More heat enters National Operating Standard debate

ATA sees ALC claims as ‘absurd and misleading’ and doubts costing

More heat enters National Operating Standard debate
Andrew McKellar


Australian Logistics Council (ALC) campaigning for a ‘National Operating Standard’ (NOS) for trucking companies has given new Australian Trucking Association (ATA) CEO Andrew McKellar an early opportunity to sink his teeth into something meaty.

The ALC has gone to the NOS well twice in the past week, with a view to putting the issue firmly on the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) reform agenda.

But the ATA has long regarded the idea as anathema, describing its most recent manifestation as "nothing more than an anti-competitive tax on hardworking small and family businesses".

In recommendations to the Heavy Vehicle National Law review, amongst other things, the ALC has called for a National Operating Standard that would subject trucking operators to mandatory electronic recording of driving hours and the location of every heavy vehicle.  

"From our consultations with operators, we know that the hardware costs are around $12,000 – not including optional safety systems," McKellar says. 

McKellar slams the ALC’s proposed standard, which it says could be installed for as little as $2,500. 

"The proposal is unclear as to how it could be applied, and the estimated costings are completely absurd and misleading," McKellar says. 

"The ALC’s estimated $30 monthly service fee is also a massive underestimate. In reality, this figure is closer to $360 per truck as many systems have separate SIM cards, all requiring a plan and their own monthly charges. 

"Trucking operators live in the real world, not the fantasy land the ALC seems to inhabit."

McKellar insists NOS is just operator licensing under a new name.  

"Together with NatRoad, the ATA commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to assess the costs of implementing a national operator licensing system," McKellar says.  

"This assessment found that a national operator licensing system would cost $3.6 billion over 10 years if it were rolled out nationally as the ALC is proposing, or $3.2 billion over 10 years if it were applied to the existing HVNL states.

"These independent and reputable costings show that operator licensing is not in the best interests of Australia’s trucking operators. Governments should reject the ALC proposal."

Read about the ALC prosecuting the NOS argument, here

The ALC sees an NOS incorporating a mandatory a safety management system (SMS) in any trucking company.

Last Wednesday, it reiterates that a reformed NHVL would:

  • Encourage and embrace the use of technology for safety and access purposes
  • Ensure operators have suitable safety management systems in place and the capital necessary to ensure the safe operation of heavy vehicles.

"An important element of the standard would be a requirement for operators to maintain a safety management system (SMS), meeting standards made by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR)," it states.

"Safety management systems are a well-known tool designed to manage workplace safety and are used in many industries with significant safety risks, including the aviation, petroleum, chemical, railway and electricity sectors."

Yesterday, it asserts cost is no barrier for inclusion of an NOS.

It says its members advise that each truck unit would cost around $2,500 for hardware plus around $30 a month service fee and that a compliant unit can be obtained that provides:

  • Compliance with National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) mass, maintenance and fatigue modules
  • Electronic work diaries and electronic fit-for-duty declarations
  • Integration with on board weighing systems
  • Electronic braking systems, transport/freight management systems, distraction monitoring services and cameras
  • Applications to calculate Fuel Tax credits, location and speed monitoring, trailer tracking and driver navigation services
  • Assistance in fuel management and the production of engine information.


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