Joyce cool on action over ageing truck fleet

By: Rob McKay

Federal government points to BITRE report on unintended consequences

Joyce cool on action over ageing truck fleet
Barnaby Joyce’s office says reducing average age is supported but not through incentives


National truck fleet modernisation, while desirable, will be driven by industry demand and natural attrition, the federal government indicates.

The Truck Industry Council (TIC) recently reiterated its call for incentives to raise the rate of old-truck replacement, not least as a safety measure.

The call came as the New South Wales-focused truck safety debate was in full swing and just before that state’s police-driven Operation Rolling Thunder got underway.

"The Government supports reducing the average age of the trucking fleet, as a younger fleet can improve safety and environmental outcomes," a spokesperson for the minister tells ATN.

"Previous research by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics shows that financial incentives are far more likely to benefit larger fleet operators, which already turn over their fleets more often.

"The same research also found little evidence this approach would lead to older vehicles being taken out of service.

"Improving heavy vehicle safety requires a multi-pronged approach, with measures such as Chain of Responsibility improvements to the national law, infrastructure investment, and targeted funding toward specific initiatives, far more likely to improve safety.

"The Government is improving new heavy vehicle safety through the introduction of safety technologies such as electronic stability control and anti-lock braking systems, through the Australian Design Rules.

"We are also providing more than $15 million for a range of heavy vehicle safety initiatives." 

The TIC noted in its 2015 Fleet Report that the average of the national truck fleet in 2014 was 13.84 years, while those of certain other developed countries was much less: France 6.4 years; North America 6.7 years; UK 7.8 years;  Canada and Japan 9.2 years.

This year, it notes the average age in Australia last year was 14.9 years and set to rise further.


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