Priority for animal welfare
THE AUSTRALIAN Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has applauded the “common-sense approach” of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator ( NHVR) in developing the new national animal welfare notice.
The updated National Livestock Welfare Work and Rest Exemption
( Notice) 2017 ( No.1) came into force on February 10 across NHVR’s participating states and territories including New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Australian Capital Territory.
The notice offers drivers of heavy vehicles carrying livestock with limited flexibility for the purpose of managing animal welfare requirements in unusual or unforeseen circumstances.
Livestock drivers operating under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme’s ( NHVAS) Standard and Basic Fatigue Management ( BFM) certification will have up to one hour additional driving time to deal with potential animal welfare threats.
The notice can be used on consecutive days but it will not permit increase in total driving time.
Therefore drivers will have to increase the duration of their next long rest break by twice the duration of any additional driving time in the corresponding period.
The drivers are required to specify their driving hours and rest breaks in log books.
Welcoming the new rule, ALRTA national president Kevin Keenan says the new notice replaces “less workable statebased notices in NSW and SA that expired at midnight February 9”.
Keenan says the new notice has been developed following consultation with the national livestock body.
“While the HVNL [ Heavy Vehicle National Law] stipulates work and rest rules for heavy vehicle drivers, the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Land Transport of Livestock concurrently stipulate maximum periods that water may be withheld from live animals as well as other requirements such as unloading livestock promptly after arriving at a destination,” he says.
“Unforeseen circumstances can sometimes prevent a driver from reaching a suitable destination to unload livestock within generally permitted driving hours.
“If a driver is less than one hour from a suitable unloading site, this notice will enable that driver to reach the destination and safely and humanely unload the livestock rather than keeping them in the vehicle during a long rest break.”
The notice refers to animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, poultry, emus, ostrich, alpaca, deer, camel and buffalo.