The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has slammed the Australian Logistics Council’s (ALC) proposed National Operating Standard, labelling it absurd and misleading.
Back in November 2020, the ALC called on governments to consider developing a new national operator standard for heavy vehicle operators as part of a review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).
Part of the proposed National Operating Standard would allow for vehicle movements and driving hours to be recorded.
When the proposal was released, ALC CEO Kirk Coningham spoke of how this sort of operator standard could go towards enhancing productivity. “As the Productivity Commission said in its recent report on national transport regulatory reform, governments should prioritise uses of data with the greatest potential to improve productivity in the transport sector in ways that can inform the provision and management of road infrastructure, inform decisions around permits and road access for heavy vehicles and assist in the development and implementation of the Heavy Vehicle Road Reform Agenda, with the information possible forming part of the proposed federal Freight Data Hub.”
But the ATA was quick to hit back, labelling the proposed standard a “$3.6 billion tax on freight and jobs”.
“From our consultations with operators, we know that the hardware costs are around $12,000 – not including optional safety systems,” said ATA CEO Andrew McKellar.
McKellar slammed the ALC’s proposed standard, which it said 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 said.
“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,” he said.
“Trucking operators live in the real world, not the fantasy land the ALC seems to inhabit,” he said.
McKellar has called the ALC’s proposed standard 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 said.
“This assessment found that a national operator licensing system would cost $3.6 billion over ten years if it were rolled out nationally as the ALC is proposing, or $3.2 billion over ten 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,” McKellar added.