Saffioti pledges engagement with LRTAWA on industry grievances


Minister gives her word as Fyfe outlines key focus areas at conference

Saffioti pledges engagement with LRTAWA on industry grievances
David Fyfe, the father of Fremantle Dockers' captain Nat, bears a gift to “passionate Dockers supporter” Rita Saffioti

 

The Livestock and Rural Transport Association of WA (LRTAWA) will continue to lobby for state freight network improvements and driver shortage solutions in the coming year, its annual conference has heard.

LRTAWA staged a modified conference in Perth this year to bring together members, politicians, bureaucrats and sponsors while remaining Covid-safe.
 
The event was headlined by WA transport minister Rita Saffioti, who committed to greater engagement with LRTAWA on key issues and recognised and thanked its members for their contribution in supporting the state economy during the pandemic.  

"It highlights the importance of freight and logistics on the path to economic recovery," Saffioti says.

The Minister also undertook to consider adding rural transporters to the Freight and Logistics Council.

LRTAWA president David Fyfe outlines several key issues the association will be focusing on in the coming year, including:

  • equity in network access decisions
  • network continuity
  • freight route design criteria
  • network modernisation
  • enforcement
  • driver shortages.

Fyfe, who was earlier re-elected at the association’s annual general meeting, says a common theme of discussions around the committee table was that "operators should not have to break the law to compete".

"When we pick that apart a bit more there are several essential elements we need to perform safely and efficiently," he says.

"Firstly, network access decisions must be equitable for everyone.

"The determination of what is equitable should be viewed from the operator’s perspective, not the regulator’s.

"We after all are the ones running the business.

"Secondly, RAV access must facilitate connection from pick up to destination such as depots, feedlots, abattoirs, hook-up areas.

"Transporters need the ability to deliver and remove product from farms on a network that doesn’t have breaks in it or does not require trucks to take the long way round to get to the destination.

"Third – we need to adopt some key criteria for freight routes – no roundabouts, no pushbikes, there should be warning lights, residential and commercial buildings should not be allowed to the edge of the route and decisions should be based on the true traffic volume on the network.

"We think it is important that transporters are genuinely consulted in freight route development.

"Our fourth criterion is that the RAV network should be modernised.

"The levels should be condensed to take advantage of new equipment and innovation. Network 3 and 4 should be combined and networks 5 and 6 should be combined.

"We are all make large investments in equipment with the latest safety features and we need to get the benefit of that investment.

"And finally it is important that if access to a network is denied after the regulators have attempted to find a way to provide it, then the network must be policed so that those who break the rules do not gain an advantage over the compliant operators.

"These five key points will be a significant focus for the LRTAWA this year and you will be hearing more from us about them as the year progresses."

Fyfe also pointed to the driver shortage as another concern for operators.

"The LRTAWA is at pains to emphasise that it is skilled drivers we are short of.

"We need to take a different approach to driver training than what has traditionally been the case. The age at which a young person can obtain a licence is too high.

"At the same time, we need to make sure a young person has practical, structured training and on-the-job mentoring.

"Whether this is through a traineeship or some other program is not that relevant.

"What is important however is that we produce professional drivers who know what they are doing, and that a transport company has confidence in when they step into what is a big investment.

"It costs money to train drivers properly.

"A business operator loses productivity whilst training a new person.

"The flip side is that potential drivers need encouragement and financial support to move to the regions."


How LRTAWA responded to a lack of rego fee hike delays, here


Outgoing Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) president Stephen Marley highlights the association’s successful lobbying for a smaller increase in registration charges from an initial suggestion of 11.8 per cent over three years to a smaller increase of 2.5 per cent in two consecutive years.

"That is money that will stay your pocket, in your business and in your communities," Marley says.

Marley also noted the LRTAWA proposal to establish an income smoothing scheme for rural transporters, similar to the Farm Management Deposit Scheme, was receiving good support from the Australian Government and there was hope that it may feature in the October budget.

The LRTAWA’s AGM was held alongside the event, with the following election results:

  • president – David Fyfe
  • vice president – Matt Henderson (Rural)
  • vice president – Nathan Miotti (Livestock)
  • treasurer – Darren Bairstow
  • secretary – Grant Robins
  • immediate past president – Andy Jacob

 

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