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SA goes to town in compliance strategy shift

Longhaul sector almost all good but metropolitan industry in need of attention


The South Australian government is working to lift Heavy Vehicle National Law roadworthy compliance rates to at least 94 per cent in metropolitan areas.

According to figures buried in last week’s Budget papers, compliance of heavy vehicles randomly directed into weigh stations was 94 per cent and that will remain the target for the next 12 months.

However, the rate for “heavy vehicles inspected at targeted roadside inspections for compliance with the requirements of the Heavy Vehicle National Law” was 67 per cent.

According to the SA Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI), targeted inspections take place in “areas of known non-compliance”.

“DPTI would like to aim for the same rate of compliance in roadworthy issues as for other issues,” a department spokesperson tells ATN.

“We are tackling this two ways, greater on road enforcement in the metro area specifically focused on roadworthy and the introduction of a heavy vehicle inspection scheme.

“DPTI is working with industry and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to develop the framework to inspect high risk vehicles.

“A pilot of the scheme is proposed for late this year.”

The move marks a change of DPTI focus from the long-distance sector to a local industry that had begun to take liberties, according to the South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA).

SARTA is on a working group along with looking at options and, along with Livestock & Rural Transporters Association SA (LRTSA) and have been involved extensive discussions with the department, SARTA executive director Steve Shearer tells ATN. 

“Minister Mullighan has very actively lead this, in response to the appalling fatalities on the SE Freeway descent into Adelaide in August 2014 and noting our advice to him re the need to tighten the CoR laws in relation to roadworthiness and to tighten up on the cheats who unfairly compete with lawful safe roadworthy operators but cutting costs on maintenance,” Shearer says. 

“One huge benefit, subject to the finals details, will be the outsourcing of heavy vehicle inspections.

“This will dramatically increase the service available to operators and expand its geographic availability, instead of essentially requiring trucks to come to Adelaide.” 

Of concern has been the resistance of police departments nationally to the use of third-party audited and licensed inspection services, such as at CMV South Central Trucks or Wakefield Trucks or any of the other major suppliers’ facilities, to clear defects, he adds. 

“The massive problem is the obstinate and pointless refusal of the jurisdictions to cooperate and share information and in particular for State A to advise State B that thy have just cleared defect 1234 from truck rego XYZ,” Shearer says.

“This is unacceptable as the operator knows the defect has been cleared but when they go to reregister the rig in their home state, they are told there is an outstanding defect – even when it was cleared nine months ago! 

“This is bureaucratic claptrap. It’s a turf war between officials and we are the innocent meat in the sandwich. It costs the industry hugely and it must be fixed.”

Meanwhile, the South Australian Budget was pretty much ‘steady as she goes’ for freight in the state.

The $55 million Gawler Collector Link, to be completed in June 2018, will kick off with $3.57 spent in the coming budget year but that appears to be about the only significant new road infrastructure spending

However, there are a slew of previously announced freight-related measures underway, spending on which will continue.

“Road and rail infrastructure not only creates local jobs it strengthens the productive arteries of our economy,” state treasurer Tom Koutsantonis says.

These include North-South Corridor construction will continue, along with improving critical road infrastructure, freight access road projects, and strategic route reviews for Victor Harbor Road, Main South Road and Port Augusta to Port Wakefield Road.

These are to be completed in the next three years.

The government expects to award a major works contract this year for a new rail underpass at Torrens Junction as part of the Goodwood and Torrens rail junctions upgrade that includes grade separation of the freight and passenger lines at Torrens Junction. 

The roads and marine section of the DPTI will see its Budget spend fall from $ 1.210 billion to an estimated $1.175 billion.

The department gained $1 million from increased wharfage charges as a result of an increase in fleet size and cargo volume in 2015-16.

Counted as a highlight over the past year was the Heavy Vehicle Drivers Handbook for distribution to industry including all licence holders upgrading to a heavy vehicle and produced and published online video material on safely descending the South Eastern Freeway.

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