Wine and grape sector aims for truck code of practice

HVSI funding to spur Registered Industry Code of Practice

Wine and grape sector aims for truck code of practice
Brian Smedley


Wine and grape industry organisations are spruiking their heavy vehicle Code of Practice initiative following a funding announcement.

The project is one of 26 announced as part of the Australian Government’s $5.9 million Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI) Round 5 and aims, to improve road safety and assist the industry in meeting its Chain of Responsibility (COR) obligations under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). 

This includes ensuring that goods are not overloaded, that they are secured properly and that drivers are not encouraged or pressured to speed or drive while fatigued. 

The project, being led by the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) in partnership with Australian Grape and Wine (AGW), will develop a Registered Industry Code of Practice (RICP) for the Australian wine industry and deliver training to supply chain stakeholders across the country.

 "Almost all of the 1,700,000 tonnes of wine-grapes picked in 2019 were transported to wineries by heavy vehicles using public roads," SAWIA chief executive Brian Smedley says. 

"At a large winery in the Riverland wine region in South Australia, there can be up to 10,000 truck deliveries over an eight-week period.

"These figures show clearly the vital relationship that heavy vehicles have with the wine industry." 

The initiative will involve visits and briefings to 23 wine regions across all of the wine producing states of Australia. 

"This project is a great opportunity for the Australian wine industry to collaborate to develop measures that can be adopted nationally to ensure the safe transportation of grapes, by-products and finished wine on public roads, so that we comply with the Chain of Responsibility laws," AGW chief executive Tony Battaglene says. 

Read about the NHVR’s concern for grape and wine logistics, here

The organisations well understand that the cost of non-compliance can be very high and result in prosecutions and penalties, reputational damage, lost hours and higher insurance premiums. 

So, the code aims to provide practical guidance and measures to assist wineries, grape growers, contract harvest operators and transport operators in relation to Chain of Responsibility. 

"SAWIA and AGW will drive commitment and buy-in by putting the industry at the centre of the development of the Code of Practice," Battaglene says.

SAWIA says it has been encouraged by National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) wanting to engage with the wine industry in relation to COR issues and the industry pursuing the development of a code.

In October 2019, SAWIA, in cooperation with Wine Grape Council of South Australia and the NHVR, held a round-table discussion to discuss areas of non-compliance during the 2019 vintage. It was noted that there were more than 30 grape spills in Barossa and Riverland that NHVR was made aware of. 

More than 50 stakeholders, including wine producers, grape growers and transporters, participated in this discussion, demonstrating the interest and commitment by the wine industry in engaging with these issues and working together to find practical solutions. Code development for the wine industry was strongly supported by participants. 

The project is anticipated to run for two years. 

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