SARTA tack­les ALC and Toll on safety

Australian Transport News - - Contents -

Safety-re­lated state­ments and sub­mis­sions prove too much for Shearer

A NUM­BER of Toll and Aus­tralian Lo­gis­tics Coun­cil (ALC) safety-re­lated state­ments and sub­mis­sions have proven too much for South Aus­tralian Road Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion (SARTA) di­rec­tor Steve Shearer.

The ul­ti­mate spark for the very ac­tive truck­ing ad­vo­cate was the ALC’s pro­nounce­ments to the New South Wales par­lia­men­tary ‘Staysafe” com­mit­tee’s in­quiry on truck tech­nol­ogy, ad­vo­cat­ing com­pul­sory telem­at­ics and ‘oper­a­tor li­cens­ing’.

“The ALC is en­ti­tled to its view but it re­ally is about time that they look out­side the win­dow and re­alise that the ac­tual truck­ing in­dus­try is very dif­fer­ent from the one they pre­fer to imag­ine,” Shearer tells ATN.

“The rea­son for the ALC’s my­opia is quite sim­ple; their mem­ber­ship is not even re­motely rep­re­sen­ta­tive of truck­ing.

“In fact, the ALC has a mere hand­ful of ac­tual truck op­er­a­tors and most of those are re­ally large lo­gis­tics busi­nesses that hap­pen to run some trucks of their own, whilst most of their truck­ing is palmed off un­der un­rea­son­able con­tracts and ques­tion­able op­er­a­tional re­quire­ments which they im­pose on real truck­ing busi­nesses.”

Shearer re­serves his harsh­est words for Toll, ac­cus­ing it of be­ing pi­ous about its own op­er­a­tions while trans­fer­ring the weight of non­com­pli­ance risk onto sub­con­trac­tors.

“One of the great­est im­prove­ments to road safety that could be con­trib­uted di­rectly by the ALC and Toll and other ALC mem­bers, would be the com­pre­hen­sive re­view of their con­trac­tual and op­er­a­tional prac­tices so as to ease the mas­sive fi­nan­cial bur­dens and op­er­a­tional pres­sures that they know­ingly ap­ply to their very nu­mer­ous sub­bies,” Shearer says.

“It is truly en­light­en­ing as to their ac­tual at­ti­tudes to safety and fi­nan­cial vi­a­bil­ity, to read the Toll con­tracts, of which I have seen many, brought to me by des­per­ate op­er­a­tors.”

A clear and long-stand­ing di­vide be­tween small-to-medium op­er­a­tors and the very largest firms plus other ad­vo­cates also ex­ists over oper­a­tor li­cens­ing,

“Oper­a­tor li­cens­ing would add noth­ing to this be­cause it would have ex­actly the same weak­nesses and prac­ti­cal flaws as the [ Heavy Ve­hi­cle Na­tional Law] it­self,” Shearer says.

“The prob­lem is not all the good and re­spon­si­ble op­er­a­tors. It is the rat­bags.

“If the au­thor­i­ties can­not con­trol the rat­bags and their be­hav­iour un­der the HVNL, they also will fail to con­trol it un­der oper­a­tor li­cens­ing.”

Toll and the ALC would not be drawn to re­spond to the com­ments.

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