of members with these platforms has been negative,” he said.
“NatRoad surveyed our members and the qualitative feedback was that currently digital platforms are only used to fill occasional loads. But there are no checks and balances in place to ask if the members have the capacity to complete the job, the right insurance or safety measures in place. These platforms do not meet the chain of responsibility requirements at all.
“NatRoad’s answer to the regulatory issues that arise in relation to digital platforms is to extend the chain of responsibility laws to these platforms under certain circumstances. It is clear from the feedback from the member survey that regulation through the chain of responsibility would be welcomed by members.
“Although NatRoad has welcomed the changes that enhance the chain of responsibility provisions from 1 October 2018, they are still limited to specific parties. The definition in the Heavy Vehicle National Law of who is a party in the chain needs to be amended to include all parties who influence or control transport activities. This will then capture persons who promote ‘platforms’ for the undertaking of work but who currently protect themselves from any legal responsibilities related to the transport task.
“NatRoad’s main recommendation to the inquiry, therefore, is an expansion in COR obligations.
“We also argued against the re-introduction of ‘safe rates’ into the transport industry. But we proposed that there should not be freight contract rate that was below the modern award minimum wage rate unless it was filling a backload or part-load and there was informed consent to this condition. Paying below the modern award rate would be plainly unconscionable” Mr Clark concluded.
 
 

Australia’s national truck laws must be substantially redrafted, the Australian Trucking Association said in response to the first issues paper of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) review.

Truck owners, drivers’ union as far apart as ever

NatRoad president Allan Thornley has met with Shadow Assistant Minister for Road Safety Senator Sterle. Discussions encompassed the abolished Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, the industry’s payment terms and working together to get more young people into the road transport industry.
Allan Thornley said: “It’s critical that political parties of all colours support the toughening of chain of responsibility laws. We can never have another RSRT, which was ill conceived. Any future regulation in this space needs careful consideration to achieve bipartisan political and industry support.
“Senator Sterle was keen that the industry work with him and other members of the Australian Labor Party to change the face of our regulation,” said Mr Thornley.
Senator Sterle said: “I will always be a champion for the transport industry. The RSRT as a model didn’t work. We won’t rush into a new model that doesn’t work. I’m going to bring in safe rates, I’m going to do this and I’m going to do it properly,” he said.
Discussion encompassed a number of areas where NatRoad and Senator Sterle were in agreement. These matters included:

  • Making 30 day payments a mandated minimum.
  • Introducing a trade recognised skill of heavy vehicle driving.
  • Establishing a plan to get more young people to join the industry and increasing the industry’s diversity.
  • Setting up a working group to look at any mandated rates scheme before a new system is put in place.

Allan Thornley said: “We also reached agreement on the fact that enforcement of the law is critical. The industry must hold regulators to account. Parties must know that enforcement up the chain is likely and therefore regulators must allocate enough resources to enforcing the new CoR laws and any new regulation. Truck drivers should be able to report breaches of laws that impact on their safety without adverse consequences.
“We want to continue to engage with dedicated industry supporters like Senator Sterle,” Mr Thornley concluded.
Right direction, wrong approach: union
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said the owners’ organisation could deliver many solutions to the industry but instead keeps talking about what it opposes.
“NatRoad says that it wants 30-day payments mandated. Then it must explain to its members and the wider industry why it opposed a system that was delivering this for owner drivers and that was examining an application from the TWU to extend this guarantee to all transport operators. Transport operators would have 30-day payments by now, instead of remaining at the mercy of big corporations that refuse to pay for work carried out for up to 120 days.
“Since the RSRT has been pulled down nothing has been achieved by the likes of NatRoad to improve our industry. There has been no increase in rates and unpaid work, waiting time and financial insecurity are still major problems. Transport operators are still being forced into insolvency at higher rates than most other industries because the margins are so tight. In the 2017 financial year, 469 companies entered into external administration in the transport, postal and warehousing industries. Of those, 65% were businesses that employed fewer than five employees. The main reason for the insolvencies was inadequate cash flow.
“Companies and their clients still aren’t held to account when drivers get pressured into gruelling work practices. In fact, clients have in the last two years been given a green light to heap the pressure on even more. Aldi has been emboldened to take the union to the Federal Court to try and stop drivers speaking out about rates and conditions in their supply chain.
“Of course the slaughter is also still continuing. Deaths from truck crashes are still far too high while truck drivers are still more likely to be killed at work than any other profession.
“The push for Safe Rates is simply about fairness.
“It says transport operators and drivers have the right to earn a living without being pushed into bankruptcy by wealthy companies at the top which pay their chief executives millions. It says drivers have the right to be paid for all the work they do and to be safe in their jobs. It says all road users have the right not to be killed and injured on the roads because safety got cut because of costs. It says the wealthy companies at the top can no longer escape the responsibility of their effects on our industry.”
 

Joyce replaces Chester

The trucking and logistics industry has welcomed the announcement that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce will be appointed as the new Infrastructure and Transport Minister.
“Barnaby Joyce has a wealth of experience and understanding of regional Australia, and understands the importance of roads and transport to communities’ right across Australia,” said Geoff Crouch, Chair, Australian Trucking Association (ATA).
“Trucking is an enabler of opportunity, allowing businesses to reach domestic and international markets, consumers to purchase goods, farms to sell their produce, and construction materials to enable new developments.”
The Deputy Prime Minister will be responsible for a significant transport agenda in 2018.
“The Government has announced a $75 billion infrastructure program, plans for progressing road pricing reform, launching a new national freight and supply chain strategy, and important reviews into safety accreditation schemes, the National Road Safety Strategy, and the National Land Transport Network,” said Crouch.
“It’s a significant to-do list and the ATA looks forward to working with the Government to ensure the views of the trucking industry are well represented.”
Crouch also welcomed the reappointment of Paul Fletcher as Minister for Urban Infrastructure, and now also with responsibility for cities.
“Paul Fletcher has shown a commitment to engage with trucking operators on the details of heavy vehicle reforms, and we look forward to that continuing,” said Crouch.
“There is a pressing need to enhance a new national agenda on land transport safety and productivity, and the ATA looks forward to engaging with Barnaby Joyce, Paul Fletcher and the Australian Government to make this a reality,” he said.
“We look forward to working with Barnaby Joyce, in building a safe, efficient and effective road transport industry for future years,” said National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) CEO, Warren Clark.
“We welcome a fresh perspective to a portfolio which is a vital component of building Australia’s productivity, particularly in rural and regional Australia.
“We hope to meet with the new Minster shortly, to discuss the prominent issues facing today’s trucking industry, including issues which need urgent attention such as: A lack of national consistency in regulatory requirements and enforcement, access restrictions for high productivity vehicles, and traffic congestion in urban areas.
“We’d also like to extend our appreciation to outgoing minister Darren Chester, for his contribution to the Road Transport Industry in his time as Minister. We admired his energy, intelligence and commitment to the portfolio,” he said.
Crouch paid thanks to the service of outgoing Transport Minister, Darren Chester.
“The trucking industry thanks Darren Chester for his work as Transport Minister and in particular his commitment and passion for road safety,” said Crouch.
“It has been an enormous honour and a privilege to serve in Cabinet in the best portfolio possible, infrastructure and transport,” Darren Chester said in a statement.
“Over the past two years, I’ve been part of policy and project decisions which will change lives and save lives across our nation.
“I’m proud of the work my team and I have done on behalf of the Government and I’m sorry we won’t get to finish some of the jobs we’ve started,” he said.

Women In Industry 2017 award winners announced

Around 250 guests celebrated the achievements of the Women in Industry Award nominees, finalists and winners at a gala presentation dinner in Melbourne on Thursday, 22 June.
The fourth annual awards night, hosted by The Project’s Gorgi Coghlan, recognised the achievements of women working within the logistics, commercial road transport, mining, engineering and manufacturing industries, and aims to raise the profile of women within industry, as well as promote and encourage excellence.
The winners in ten categories were decided by judges Cathy Foley, Deputy and Science Director of CSIRO Manufacturing; Noelene Watson, former Chair, Australian Trucking Association; Christine Gibbs Stewart, CEO, Austmine; Megan Edwards, Head of Membership Services, Austmine; and Irene Godeau, Director – Communications and Marketing, Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre.
In the Rising Star of the Year category, sponsored by Atlas Copco, the judges awarded the honour to Michaela Craft, Region South Pacific – Energy Coordinator, BOC Limited.
Social Leader of the Year, sponsored by COG Advertising, was awarded to Beverly Williams, Industry Pathways and Placement Coordinator – Automotive Centre of Excellence, Bendigo Kangan Institute.
Business Development Manager of the Year, sponsored by ABB, went to Shelley Hyslop, Major Account Manager, ATOM.
Safety Advocacy Award, sponsored by BOC Limited, was awarded to Catherine King, Country Health, Safety and Environment Manager, ABB Australia.
The Excellence in Manufacturing award, sponsored by Manark Printing, went to Lisa Lamb, Manufacturing Director – Products of National Significance, Seqirus.
In the Excellence in Mining category, sponsored by MMD, the award went to Gina Rinehart, Executive Chairman, Hancock Prospecting.
Winner of the Excellence in Engineering category, sponsored by Cummins, was Philippa Craft, Product Manager – Bulk Carbon Dioxide, Hydrogen, Helium, BOC Limited.
Excellence in Road Transport, sponsored by NatRoad, went to Pam McMillan, Chair, Transport Women Australia.
Both the Industry Advocacy and the Mentor of the Year awards, sponsored by MEGATRANS2018 and CSR Lightweight Systems, respectively, went to Penelope Twemlow, CEO, Energy Skills Queensland.
“We would like to congratulate all attendees and finalists for joining us at this year’s Women in Industry Awards,” said event organiser, Lauren Winterbottom. “It was amazing to celebrate and promote the achievements of so many women in industry, and we hope to see you all next year.”
The fourth edition of the awards was complemented by the inaugural Women In Industry Conference, which took place at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre earlier that day.
According to Bianca Dohnt, Editor, Trailer Magazine, who hosted the day’s proceedings, the conference was a tremendous success.
“We heard the fascinating stories, advice and statistics from an intriguing group of women across the road transport, mining, engineering, logistics, manufacturing, aerospace, food and beverage production and infrastructure industries,” she explained to guests at the Awards night.
“Though our sectors are all very different, we came together because we share a common interest in advocating for our industries, the opportunities they provide for ambitious women, and how those women can make the industries better in return.
“At the Conference today, we created some real action plans to encourage more women to pursue greater success, and spread the word of our industries’ potential to the countless women out there who may not know of the opportunities that are waiting for them.
“I am proud to be an ambassador for events like Women In Industry, and be a part of an alliance of women, and men, who appreciate and champion the talents that women can provide, and the difference we make in any chosen industry.”

ALC, ATA, NatRoad hail government response to RSRT report

The Federal Government’s reaction to a report by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) into the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) has received widespread support by sectors of the transport industry, including the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad).
“Since it was first proposed in 2010, ALC has always opposed the introduction of the RSRT,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC. “The tribunal was intentioned to improve heavy vehicle safety and prevent fatalities on the road. In reality, it had the opposite effect, taking focus away from ‘chain of responsibility’ laws that place a legal obligation on supply-chain operators to take action to prevent speeding, fatigue, mass limits and loading infringements.
“For this reason, ALC shares the Government’s concern that the application by the Transport Workers Union to vary the NSW General Carriers Contract Determination will reintroduce the same inefficiencies in that state, with no tangible safety benefit.”
NatRoad CEO, Warren Clark, added, “In short, the government response to ASBFEO’s report strongly warns that industrial upheaval in the sector is not over. There is a general consensus that what occurred with the RSRT should never be repeated.
“Commonwealth protections for small operators and contract carriers are in place through the Fair Work Act and the Independent Contractors Act – let’s strengthen these so we have a level operating field for small and big operators.”
According to Ben Maguire, CEO of the ATA, the association, “Particularly welcomes the Government’s in-principle support for recommendation 9, where the ombudsman proposed a national advertising campaign to educate road users about how to drive near and around trucks.”
“The Government should spend part of the $3.9 million it has allocated to the Infrastructure Department in 2017–18 from the abolition of the RSRT to this campaign. The campaign must include Western Australia and the Northern Territory,” he said.
Louise Bilato, Executive Officer of the Northern Territory Road Transport Association also welcomed the response. “Mental health and wellbeing in the transport industry needs a higher focus, and this Australian Government response signals recognition of the onerous responsibilities placed on small businesses and the importance of not trivialising road safety,” she said.
In May last year, the Australian Government requested the ASBFEO to conduct an inquiry into the effect of the now dissolved RSRT’s Payments Order on Australian owner-drivers and small businesses. “The Ombudsman’s report confirms the Government’s concerns and that the decision to urgently abolish the Tribunal was necessary,” Minister for Employment, Senator Michaelia Cash, stated in a report recently released on the Department of Employment website.

Formidable new voice for the road transport industry

Raod train.

A new voice for the trucking industry. 

(Image courtesy of the ARTA)

A membership amalgamation has heralded a new era for the trucking industry. 

Two national trucking organisations, NatRoad and the Australian Road Train Association (ARTA), have joined forces to set up what they claim is Australia’s foremost national heavy vehicle membership-driven representative body.

Under the agreement, their memberships will be combined under NatRoad Ltd, to be known as NatRoad, The National Road Transport Operators Association, Incorporating the Australian Road Train Association.

The new partnership is expected to create a more salient industry voice to advocate the interests of the industry to Australia’s policy-makers, and also to provide a widened range of services including assistance regarding fatigue management; occupational health and safety and risk management; industrial relations advice and representation; 24 hour / 7 day-a-week helpline; member workshops; and preferred supplier benefits.

“The partnership means coast-to-coast representation for heavy vehicle operators regardless of their type of operation, from coastal-based rigid vehicle owner-operators through to major fleet remote area road train operators,” NatRoad said.

NatRoad president Rob McIntosh said the amalgamation was an upshot of a long-standing relationship between the two grass root organisations.

“In reality, this move simply formalises what has long been a natural fit between the two organisations, whilst removing the duplication of policy development and membership services,” Mr McIntosh said.

NatRoad will shortly be writing to each financial member of the ARTA providing details of the change.

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