Logbook changes ignore inspection delays, ATA argues

By: Jason Whittaker

Transport operators may be slugged with financial penalties if the National Transport Commission (NTC) does not amend its draft work

Transport operators may be slugged with financial penalties if the National Transport Commission (NTC) does not amend its draft work diary rules, the industry argues.

Australian Trucking Association (ATA) National Manager for Policy Dave Coonan says the NTC has attempted to do away with the current work diary rule which requires enforcement officers to record how long a driver is detained for if pulled over.

The NTC is proposing enforcement officers should only record the time taken for them to check a driver’s log book, effectively ruling out the total time a driver is detained for.

"You might have waited 45 minutes before they speak to you but they will only write down five minutes," Coonan says.

According to Coonan, the ATA was originally assured by the NTC its draft amendments would not include changes to current policy.

"The NTC said it was a minor, inconsequential package of amendments; in actual fact it has got different policy in there," he says.

"But when you get into it they are trying to wind down some of the important things like that notification."

If the NTC proposal is passed, a contractor will not understand why an operator may be late because all that will be shown in the log book will be five minutes, whereas the actual delay may be much longer.

"You have got no ability to point to a client and say the reason we are late is that there was an interception process and we were held up," Coonan says.

Such an outcome stands to have adverse impact on transport operators, according to Coonan. He says operators who deliver goods late due to being held up by enforcement officers may suffer a financial penalty because their log books will not provide contractors with an accurate reason as to why they were late.

Coonan says penalties may range from docking of pay to delays in unloading time due to an operator missing their scheduled time slots.

ATA Chief Executive Stuart St Clair says the ATA supports enforcement operations so long as the correct time is recorded.

"There needs to be recognition recorded in the diary, or the workbook, that says you were pulled over and held up for this period of time," he says.

The ATA in its pre-budget submission has raised its opposition to the NTC’s proposal.

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