Qld keen, but Victoria baulks at fatigue transition plans

By: Jason Whittaker


Queensland is moving to adopt a six-month transition to fatigue management but Victoria remains firm on enforcing regulations from September

Queensland is moving to adopt a six-month transition to fatigue management but Victoria remains firm on enforcing regulations from September 29.

During the Australian Livestock Transporters Association’s (ALTA) annual conference, Queensland bureaucrats indicated strong support for NSW Roads and Traffic Authority’s (RTA) proposal for a nationwide transition.

Queensland Transport’s Judy Oswin, who is responsible for heavy vehicle enforcement strategies, says the Government is "looking at transitional arrangements to ensure there is adequate time" for trucking operators to comply with their obligations.

Queensland and Victorian bureaucrats are meeting with the RTA to reach a consensus on how best to move to the new laws.

But Victoria is unlikely to come on board because of the wording of its fatigue management legislation, according to sources close to the negotiations process.

So tightly written is the legislation that the Government will need to send it back through the parliament to have it amended, which may mean the laws may not be ready by September, the source goes on to say.

The Government had already been forced to seek amendments earlier this year because it passed fatigue laws before the Australian Transport Council (ATC) made changes to the model legislation.

According to an RTA enforcement officer who spoke to ATN, "Queensland is seriously looking at a transition but Victoria is being very firm" on implementing fatigue laws on September 29.

As a result, Victorian operators can expect no penalty-free period which being advocated by the RTA. Under the RTA proposal operators who comply with existing driving hours will be deemed compliant for a six-month period after the introduction of the new regulations.

The transition proposal is being flagged as a way of addressing concerns government, operators and other stakeholders will not be ready by September 29 to meet their obligations under fatigue management.

the RTA’s Philip Halton declined to comment on whether Victoria is reluctant to come on board, only saying there is a lot of discussion and a lot of proposals being thrown around.

ATN last week contacted the National Transport Commission (NTC), which is responsible for holding meetings between the relevant road agencies to reach an agreement. However, a spokesman says no progress has been made.

A spokesman for Victorian Minister for Roads and Ports Tim Pallas could not be reached.

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