SARTA tackles ALC and Toll on safety

By: Rob McKay

Shearer asserts self-interest and inconsistency is at play

SARTA tackles ALC and Toll on safety
Steve Shearer


A number of Toll and Australian Logistics Council (ALC) safety-related statements and submissions have proven too much for South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) director Steve Shearer.

The ultimate spark for very active trucking advocate was the ALC’s pronouncements to the New South Wales parliamentary ‘Staysafe" committee’s inquiry on truck technology, advocating compulsory telematics and ‘operator licensing’.

"The ALC is entitled to its view but it really is about time that they look outside the window and realise that the actual trucking industry is very different from the one they prefer to imagine," Shearer tells ATN

"The reason for the ALC’s myopia is quite simple; their membership is not even remotely representative of trucking.

"In fact, the ALC has a mere handful of actual truck operators and most of those are really large logistics businesses that happen to run some trucks of their own, whilst most of their trucking is palmed off under unreasonable contracts and questionable operational requirements which they impose on real trucking businesses."

Shearer reserves his harshest words for Toll, accusing it of being pious about its own operations while transferring the weight of non-compliance risk on subcontractors.

"One of the greatest improvements to road safety that could be contributed directly by the ALC and Toll and other ALC members, would be the comprehensive review of their contractual and operational practices so as to ease the massive financial burdens and operational pressures that they knowingly apply to their very numerous subbies," Shearer says. 

"It is truly enlightening as to their actual attitudes to safety and financial viability, to read the Toll contracts, of which I have seen many, brought to me by desperate operators."

A clear and long-standing divide between small-to-medium operators and the very largest firms plus other advocates also exists over operator licensing,

"Operator licensing would add nothing to this because it would have exactly the same weaknesses and practical flaws as the [Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL)] itself," Shearer says. 

"The problem is not all the good and responsible operators. It is the ratbags.

"If the authorities cannot control the ratbags and their behaviour under the HVNL, they also will fail to control it under operator licensing."

Toll and the ALC would not be drawn to respond to the comments.


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