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LRTAV-ALRTA national conference highlights

Livestock and rural transport issues in focus during the two-day event


The Livestock and Rural Transporters Association Victoria (LRTAV) held its annual conference in association with the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) at Torquay last weekend.

The two-day conference included guest speeches and presentations by industry representatives and government bodies.

The first day saw presentations by roads and road safety minister Luke Donnellan, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell, former independent senator John Madigan, among others.

Both Carnell and Madigan expressed their disapproval of the RSRT regime and its functioning.

Day One also saw the official launch of the LRTAV driver app (to be available for purchase in eight weeks) and the Young Driver Award, which was presented by transport and infrastructure minister Darren Chester during the 80s’ themed gala dinner.

The event also saw LRTAV president John Beer receive a life membership of the ALRTA.

The second day kicked off with presentations by a panel comprising ALRTA executive director Mathew Munro, Australian Trucking Association (ATA) chair Noelene Watson, and National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) CEO Sal Petroccito.

The panel discussed plans to address fairness and safety following the demise of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).

VicRoads regulatory services director Eric Henderson presented overview of various heavy vehicle-focused initiatives and update on recent transport safety measures.

Munro and ALRTA president Kevin Keenan launched the association’s new logo and highlighted its priorities for the next 12 months, which include issues related to chain of responsibility, fatigue management, vehicle signage, braking guidelines and more.

The recent changes to the NSW General Carriers Contract Determination (GCCD), its implications and the role of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) in this subject saw many mentions during the length of the conference, with many operators expressing their concerns that GCCD had the potential to invoke RSRT-like effects within the industry.

Victorian freight network improvement

Donnellen said improving the efficiency of Victoria’s livestock and rural freight network was high on government’s agenda, with focus on high productivity freight vehicle movement and passage issues on regional roads.

“Victoria has seen $4.9 billion infrastructure investment every year that has been ramped up by the next four years to $7.4 billion – a massive increase.

“We’re investing in the road network because the Victorian economy is so dependent on road freight and this reliance we expect will only deepen.

“Livestock is an example of an industry highly reliant on road network that covers not just the make up the arterial but also local roads that make up the first link between the farm gates and the market.”

Donnellan said that is one of the reasons the government is investing in the bridge strengthening program that encompasses highway networks and local roads.

“The aim of the program is to improve road freight efficiency and lower costs to regional exporters; in particular, many of these upgrades are designed to accommodate livestock B-doubles,” he says.

The Victorian government has plans to upgrade 10 bridges on Monash Freeway, 10 on Hume Highway, four on Western Highway and seven on Golden Valley Highway.

Donnellan said the government is also making efforts to improve the road train network to accommodate A-doubles operating at 36 metres.

Victoria has increased its resurfacing budget to help upgrade many rural and regional roads, with a few projects due to start in October, the minister said.

While answering a question regarding the poor road conditions in the south-west region particularly close to Portland, Donnellan said the government had been working on plans to tackle these issues, with an announcement due “soon”.

There were suggestions to organise open forums and discussions with all relevant stakeholders including the government, VicRoads, industry bodies and transport operators to negotiate key investment issues.

Young Driver Award

Robert Hodge from Hodge Transport won this year’s LRTAV Young Driver Award, which included a prize valued at $4,000.

Ian Vanderland from Ralf Meyer Transport was the runner-up, and Dale Grealy from Shanahan’s Livestock Transport was the second runner-up, each receiving prizes valued at $1,000.

LRTAV says the award aims to recognise young drivers, aged 25-35, who demonstrate best-practise approach to driving and safety. 

This year’s awards were sponsored by Griffiths Goodall Insurance Brokers.

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