Byrne takes states to task on uniformity

Linfox CEO voices concern at potential state dilution of national regulations

Byrne takes states to task on uniformity
Byrne taks states to task on uniformity
By Rob McKay | September 19, 2013

One of the nation’s leading transport and logistics executives has voiced concern at potential state dilution of national regulations.

As a senior executive of a national carrier, Michael Byrne says he is not a fan of ‘states rights’ as far as national road freight laws are concerned.

And the Linfox CEO gave a ringing endorsement of uniformity of rules, regulations and enforcement across the country.

"Any time a jurisdiction keeps changing the law or making different laws for different segments or geographies or sectors of industries, it can only add cost," Byrne says.

"It’s more bureaucracy.

"It means there has to be more paperwork, has to be more compliance."

His views come as New South Wales moves on adjustments to beef up fatigue requirements in its Heavy Vehicle (Adoption of National Law) Amendment Bill, while Western Australia has stuck to its own system of longer driving hours.

Byrne points out that Linfox has 300-400 linehaul drivers leaving different state every day who need the promised uniformity to do their jobs efficiently.

"We’ve said this election that we’re open for business, we’re going to be more business focused," he says.

"Well, the last thing we want is more idiosyncratic individual laws and jurisdictional issues per state."

Meanwhile, despite reports of the mining and resources sector going off the boil, Linfox is in the midst of huge growth in staff, vehicles and facilities locally and in Southeast Asia, much of it centred on Western Australia.

The company added 3,000 more people last financial year to total just over 21,000, of which 1,400 were in Australia and most of them were WA based.

It opened a huge facility at Hazelmere in Perth to look after hard rock mining support for BHP and Fortescue and has bought 20 ha in Bullsbrook for mining and energy support services, on which it expects to erect a $100 million facility.

Elsewhere, it is developing a 9 ha intermodal terminal with Asciano on the rail head at Kewdale in Perth, mainly for its retail and fast moving consumer goods customers but with some mining support as well.

And Sydney is home to a new pharmaceuticals facility and a new sweet foods facility.

All up, it has a construction pipeline worth more than $150 million underway, not including Bullsbrook.

Though Linfox’s preference in linehaul is for Swedish trucks, its link with BHP will also see it form a fleet of Macks in support of its operations in far north Queensland.

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