Pri­ori­tise safety and our roads

Big Rigs - - BUDGET 2018 -

THE Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment should pri­ori­tise safety and road ac­cess as it rolls out the $24.5 bil­lion in new in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing, Aus­tralian Truck­ing As­so­ci­a­tion chair Ge­off Crouch be­lieves.

He said the gov­ern­ment did not go far enough when it an­nounced busi­nesses that ten­dered for Com­mon­wealth con­tracts of more than $4 mil­lion would be re­quired to show they had a sat­is­fac­tory tax record.

“They should be re­quired to have good safety records and sys­tems as well,” Mr Crouch said.

“Through our Truck­Safe pro­gram, the ATA is work­ing with the Na­tional Road Safety Part­ner­ship Pro­gram, the Mel­bourne Metro Rail Author­ity and oth­ers to de­velop ac­cred­i­ta­tion stan­dards for con­struc­tion truck op­er­a­tors.

“These in­clude side un­der-run pro­tec­tion, alert sys­tems and mir­rors to cover the front, rear and side blind spots of trucks and bet­ter driver train­ing.

“The Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment should man­date these stan­dards for any ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture project that it helps fund.”

Mr Crouch said the gov­ern­ment should make ac­cess for high pro­duc­tiv­ity and oversize/over-mass ve­hi­cles a key con­di­tion of its fund­ing to the states and lo­cal gov­ern­ment, in­clud­ing un­der its new Roads of Strate­gic Im­por­tance ini­tia­tive.

“Truck­ing op­er­a­tors that move oversize/over-mass freight are in cri­sis be­cause of the long de­lays in­volved in get­ting per­mits,” he said.

“It can take more than 80 days to get a per­mit to trans­port OSOM steel prod­ucts on the Transur­ban toll ways in Mel­bourne.

“A com­pany seek­ing to move OSOM mining equip­ment from the Pil­bara to Weipa waited more than 100 days for a per­mit to move the equip­ment by road through Queens­land. In the end, the com­pany trans­ported the equip­ment by road to Dar­win and put it on a barge.

“In to­tal, truck­ing op­er­a­tors spend 4.5 mil­lion days per year wait­ing for ap­provals to move freight.

“The Na­tional Heavy Ve­hi­cle Reg­u­la­tor is re­spon­si­ble for is­su­ing these per­mits in the eastern states and South Aus­tralia but it faces the same prob­lem as our mem­bers.

“It has to wait end­lessly for lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and other road man­agers to sign off on the per­mits.

“They can take as long as they want and there are no ex­ter­nal ap­peals against their de­ci­sions.

“The Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment needs to at­tach con­di­tions on its in­fra­struc­ture fund­ing to re­quire lo­cal coun­cils and the states to get their act to­gether and is­sue per­mits in a timely way.”

NatRoad chief ex­ec­u­tive War­ren Clark echoed those state­ments in a post-bud­get me­dia re­lease.

“Our mem­bers have hor­ror sto­ries, such as be­ing able to get a per­mit for both ends of a road but not the mid­dle,” Mr Clark said.

“The cur­rent sys­tem is bro­ken and we want to see it fixed.”

PER­MIT DE­LAYS: In­dus­try heads are re­it­er­at­ing the call for faster per­mits for heavy loads in the wake of the new bud­get.

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