SA livestock operators gain fatigue concession

SA livestock operators granted permission to drive extra two hours under standard and BFM regulations in emergencies

By Brad Gardner

South Australia will grant a two-hour emergency provision for livestock operators under fatigue management laws, allowing them to work beyond stipulated hours.

Livestock carriers will be able work up to 14 hours under standard hours and 16 hours under basic fatigue management (BFM) for up to three years, at which time the exemption may be scrapped.

However, the provision will work similar to the outer limits measure under advanced fatigue management (AFM). Drivers will need to start work later the next day or take longer rest breaks to make up for any extra time worked.

Furthermore, drivers who use the measure must provide a reason for doing so and also record it in their work diaries.

The Australian Livestock Transporters Association (ALTA) argues the emergency provision is necessary because the industry is dealing with live animals, which are unpredictable.

"The main thrust of the provision is to get your livestock off the truck for reasons beyond the driver’s control," ALTA Vice President David Smith says.

Smith raised the issue with Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Patrick Conlon last week to convince the minister to agree to the exemption, which has been running since 2002.

During the meeting, Smith says Conlon "guaranteed" the industry will have direct input as the Government determines whether to scrap the provision or make it permanent.

"We have got up to three years to continue with it and look at adopting it into the legislation," Smith says.

A spokesman for Conlon says the three-year transition will start from when fatigue management legislation is introduced.

However, South Australia’s decision to grant the exemption means it has created another regulatory inconsistency in the new regulations as NSW has no plan to introduce the exemption.

"I’m not aware of that provision in South Australia and we are not looking at in NSW at the moment," Program Manager of Heavy Vehicle Regulation Alice Ma says.

Minister for Roads and Ports Tim Pallas has ruled out any transition to the fatigue laws in Victoria but ALTA’s Victorian branch is pushing the Brumby Government to follow South Australia’s lead.

ATN contacted Queensland Transport but it is yet to receive a response.

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