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ATA brickbat for NSW RMS

Prominent operator Kelvin Baxter says NSW roadside authorities can be nit-pickers when it comes to minor mechanical defects


As well as praise, NSW RMS came in for criticism on maintenance issues at the recent TMC.

An example given is having to take a truck off a trip to repair a cracked windscreen.

The annual Technical and Maintenance Conference is organised by the Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association (ARTSA) and the Australian Trucking Association.

Kel Baxter is a bulk agribusiness trucking operator from Berrigan in southern NSW, and is also chair of the ATA’s Industry Technical Council.

“NSW is not very forgiving,” Baxter told the TMC.

“At some sites I think they just keep you there until they find something and I don’t think it’s a productive use of anyone’s time for some of the things they come up with.

“I think it’s one of the great things the NHVR has got the opportunity to do is to bring some consistency into these (maintenance) standards and I might say the (national) inspection manual has some work to go yet.

“I think the NSW approach has to be moderated in an industry that I think has made great headway in maintenance standards, and in some cases it’s necessary, but I think RMS is still of the opinion that we haven’t achieved anything.”

Baxter gave an example of difficulty operating under RMS (Roads and Maritime Services) in NSW.

“A truck might be away in our case 10 days to a fortnight and you get two and three days to fix a windscreen and just minor defects.

“I’ve got a lot of time for the system that used to be the formal warning system. I look forward to the day that might be reintroduced.”

It sounds like Baxter’s wish might come true on formal warnings – also known as “self-clearing defects” – judging by what the national regulator’s Tony Martin said the next day.

Martin said the NHVR wants to make defect clearance “seamless” and “consistent”, and that part of the Heavy Vehicle National Law amendment package before the Queensland Parliament is the national implementation of a self-clearing defect notice for minor issues.

Check out the full feature in the December issue of ATNSubscribe here.




Photography: Steve Skinner

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