ATA calls for ministers to settle truck law reforms

Tuesday, 11 June, 2024

ATA calls for ministers to settle truck law reforms

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has called for Australia’s transport ministers to forge ahead with reforms to national truck laws. Ministers agreed to the reforms in September 2022.

The reforms would increase the trucking industry’s productivity and simplify the complex fatigue rules applying to truck drivers. Mark Parry, Chair of the Australian Trucking Association, said the ministers must agree to press on with the reforms to what is known as the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

“The reforms were put together by former NSW Roads and Maritime Services CEO Ken Kanofski. He consulted widely with governments and industry representatives and reached a compromise that had broad support. The ATA and our members had put forward our own, more ambitious, proposal. We agreed to the Kanofski reforms to save the reform process and get results,” Parry said.

According to Parry, the reforms would increase the productivity of the trucking industry, thereby increasing wages without inflation and continuing the path towards lower emissions intensity. Parry added that the reforms could increase the productivity of trucks with heavy cargoes by up to 5% — the trucks could be a metre longer and 30 cm higher, so operators would not need as many special permits.

“The truck driver fatigue rules are a maze of random requirements that drivers must meet perfectly. The reforms would simplify their work diaries, make enforcement fairer and reduce penalties to reasonable levels. Ministers agreed to all these reforms. They said so in writing. But now we understand that their departments can’t agree on the details. Some states are even denying that their ministers reached an agreement at all, despite their joint public statement to the contrary,” Parry said.

Parry urged the transport ministers to stick to their original plan and agree to press on with their plans. He also called for the ministers to agree on a structured process for continuing the law reform process in manageable chunks, as well as a process for agreeing to minor or technical changes.

“The industry was prepared to compromise to get a result; we expect ministers and their departments to do the same. The industry’s productivity, safety, sustainability and ability to attract staff depends on ministers getting this right,” Parry said.

The Heavy Vehicle National Law applies across Australia except in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The ATA aims to provide a voice for its members on trucking issues of national importance. Through its 10 member associations, the ATA represents 60,000 businesses and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry.

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