Opinion

Election policy charter leads agenda

In just three short weeks, Australians will go to the polls for the federal election. Our news feeds are packed with the colour and drama of election campaigning as the parties unveil their policies. The Australian Trucking Association believes that transport policy should be at the heart of the political conversation. 

We are so passionate about the need to reset Australia’s transport policy that we have unveiled our 2022 election policy charter. The charter will be discussed in-depth just before the federal election at the Trucking Australia 2022 conference on May 4-6.

We are calling for a dramatic improvement in road safety, with an aspirational target: a 25 per cent reduction per year in crashes involving trucks, once the measures we propose get started.

These measures are: 

 • the Australian Government funding and operating all major freight roads 

• a 10-year, $5 billion truck roads and rest area program, so truck drivers always have a safe place to stop continued full expensing for trucks and trailers to increase the use of newer and safer trucks

• air crash style investigations of truck crashes where there are lessons to be learned

• a maximum 100km/h speed limit for all road users everywhere in Australia. Trucks are already speed limited at 100km/h.

We know that the transport industry is sick of wading through red tape. Right now, trucking businesses need to lodge 44,000 applications per year to use roads that were built to be used. It’s nonsensical and wastes our time and money.  

If you’re a regular driver in our major and regional freight routes, you’ll know they’re often poorly maintained. 

We need to build a well maintained, truly national highway network. One that is resilient to frequent natural disasters and which incentivises productivity and economic growth by enabling access for high productivity freight vehicles. 

Building better infrastructure is not just about how much funding is going to roads, but we need to do better at prioritisation and ensuring the funding is going to national freight priorities to support our economy. 

The Trucking Australia 2022 conference will discuss key freight priorities for roads, including 

a move away from the senseless paperwork created by hard copy work diaries. 

The ATA has recommended work diaries be abolished, as part of its draft Road Transport Act. 

The draft Act has been created to break the stalemate in the National Transport Commission’s review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) by drafting the Road Transport Act. The act would replace the current HVNL. 

The draft policy has a number of important proposals, including key measures to tackle fatigue management. Under the draft policy, every business operating trucks would need to address driver fatigue in its safety management system (SMS). 

The regulations would set out maximum work hours for non-certified businesses.

Certified businesses could exceed that level with appropriate risk controls.

Businesses would be required to keep records of driver work hours. They would not need to use official work diaries. Minor fatigue/work diary offences would be eliminated.

Long-term fitness for duty would be handled through the licensing system. All heavy vehicle drivers would be required to have regular medicals against fit for purpose medical standards.

You can see our presentation about the draft policy on the ATA website.

The conference will also cover Queensland’s inland freight route, building better rest areas, better maintenance of existing roads, and boosting productivity on national highways. 

The Trucking Australia 2022 conference will focus on the key issues affecting trucking industry and ensure transport policy is high on agenda when the voters head into the polling booth on May 21. 

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