Fuel station owners seek tanker talks with Gay

ACAPMA fears knee-jerk response to Cootes tragedy will lead to disruption of fuel distribution system

Fuel station owners seek tanker talks with Gay
Fuel station owners seek tanker talks with Gay
October 25, 2013

The Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association (ACAPMA) has raised concerns about possible further
New South Wales Government responses to the Cootes tanker tragedy.

ACAPMA CEO Nic Moulis made the group’s worries plain in a letter to Roads and Ports Minister Duncan Gay relating to his comments to State Parliament on the need for an investigation into "the feasibility of implementing the Intelligent Access Program...on trucks that carry dangerous goods".

Given present strong oversight of fuel tanker operations, ACAPMA believes that any mandatory compliance move before the findings of the Mona Vale Road crash inquiry would be premature.

It wants official findings on both the accident and the evidence collected in the subsequent vehicle inspections to guide a "comprehensive and informed response".

"Already the fuel industry is under greater scrutiny than other, arguably less specialised freight transporters," Moulis writes.

"Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) inspections both annually and on the road, are supplemented by six monthly industry specific checks on the safety and compliance of our heavy combinations and continual WorkCover Dangerous Goods registration and checks.

"There may well be solutions already in the marketplace that will help reduce the likelihood of this type of accident occurring again; however, any solution must be based on the investigation findings and deliver action in the form of preventative outcomes, not deliver backward-looking data.

"Any viable solution must be equitable for all participants involved in the fuel transport task."

Stating that the fuel industry "conducts itself in a responsible and safe manner", he seeks to put the accident into perspective.

"Figures from the Australian Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics indicate that 11.66 billion litres of Petrol, Diesel and LPG was moved around NSW in 2011-12," Moulis writes.

"On average this requires over 290,000 truck movements each year.

"While this accident was indeed tragic it was only one in close to 800 trips in NSW that were conducted on that day."

In seeking talks with the Minister, ACAPMA says it has spent many years working with the insurance industry as well as WorkCover, Environmental Protection authorities, Safe Load Program and Transport and Logistic Skills Council in an effort to build reliable and effective risk management solutions.

"What we have discovered is that there is no single remedy to heavy vehicle risk management," Moulis says.

"Our assessment, through continuous development, indicates that vigilance combined with education and process development narrows the dangerous gap between subjective assessment and qualified objective analysis."

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