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ATA to focus on operator survival in 2011

ATA says it will lead the fight to secure fair charges and national laws and focus on keeping operators viable

March 31, 2011

Australian Trucking Association boss David Simon says the industry needs to “fight harder” on truck charges after the National Transport Commission proposed a 2.4 percent increase to fuel and registration fees.

During his speech at the ATA’s annual general meeting yesterday, Simon told the group the immediate issue for the industry is high registration charges, particularly on B-double lead trailers.

The NTC has done its calculations and come up with its answer. The answer is wrong but that’s what regulators are implementing. We have to fight harder on that,” Simon says.

Simon, who runs Queensland-based company Simon National Carriers, says the trucking industry has created a real viability issue for itself because freight rates are at the same level in real terms as in the 1980s.

He says the meeting also discussed how operators are having trouble recovering higher costs from customers because of recent tough conditions faced by industry.

Simon says the ATA will work to secure national heavy vehicle laws, which are due to take effect in 2013.

“We have the opportunity to get the national laws we have been demanding for 20 years, but it’s not done and dusted,” he says.

“At some levels of the regulatory authorities there is a reluctance to agree to national laws, and we have to push for the right outcome.”

Simon says the ATA needs to increase the industry’s knowledge of the importance of fitness for duty, including the impact of sleep disorders.

“There are a significant number of people affected by sleep disorders. In my own company, I have seven or eight drivers receiving treatment for sleep disorders who are much better for it,” he says.

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