NTC CEO Dr Gillian Miles.
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has welcomed the appointment of Stephan Knoll as South Australian Transport and Infrastructure Minister.
NHVR Chair, Bruce Baird, looked forward to working with Knoll and the incoming South Australian government to deliver ongoing services to the state’s heavy vehicle industry.
“The incoming Marshall government has made announcements in relation to the movement of freight and I look forward to working with them to boost productivity for the local heavy vehicle industry,” said Baird.
“The NHVR has a close working relationship with South Australian transport and police agencies and we will continue to develop those relationships in the years ahead.
“I congratulate Stephan on behalf of the NHVR staff and board, and look forward to working with him to deliver an on-going agenda to reform heavy vehicle safety and productivity.”
Knoll will replace outgoing Minister, Stephen Mullighan, as a Minister responsible for the NHVR in South Australia.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has called on the New South Wales Government to take a leadership role and advocate for significant changes to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).
“ALC’s submission to the Inquiry into Heavy Vehicle Safety and Use of Technology to Improve Road Safety again reinforces the need for telematics to become mandatory in heavy vehicles,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
The New South Wales Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety (‘Staysafe Committee’) is undertaking the Inquiry.
“In providing this submission, ALC has released a four-stage blueprint for the introduction of mandatory telematics,” Kilgariff added. “Telematics can help to improve heavy vehicle safety by providing truck drivers and transport operators with data that can detect any illegal and unsafe driving practices.”
He noted that, as Australia’s most populous states, New South Wales’ adoption of mandatory telematics would be key for driving heavy-vehicle safety.
“ALC’s continuing discussions with industry participants regarding the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy indicate that industry is continuing to embrace innovative technological solutions,” he said. “This means it is now easier than ever to collect reliable data that can shape the development of a more efficient and safer freight transport network.
“Industry is grasping the nettle when it comes to telematics. Now is the time for governments to do likewise.”
In his opening remarks to the Victorian Transport Association’s (VTA) annual State Conference, CEO Peter Anderson called for the introduction of a Victorian Freight Authority to advise Government on the requirements of the transport and logistics industries.
Anderson noted that the VTA has been advocating for policy that supports operators to be successful in business, whether it be new road, rail and port infrastructure to streamline the freight task, or new ways of operating to create efficiencies for various participants in the supply chain.
“An example of this is our advocacy for a Victorian Freight Authority to provide government with the perspective of the transport industry when it comes to decisions impacting planning and development, roads and infrastructure, user charges, the environment, and other public policy matters,’ he said.
“The requirements of operators need to be factored early on in decisions being made by regulators and legislators, which is why are pushing for the creation of an authority like this to ensure your unique needs are being looked after.”
He added that business cost increases seen across the supply-chain industry over the past 12 months have been felt especially by road transport operators.
“We’ve had infrastructure surcharge increases from all the stevedores in Melbourne and elsewhere around the country, road charges are increasing exponentially whether it be fuel and excises, registration, insurance and tolls, and the threat of industrial action throughout many sectors of the economy is arguably the greatest it’s been for a long time, as we saw over Christmas at Webb Dock,” Anderson said.
“Indeed, the possibility of future super unions like we’ve seen with the merger of the CFMEU (Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union) and MUA (Maritime Union of Australia) could have far-reaching negative impacts on employers and supply chains nationally.
“In year’s gone past, operators would typically wear the increases rather than risk losing business to competitors. We need to shift this attitude and educate not only customers, but consumers as well, that increases in costs are going to be passed on through the supply chain, and ultimately to the end-users of the goods transported by operators.”
Without such action, he noted, operators may not have cost recovery increases accepted and will therefore go under, “which is not good for anyone.”
In his speech, Anderson also shared that the VTA’s community outreach efforts have been well received.
“We are getting closer to a really encouraging outcome with resident groups in the inner west of Melbourne near the port who for some time have been concerned about the impacts of heavy-vehicle movements,” he said.
“We’re working on a solution that will create a range of improvements and set new standards for driver training, instruction and vehicle emissions, and ultimately create better harmony between passenger and commercial road users.”
Mark Mazurek, the recently appointed CEO of Linfox Logistics, has told Logistics & Materials Handling how the supply chain company intends to set an example for safe practice in Australia.
“In 2017, there were 168 fatal crashes in Australia involving heavy vehicles,” he said. “This is unacceptable and it tells us that safety requires relentless commitment.
“You can’t put an unsafe driver in a safe truck and expect it to be safe.”
He noted that Linfox implemented its own in-house strategy – Vision Zero – after realising that it would need a culture of safety in order to keep its people and the public safe. “We invest in technology to enhance that, but it starts with culture first,” he added. “We’ve reduced our LTIFR (Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate) by 90 per cent since 2006 so we’re getting something right, but we can never be complacent.
“Industry, government and road users have a role to play in creating a culture of safety on our roads.”
Mazurek added that it is crucial the Federal Government uses its influence in the best way. “The Government role is about creating consistency for the industry,” he said. “On a policy level, it is critical to align national heavy vehicle legislation across Australia to make operations simpler, more efficient and safer. This includes heavy vehicle maintenance standards, driver medical standards and heavy vehicle licencing.
“We’d also like to see greater restrictions on older vehicles and trailing equipment. We commend the work of the Australian Logistics Council and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator in building momentum on this issue.”
Linfox would also like to see the Government advancing policy in mandatory telematics to assist with the management of speed, fatigue, mass and maintenance, and the development of an environment conducive to innovation, enabling technology to be trialled and implemented quickly, Mazurek shared.
In an open letter to Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, Michael Byrne, managing director of the Toll Group calls for the Government to urgently address six critical areas needed to improve road safety on Australian roads.
“Dear Prime Minister,
Recent media reports have highlighted what we in the transport industry already know all too well – Australia has a dire road safety problem. In the five years to 2016, more than 1,000 people were killed in truck crashes. Our approach to heavy vehicles in this country is core to tackling this issue.
We have heard from many experts across government and academia on what needs to be done to improve road safety, and we thank them for their important contributions. I write to you to as the leader of Australia’s largest transport and logistics company, Toll Group, and the former leader of Linfox, the second largest transport company. I’ve worked in the trucking business since I was 13 years old, and am a second generation industry veteran with my mother having run a highly successful transport business.
I offer you a different perspective to this important discussion on what must be done to improve safety on our roads. I bring you an operator’s perspective.
We must begin by addressing six critical areas.
Firstly, we must have one rule book across Australia. Starting with the basics – we are yet to have a consistent definition of what a ‘heavy vehicle’ is. Sometimes it’s a vehicle above 12 tonnes (for work and rest hours), sometimes above 12 tonnes and manufactured after 1997 (for speed limiters – except in NSW), and sometimes a vehicle above 4.5 tonnes (mass, dimension and load restraint). Compliance starts with clarity of the rules. A truck should be any vehicle 4.5 tonnes and above. Period.
On the life and death matter of driver fatigue, our current state-based system allows drivers to drive for up to 17 hours in a 24 hour period in Western Australia and up to 18 hours in the Northern Territory – a workday that would be illegal for a driver in any other state. This leaves time for a maximum of only 6 to 7 hours of rest in a 24 hour period – resulting in the physiological equivalent of a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05. We do not accept drunk driving. We should not accept fatigued driving.
Further, the maximum speed limit for trucks between 4.5 and 12 tonne varies from 100 km/h in NSW to 130 km/h in the Northern Territory. Any truck driver making the slightest error in judgement at 130 km/h will certainly have a devastating outcome for the driver and anyone unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity.
It is time for a genuinely national approach to heavy vehicle regulation, including for heavy vehicle driver licensing. A national driver licensing system can stipulate the skills and competencies required to safely drive a heavy vehicle, including how to restrain a load and how to fill out a work diary. A genuinely national system would mean that licence cancellation in one state means cancellation in all states. A targeted strategy will attract new drivers, arrest the decline in competent drivers and provide a career path for driving professionals.
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator was supposed to deliver one rule book. It hasn’t.
Western Australia and the Northern Territory have refused to sign up to the national law. And so today Australian road freight operators are subject to multiple and overlapping rules at the local council, state and national level. Let’s look to aviation for inspiration on how this can be achieved. This industry is subject to one set of rules. No exceptions. We must follow.
Secondly, we must introduce an operator licensing system. Where operators in maritime, rail and aviation must all demonstrate their safety and competence before they can operate, in road transport virtually anyone with a truck, a driver and an ABN can be a road freight operator. This makes Australia unusual: most comparable countries have an operator licensing system for road transport. For example, in the UK, road transport operators must pass a ‘fit and proper’ person test, prove they have the funds to maintain vehicles, and employ transport managers who understand what compliance looks like.
Third, the solution to the road toll cannot and will not come solely from industry. The community, government, enforcement and road safety bodies must do their part too. Through NTI data, we know that in 93% of fatalities involving a truck, the other party was at fault. Yet national and state road safety strategies are silent on how light vehicle drivers can ‘share the road’ safely with trucks. There is an opportunity to ensure that drivers are educated on driving safely around trucks, such as safe stopping distances and over-taking, as part of licensing schemes.
Fourth, by pulling the right policy levers, government can incentivise and reward safe behaviours from heavy vehicle operators. Discounted registration and stamp duty fees could be offered to operators with sound safety records. Government can also mandate investment in newer, safer more sustainable fleet. Technologies such as autonomous emergency braking systems, lane departure warning systems and electronic stability control can save up to 104 lives per year but are taking too long to become standard in the fleet. The average age of a heavy rigid truck in Australia is 15.7 years. The average age of an articulated truck is 11.9 years. An operator licensing system could stipulate a maximum vehicle age or offer subsidies/incentives to safe operators to deploy these lifesaving technologies.
Fifth, mandate telematics, which includes GPS and black box technology, for all new heavy vehicles. Enforcement of the rules is tough in Australia because of the vast distances between towns. There are not enough police to catch every driver and operator who puts other road users at risk. Mandatory telematics on every vehicle will identify operators that systematically and deliberately speed, overload vehicles and push fatigue limits. Removing operators who refuse to do the right thing protects the community and allows good operators to remain competitive.
Finally, we must ensure that operators such as Toll Group are actively engaged in any debate and policy development pertaining to road safety and heavy vehicles. Any discussion on heavy vehicle regulation must draw on private sector expertise to truly understand how we can overcome the obstacles that are holding us back from creating safer roads for our community.
To recap, I call on the government to make the following six points a priority to affect real improvements in driving the road toll down:
- Have one rule book for heavy vehicles and heavy vehicle drivers across the country. No variations, no exceptions. This must cover a standard definition of a heavy vehicle as well as a national approach to:
- Mandatory stationary rest times for heavy vehicle drivers, speed limits for heavy vehicles and a driver.
- The licencing system.
- Introduce a national operator licencing system.
- Enhance community understanding of how to drive safely around trucks, including through the graduated licensing system and education campaigns.
- Incentivise and reward safe, modern fleets with life-saving technologies.
- Make telematics mandatory for regulatory purposes.
- Draw on private sector expertise from transport operators in any discussion on improving road safety outcomes pertaining to heavy vehicles.
I am sending this letter to all road and road safety ministers across Australia with the view to driving collaboration across governments. As Australia’s largest provider of road freight logistics, Toll stands ready to work with all governments to make these six points a reality.
In our view, we don’t need any further research, studies and committees. We have immediate, critical opportunities before us today that, when implemented, will save lives. We know what needs to be done. It is time for action.”
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has fully endorsed the six-point national heavy vehicle safety plan Michael Byrne, Managing Director of Toll Group, proposed in his recent letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
“The proposals contained in the plan are entirely consistent with longstanding ALC policy, and offer a clear pathway to delivering improved road safety, not only for heavy vehicles, but for all road users,” said Michael Kilgariff, Managing Director, ALC.
“As an industry leader on freight and supply chain policy issues, ALC has continually emphasised that our supply chains do not stop at state borders. Accordingly, regulations which govern heavy vehicles and freight movement need to be nationally consistent, to promote supply chain efficiency and safety, and to provide certainty for industry.”
Kilgariff called for the Federal Government to immediately pursue discussions with the governments of Western Australia and the Northern Territory to encourage them to sign up to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). “In a modern national economy, it is not feasible to have inconsistent rules in different states pertaining to the definition of a heavy vehicle, speed limits and regulation of driver’s working hours and mandatory rest times,” he said.
“The Federal Government should also immediately pursue a national operator licensing system, which ALC strongly supports as essential to improving road safety and making certain the nation’s heavy vehicle fleet is operated by competent professionals who understand their safety obligations.”
Kilgariff also welcomed Byrne’s call for mandatory use of telematics. “Industry has consistently told governments that mandating the use of telematics in heavy vehicles is central to driving better safety outcomes and saving lives on our roads,” he said. “Now is the time for decision-makers to heed that advice.”
The ALC’s 2018–19 Commonwealth Budget submission recommended that the Federal Government support measures that encourage the capture and use of technology and data, which is in line with Byrne’s own suggestions.
Kilgariff also praised Byrne’s proposal of discounted registration fees for transport operators that can demonstrate they are investing in telematics, as well as campaigns to improve driver awareness about sharing the road with heavy vehicles.
“Our industry stands ready to work with all governments to enhance heavy vehicle safety,” said Kilgariff. “They should take the opportunity to harness that goodwill and work with transport operators in the interests of saving lives and enhancing safety for all road users.”
The Australian Logistics Council has written to party leaders in Queensland ahead of the 25 November state election, asking them to outline their policies on key issues such as corridor protection, congestion, the development of critical freight infrastructure and improved road safety through the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).
Letters were sent during the first week of the campaign to the Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, Queensland Premier; Tim Nicholls MP, Leader of the Opposition; Steve Dickson MP, One Nation Leader; and Rob Katter, MP of Katter’s Australian Party.
“Queensland plays a vital role in sustaining Australia’s freight logistics network, and with significant growth expected in the state’s freight task over the next decade, it is crucial that Queensland’s political leaders address our industry’s priorities ahead of the state election,” said Ian Murray AM, Chairman, ALC.
He noted that one of the most urgent priorities is preserving a rail corridor that will permit the construction of an alternative dedicated freight rail connection from the Inland Rail route through to the Port of Brisbane.
“This corridor must be preserved now to minimise construction costs for a future rail connection to the port,” he added. “This is essential to guarding against the impact of urban encroachment on this critical piece of freight infrastructure, and deriving the full economic benefits of this significant national project.”
Infrastructure Australia has calculated that up to $66 million could be saved on construction costs of a future freight rail connection to the Port of Brisbane if appropriate corridor protection strategies are put in place, Murray noted.
“ALC has also called on the next Queensland Parliament to provide certainty to the heavy vehicle industry by acting swiftly to pass the Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 201,” he said.
“This legislation contains a number of significant measures which ALC believes will improve road safety. It should be passed by the Queensland Parliament as a matter of priority following the state election.”
Murray added that Queensland’s political leaders have also been asked to outline their approach on a range of other policy matters, as highlighted by the ALC in its Queensland Freight Priorities document, released in August 2017.
“These include measures to reduce road congestion, and ensuring the regulation of Queensland’s freight transport infrastructure affords our industry the flexibility it needs to operate 24/7,” Murray said. “This will be essential to meeting a freight task that is rapidly growing due to Queensland’s rising population, growing export markets and the expansion of e-commerce.”
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) will exhibit at MEGATRANS2018, the multimodal supply chain trade show taking over the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre 10–12 May, 2018.
The NHVR will use MEGATRANS2018 as a platform to meet the nation’s road freight operators, explained Sal Petroccitto, CEO of NHVR.
“It is extremely important that we, as a regulator, meet face to face with the country’s operators, so we can better understand their issues and their priorities,” he said.
“In bringing together Australia’s freight and logistics industry, MEGATRANS2018 will have global significance, and we are excited to get involved as a representative of the country’s heavy vehicle road transport sector.”
Petroccitto noted that the NHVR continually strives to drive efficiencies for the industry, and it embraces opportunities for communication with the operators its regulations affect.
“In the past, Australia’s road freight sector has been fragmented,” he said.
“This is something the NHVR is working to change by creating, communicating and observing national standards.
“We work for and with industry to make it safer, more productive and more efficient. To do this, we need feedback from the industry, and MEGATRANS2018 will be a crucial part of our communication strategy in 2018.”
Simon Coburn, Show Director for MEGATRANS2018, noted that the inclusion of the NHVR will bolster the wide range of businesses already set to exhibit at the show.
“Having such a prominent organisation come on board with MEGATRANS2018 shows us an event of this scale is needed and necessary to help connect the sectors comprising Australia’s supply chain,” he said.
Designed to provide a single point of contact for all heavy vehicle regulation in Australia, the NHVR manages programs such as National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) and the Performance-Based Standards (PBS) scheme, recognised globally for its contribution to improved efficiency, safety and productivity in Australia’s fleet.
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has welcomed the outcomes of the Transport and Infrastructure Council’s (TIC) meeting in Hobart on 10 November, noting that the talks will help achieve meaningful progress on several policy reform priorities important to the nation’s freight logistics industry.
“Today’s discussions covered a number of policy areas that are crucial to enhancing supply chain efficiency and safety, and ensuring the delivery of an effective National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy,” said Ian Murray AM, Chairman, ALC.
“The discussion around heavy vehicle road reform was most encouraging. ALC welcomed the opportunity to advise the meeting that our ongoing conversations with leading industry participants confirm a high degree of support for a fairer road pricing and investment model, where road users pay according to where and when they travel.”
Murray welcomed the decision to commence work on a Council of Australian Governments Regulation Impact Statement (COAG RIS), to assess implementation options for independent price regulation of heavy vehicle charges.
“We similarly support the decision to freeze heavy vehicle access charges at 2017/18 levels for two years, and acknowledge the Council’s agreement on the latest legislative package to deliver improvements to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL),” he said.
“The meeting’s focus on opportunities to improve freight movement, including national consistency and opportunities for greater investment was heartening.
“In particular, it was pleasing to see the Council specifically acknowledge that measures such as the National Rail Vision and the establishment of single national regulators are essential to improving the performance of our freight networks.”