Conference

VTA calls for introduction of Victorian Freight Authority

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.”

Victorian Roads Minister to address 2018 VTA State Conference

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has announced that Luke Donnellan, Victorian Minister for Roads, Ports and Road Safety, will address its State Conference.
The VTA has invited around 40 high-profile speakers from the Victorian and national freight and logistics industry, including Sal Petroccitto, CEO, NHVR; Duncan Elliott, CEO, North East Link Authority; Chris Koniditsiotis, CEO, Transport Certification Australia; and David Hodgett, Shadow Roads and Ports Minister, to share insight on critical industry issues.
“Our members are in business to facilitate the efficient movement of goods through the supply chain, but to do this it is essential for them to be profitable and successful,” Peter Anderson, CEO, VTA.
“As an association we make no apology for helping members to succeed, which is why the conference is being developed with sustained profitability and success – and how to achieve it – as a core theme.”
The event, themed Profit or Perish: Achieving Sustained Success in Transport, will take place in Lorne, 18–20 March.
Anderson said the association was thrilled that Minister Donnellan had accepted the invitation to address the gathering of members and other industry participants.
“Minister Donnellan is a great friend and supporter of the VTA and his attendance at our conference reflects the immense contribution of Victorian transport operators to the state and national economy,” he said.
“With more than $40 billion earmarked for Victorian infrastructure spending over the next five years, roads, transport and related issues will loom large in this current election year.”

Road carriers should pass on stevedore fee hikes: VTA

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has issued advice to its members on dealing with the fee hikes introduced in recent months by Australia’s major stevedores.
“These increased charges have been introduced with the carrier not being able to negotiate and there is obliged to pass them on directly to the customer,” VTA CEO Peter Anderson said in the message.
The VTA recommended informing customers how the additional charge will be invoiced and forwarding any formal correspondence from stevedores to further explain the fee.
“Given that both direct and indirect terminal access costs are increasing and significantly different across the three terminals, it is important that the carrier industry is able to accurately quantify and incorporate these costs into their charges,” Anderson added.
Predicting further fee hikes in the future, Anderson announced that the VTA will establish a terminal access cost model for wharf-based operations– for release in early 2018, and will make recommendations to assist the container industry in better communicating with customers “in an effort to recompense many cost increases out of the carriers’ control.”

VTA calls for safety rethink on Port of Melbourne access

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has labelled plans to develop an on-road cycling path on Lorimer Street in a future Fishermans Bend precinct “irresponsible recipe for disaster.”
A draft of the Fishermans Bend Framework released late last month by Planning Minister Richard Wynne and Member for Albert Park Martin Foley contains recommendations for cycling and other infrastructure to support the 80,000 people and jobs the Victorian Government hopes to attract to the new precinct.
The draft contains a map of existing and proposed cycling infrastructure, including a north-south strategic cycling corridor connecting to a new Lorimer Street on-road cycling path between the Bolte and West Gate Bridge.
“Lorimer Street is a gazetted freight route for heavy vehicles and is intensively used by trucks of up to 70 tonnes travelling between Webb Dock and road and rail freight infrastructure closer to town,” said Peter Anderson, CEO, Victorian Transport Association.
“It is also home to numerous concrete suppliers that are visited by hundreds of trucks every day that deliver to building sites throughout Melbourne.”
He added that while the VTA fully supports infrastructure that encourages commuters onto bikes and away from cars, the only gazetted freight route servicing the south side of the Port of Melbourne is “the last place we should be putting a shared path.”
“It’s an irresponsible recipe for disaster to encourage cycling on a road so intensively used by heavy vehicles, and is the precise opposite of what we recommended in early consultations,” he added. “For planners to have included an on-road cycling path on Lorimer Street in the draft framework defies logic.”
The VTA has previously advised the government in its precinct planning to encourage cycling and pedestrian traffic to Williamstown Road, and to actively separate heavy vehicles from cyclists where possible, as is happening in Melbourne’s west.
“Regardless of who is at fault, the cyclist will always be worse off in a collision with a truck, so why on earth would you encourage their close interaction on a shared roadway?” Anderson said. “Elsewhere in Melbourne, we are actively separating bicycles from trucks on freight routes so it stands to reason we should be doing this in Fishermans Bend precinct planning.”
Anderson welcomed objectives in the draft to safeguard port access by preserving a direct road and rail corridor between Webb, Swanson and Appleton Docks and the Dynon Road freight terminal.

VTA welcomes investment in key freight route upgrades

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has welcomed a series of road infrastructure spending announcements from the Victorian Government that will improve roads on key freight routes in the state’s southwest.
Roads minister Luke Donnellan confirmed reconstruction works would soon begin on Stage Two of the Portland Ring Road and roads in the Green Trial, and a deteriorated section of the Princes Highway at Heywood would be rebuilt.
This followed a recent announcement that roads surrounding the Henty Employment Precinct would be upgraded to accommodate high-productivity freight vehicles.
The Victorian Government’s $17 million investment on the three improvements is expected to create vastly improved productivity outcomes for the transport industry, as well as stimulate the local economy.
“Roads in the state’s southwest have been neglected for too long, so we welcome the Victorian Government’s commitment to make these important upgrades, which will improve productivity for freight operators working in the area,” said Peter Anderson, CEO, VTA.
“The VTA has lobbied for some time now for many infrastructure improvements and it’s encouraging that Minister Donnellan has listened and acted on the concerns of the industry,” he added.
“Regional Victoria makes an important contribution to the state and national economy, and investing in better and more efficient road networks will ultimately pay dividends throughout the economy and the supply chain.”
The Portland area represents an important growth opportunity for the southwest due to its deep-water port servicing the Green Triangle.
“We are fortunate to have a deep-water port half way between Adelaide and Melbourne and the infrastructure improvements announced by the government will certainly make that port more appealing and accessible for transport operators,” said Anderson.

Grain Harvest Management Scheme boon for VIC freight operators

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has welcomed the establishment of the state’s first Grain Harvest Management Scheme, which is expected to provide a productivity and safety boon for farmers and grain transport workers.
The scheme will allow heavy vehicles to increase their load by five per cent during the grain harvest season from 1 October to 30 April 2018, when delivering grain to receivers who are also participating in the scheme.
Peter Anderson, CEO, VTA, said the extra five per cent tolerance during the grain harvest season would give operators flexibility to be able to safely transport more grain.
“As an industry group, we welcome the scheme and the positive outcomes it will inevitably create for operator safety and productivity,” said Anderson.
“Provisions made for bigger loads mean fewer trips for operators, which will improve their profit and safety margins.”
VicRoads Director of Heavy Vehicle Services Eric Henderson said that the focus of the scheme was twofold – supporting farmers to be more productive during the grain harvest and boosting heavy-vehicle safety.
“This is the busiest time of year for farmers and this scheme will ensure they spend less time on the road and can get back to business sooner. Time savings also increase the focus on safe driving,” said Henderson.
To participate in the scheme, vehicles must comply with the uniform national standards for vehicles built after 1 January, 2002. Vehicles must also not exceed their manufacturer ratings.
VicRoads will evaluate the Grain Harvest Management Scheme after the first year.

VTA announces 2017 AFIA winners

The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has announced the winners of the 2017 Australian Freight Industry Awards (AFIA), accolades that have recognised excellence in the freight and logistics industry for 28 years.
The ‘Personality of the Year’ Award was presented to Dr Hermione Parsons, Director fo the Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics at Deakin University, Rocke Brothers’ Matt Simmons took home the ‘Young Achiever of the Year’ and the ‘Waste & Recycling’ accolade went to FBT Transwest.
There were two winners for the ‘Application of Technology’ Award: Redstar Transport and Victoria International Container Terminal.
Metropolitan Express Transport Services was awarded for ‘Best Practice Safety’ and DP World Australia accepted the ‘Investment in People’ Award.
VTA CEO, Peter Anderson, announced the winners,  and VTA President, Cameron Dunn, and the Treasurer of Victoria, Tim Pallas, presented the awards.
“We once again had a very enthusiastic response to these awards from the industry, as evidenced by the dozens of applications judges assessed in determining the winners,” said Anderson. “Congratulations to all the winners and finalists on their tremendous achievements, and for working to continually improve the standards of our industry which helps to make it safer and more productive.”
Addressing his first AFIA presentation as President of the VTA, Dunn said that it has been a challenging year for freight operators, and that the VTA has been working hard to obtain meaningful outcomes for members. “As an industry association, we exist to service the needs of our members, and of course advocate for the best interests of the industry,” he said. “The VTA is pursuing many endeavours to improve and enhance economic, regulatory and other conditions for operators, and I would like to congratulate the VTA secretariat for their achievements, in what has been a challenging year.
“As operators, we are well-aware of the pressures we face from rising costs and smaller margins. The VTA has been strongly advocating for conditions that help to ease these pressures, and give operators every chance of success.
“On behalf of the Executive Council of the VTA, congratulations to all the winners, and thanks to every organisation that submitted a nomination.”
(L–R: VTA CEO Peter Anderson, Treasurer of Victoria Tim Pallas, Dr Hermione Parsons and VTA President Cameron Dunn)

ATO determination concerns for owner-drivers

The Victorian Transport Association (ATA), the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organisation (ARTIO) and the Transport Workers Union TWU) are among industry groups concerned about a recent Australian Taxation Office (ATO) determination that will reduce the amount drivers can claim for travel on their tax returns.
ATO Determination TD 2017/19, issued on 3 July, has reduced the ‘reasonable amount’ that an owner-driver may claim for travel expenses without substantiation by $42.10, which translates to a 43 per cent reduction.
Peter Anderson, CEO, VTA, in his capacity as Secretary and Treasurer of the ARTIO, has written to the ATO to express concern about the lack of consultation with industry about the determination, along with the impact such a significant reduction will have on the individual drivers and their income.
“We are amazed the ATO has made such a far-reaching determination that will leave drivers and their families so significantly out-of-pocket without bothering to inform the industry,” Anderson said.
“Equally concerning are flow-on effects the determination will have on Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBAs) that had already factored in the previous rate. We have highlighted to the ATO that employers, who have had EBAs specifying amounts payable in these circumstances approved by the Fair Work Commission, could now be in breach of legal obligations because of the change.
“Regrettably, the impact of the ATO changing its view on what is a ‘reasonable amount’ for a driver to claim for a meal will be on their health and wellbeing because there is less money for them to spend on healthier foods, which usually cost more.”
The ARTIO has requested an urgent meeting with the ATO to discuss the determination, which it feels requires immediate review and amendment.

Past winner Kalari encourages industry to submit entries for AFIAs

With just under a month until entries to the 2017 Australian Freight Industry Awards (AFIA) close, the winner of last year’s Best Practice Safety category has called for the industry to get behind the event by submitting an entry.
Kalari, one of Australia’s most innovative and prominent specialist bulk logistics providers, won the much-sought-after Best Practice Safety AFIA in 2016, with Managing Director Peter O’Shannessey saying the award was recognition of the company’s efforts to enshrine safety within its culture.
“It was very clear to me that everyone in the organisation owned and were proud of the award,” O’Shannessey said. “The shared success was a very positive contribution to our team culture and Zero Harm goal.
“Our customers understand and appreciate that an Australian Freight Industry Award is not easily achieved. The award served as objective evidence of Kalari’s commitment to continuous improvement and relentless pursuit of best practice in safety.”
Kalari’s award followed a concerted effort to provide a safe and incident-free workplace, which included eliminating hazards and recognising fatigue as an important area of focus.
The company held face-to-face safety days with employees around the country over 12 months leading up to the award win, with a fatigue consultant attending each session to equip teams with tools to carry out personal fatigue risk assessments, and to recognise and manage fatigue of colleagues.
Kalari had also installed Guardian proactive technology across its fleet to help tackle driver fatigue and distraction using driver-facing sensors.
VTA CEO Peter Anderson said Kalari set a terrific example for other operators to follow.
“Safety is the most important thing for any operator to get right, and it’s important that the many safety success stories happening right throughout the industry are acknowledged, which is where the AFIAs make a real difference,” he said.
“We invite all members of our industry to share their success stories by nominating for an AFIA. It is more important than ever for us as an industry to create awareness in the general community of the many positive contributions we make.”
Entries for the 2017 AFIAs are now open across six categories, closing 14 August. For an entry form, please contact the VTA on 03 9646 8500 or reception@vta.com.au
The winners and finalists will be announced at a presentation celebration in Melbourne on 2 September.

VTA makes recommendations for West Gate Tunnel

In its response to the West Gate Tunnel Environmental Effects Statement (EES), the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has made recommendations designed to make the proposed road more efficient and productive for operators.
“Our strategic assessment of the merits of the Environmental Effects Statement of the West Gate Tunnel Project, has determined the project will deliver a high level of benefit in providing an alternative to the West Gate Bridge and supporting the productivity and performance of the M1 corridor,” said Peter Anderson, CEO, VTA.
“While the project will assist in improving transport connections with the city and the western and inner western suburbs, the need for the Port of Melbourne (PoM) to grow and prosper is vital to the overall prosperity of Victoria, and this project must deliver on Melbourne’s future growth opportunities.”
Specifically, the VTA has recommended that plans to meter heavy-vehicle entry ramps be abandoned on safety grounds, and to keep truck traffic moving seamlessly.
“Heavy vehicles, regularly weighing between 55 and 65 tonne gross mass, have great difficulty in entering the freeway at freeway speeds from a standing start,” Anderson added. “The VTA maintains it will be safer and more efficient, and would not impede the flow of traffic onto the freeway, if the heavy-vehicle lane is not metered.”
The VTA submission also recommended an additional lane be added to the eastbound entry ramp from Millers Road to allow for safer entry to the freeway.
In relation to user charges, the VTA has strongly recommended tolls reflect the net impact upon the infrastructure in a fair and equitable way.
“The tolling regime should acknowledge the multiple user and shuttle service providers to the PoM at an agreed threshold of daily movement,” said Anderson. “The transport operator should be eligible for a discount on the current tolling rates that would encourage full usage of the system.”
The VTA also made recommendations regarding construction congestion and ensuring that the Port of Melbourne will not be negatively impacted during construction, noting that McKenzie Road is a vital link and the construction process must not lead to vehicle disruption and road closures.
Other recommendations were for design changes at various locations to enable better movement of freight and less congestion.

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