Livestock transport associations ring the changes

New name and new faces as push to include rural transporters accellerates

By Rob McKay | July 18, 2011

Major moves in personnel and approach are underway at the Australian Livestock Transporters Association (ALTA), including a name change to Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA).

National President David Smith is to leave after two years in the post, to be replaced by vice-president and former Livestock Transporters Association of Victoria (LVTA) president John Beer.

Smith’s departure, which coincides with that of present LVTA President Anthony Boyle, comes as ALTA looks to become the national representative body for all rural transport.

To that end, it was revealed at the ALTA National Conference in Melbourne on Saturday that its council had voted last Thursday to include rural carriers.

Smith pointed out that state branches in New South Wales and Western Australia had included rural carriers for some time and had been joined by Queensland in May and South Australia in June.

Victoria has voted to do the same.

"There’ll be some knockers there but I believe that it will be a positive move for the association down the track," Smith says.

While celebrating the LTVA’s 25th anniversary, Boyle noted in his president’s report many positive developments over the past two years, including the Driver’s Handbook and the close and strong relationship that had been fostered Victoria’s Department of Transport.

However, he took members to task for a tardy response to its farm facilities survey while flagging one for country roads.

Indeed, the ability of representative bodies to have their pleas for action backed up with proof was something of a theme on the day.

"I believe the industry success on the counting time issue was due to our representation being made with fact and foundation and not just sounding like whinging truck drivers," Boyle says.

That point was reinforced by both transport department intergovernmental relations executive director Lachlan McDonald and National Transport Commission Chief Executive Nick Dimopoulos.

Separately, both Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Edward O’Donohue and McDonald told delegates the department was working on and seeking industry input for the Government’s Transport Solutions project, aimed at removing export supply chain bottlenecks.

O’Donohue underlined the importance of the Koo-Wee-Rup bypass to livestock transporters in the state’s east in accessing the Melbourne Livestock Exchange, noting both it and work to the west on the Princes Highway had been a response to industry concerns.

On the issue of higher productivity freight vehicles (HPFVs), O’Donohue echoed his predecessor’s position of "not getting too far ahead of community sentiment", though he acknowledged that the government was "keenly aware" of the productivity dividends and expansion of the HPFV network was "something that the government is considering".

On the Transport Solutions strategy, McDonald says the department has started consultations with transport and other industries on local and international supply chains, describing the LTVA submission as a "critical piece of advice for us" with "a lot of practical, sensible solutions".

"The view around our department is, that is just about the best piece of advice we have received so far in how practical solutions are available that could be considered by government over next few years to improve the efficiency of supply chains," he says.

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