Concerns raised over industry Master Code

By: Rob McKay

Safety and Compliance Summit attendees hope new Master Industry Code of Practice will be more than a box-ticking exercise

Concerns raised over industry Master Code
Sharon Middleton


How the theory of a registered code of industry practice can be made to have an effect in the real world was at the centre of early discussion at the Australian Logistics Council - Australian Trucking Association safety and compliance summit in Melbourne.

Concern was also expressed at the likelihood of duplication as well as "box-ticking" the code, also known as the master code, might engender.

The Transport Workers' Union raised its concerns about the Master Code in August. Click here to read our story

South Australian Road Transport Association president and Whiteline Transport director Sharon Middleton and small rural trucking operator John Beer both point to a disconnect between initiatives pushed at the most senior levels and what happens at the interface between transport and customers.

Middleton identifies the unreal expectations customers have of the value of the trip plans they demand of operators, given how a task may be allocated to other parties.

Beer expressed a hope for the master code’s success but had significant doubts give its lack of sanction related to facilities.

"Who is the off-road policeman?" he asked.

John West Logistics managing director John West states the master code is being designed to be of use to small and medium operators as much as larger ones but insists all must play an active part in making it an effective document.

West observes that present chain of responsibility (COR) reforms and the master code were making themselves felt beyond transport.

"I’ve never had so much response from the customer base," he says, with that side asking "how do we do this".

"It’s a great document."

Panelists from firms such as Origin, Coates Hire and CSR speak of awareness among senior managers and at board level in firms that take the risks seriously.

They speak of board members appearing at facilities unannounced and safety committee members holding meetings on ship floors.

Ron Finemore of Ron Finemore Transport says he is "heartened" to hear that as it shows COR "is being taken seriously", though it has "taken a bloody long time".

That said, he earlier made plain the transport industry still has huge issues bringing up safety issues with customers.

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