Peak industry bodies offer federal election advice


ATA and ALC set out views on poll priorities for parties

Peak industry bodies offer federal election advice
The poll has been called

 

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) and the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) have called for road safety and supply chain efficiency to be front of parties’ minds as the May 18 election date is announced.

Australia’s political leaders to use the election campaign to pledge strong action on road safety, according to the ATA.

ATA chair Geoff Crouch says his organisation welcomed the federal Budget’s $2.2 billion for roads and road safety, including the establishment of a new federal office of road safety and funding for new and better rest areas. 

"We want to reach our target of zero fatalities or serious injuries on the roads," Crouch says.

"It’s an ambitious goal that we can, and must, achieve. We are making progress, but more needs to be done.   

"To reach this target we need to better understand why accidents occur.

"That’s why we want to see the role of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau [ATSB] extended to provide independent, no blame safety investigations for road crashes involving heavy vehicles."

The ATA is focused on mandating safety technologies for new trucks, fixing the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) and fixing truck accreditation.

"The next government must act faster to mandate advanced safety technologies for new trucks, such as electronic braking, which stops rollovers," Crouch says.

"This must become mandatory for new rigid trucks as well as semi-trailers, and autonomous emergency braking must be brought in for new trucks as soon as possible.

"The next federal government must lead the states in the Heavy Vehicle National Law system to deliver  more flexibility on work and rest hours, as well as fixing road access so we can increase our industry’s productivity.

"The ATA has long argued that the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme breaches the competitive neutrality policy agreed by the Australian and state governments.

"Operators accredited by this government business receive regulatory benefits that operators in comparable private schemes - including the ATA’s TruckSafe scheme – do not get."

He notes the ATA is united in its response to the Labor Party’s plan to impose enforceable payments and related conditions, if elected.

"With our member organisations, we have had constructive discussions with the Labor Party about how this could be done, if it is elected.

"Everyone should be paid sustainably and promptly, although the original tribunal tried to fix prices between businesses. It was doomed to failure," Mr Crouch said.

"The ATA and its members particularly support practical measures that would assist owner-drivers and small fleet operators, such as mandatory 30-day payment terms."

Crouch says the next government should focus its work on road charging on electric vehicles, not trucks.

"At present, the government is looking at ways of imposing direct charges on trucking operators, instead of the registration and fuel charges we pay now.

"The priority needs to be introducing direct charging for electric vehicles, even if the charge is set at a low level to encourage their uptake.

"Otherwise, the take up of electric vehicles by Australians will blow a huge hole in government revenue."

The election announcement coincided with the inaugural meeting of ALC’s Northern Australia Working Group, which took place in Darwin this morning.

"It is fitting that the election announcement has come on the same day that ALC’s newly-formed Northern Australia Working Group meets for the first time, because so much activity in this region underpins Australia’s economic performance," ALC CEO Kirk Coningham says.

"Our working group brings together freight logistics companies, infrastructure owners, local and state government representatives and other key industry organisations to advocate more effectively for investment in Northern Australia’s freight infrastructure, and work with policy makers to get regulatory settings right.

"ALC has formed this working group because we recognise that Australia’s ability to take full advantage of free trade agreements recently signed with rapidly growing Asian markets rests on our ability to get our export products to market, efficiently and safely.

"It is vital to make certain that northern Australia has the road, rail, port and air freight infrastructure necessary to get products demanded by our trading partners to their destination as quickly as possible.

"This is particularly important when it comes to agricultural goods and other consumables, where freshness is highly prized by overseas customers.

"Enhanced supply chain performance in Northern Australia is important for the entire nation, because freight does not stop at state borders. A key focus for the next Parliament must be to ensure greater national consistency in our approach to the movement of freight."

"In the coming days, ALC will be releasing a comprehensive statement of the freight logistics industry’s policy priorities for next Parliament."

 

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