Good first step but more needs to be done

Governments told to build on recent decision to harmonise fatigue management laws by reforming a host of other cross-border inconsistencies

November 11, 2011

Governments must build on the recent decision to harmonise fatigue management laws by reforming a host of other cross-border inconsistencies, the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) says.

The ALC has welcomed the move by Victoria and South Australia to adopt the same time counting system used in NSW and Queensland, saying it will reduce industry confusion and prevent drivers from being hit with work hour breaches.

The change took effect in Victoria on November 8, with South Australia implementing the new time counting rule yesterday.

"The challenge remains however to achieve this same level of national consistency across a raft of other issues, including vehicle standards, mass and loading and compliance and enforcement, including chain of responsibility," ALC Chief Executive Michael Kilgariff says.

He says the group, whose membership includes corporate giants Woolworths, Coles, Toll, Linfox and Qantas Freight, will continue to push governments to eliminate regulatory inconsistencies as part of the ongoing work into the creation of national heavy vehicle regulations.

The Bill to create the scheme will be introduced into Queensland’s parliament this year, with an amendment package to follow in 2012 to address any unresolved issues before national regulations begin in 2013.

"A national approach to the way in which hours are counted is an important part of the transport regulatory reform agenda and I am pleased both states have taken the necessary steps to see this reform come into fruition," Kilgariff says.

Transport ministers agreed in June this year to amend the time counting rules after drivers working under the Queensland and NSW system were exposed to breaches when crossing into Victoria or South Australia.

All enforcement officers now count time from the end of a major rest break to make sure drivers have complied with their fatigue management obligations.

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