No riff-raff required
The exotic, isolated locations for transport associations’ annual general meetings appear to be a ploy to prohibit the attendance of grassroots operators, writes Ken Wilkie
MASQUERADE: a pretence or false appearance. The act is a noun, the doing is a verb.
‘So what the bloody hell is he on about now?’ you might ask. For some time I have been asking for two things to be addressed in the interests of the greater road transport industry. Those two items can be undertaken simultaneously.
The two things are: truth in breach reporting and independent research into heavy vehicle accidents to determine the true cause of accidents.
News media in south-east Queensland is again slandering members of this industry, claiming heavy vehicles in the right lane are a safety issue. And three demerit points. The cop I saw interviewed stated that he was more than happy to relieve errant truck drivers of several hundred dollars and three demerits.
So many people on the periphery of this industry claim to be working for a better industry. In truth, I believe most are masquerading behind their concerns. Most are on a moneyorientated ego trip.
Take the association pleading concern for the grassroots operators’ welfare. The 2017 annual general meeting is slated to happen in a somewhat remote tourist location. Now I appreciate that the location has suffered severely during a recent weather event and will welcome the business. However, it seems to have completely slipped the minds of these association people that attendance by the very basic of grassroot operators to any function requires that that operator shut down his or her business for the duration of the function, plus the return travel time and travel cost.
One also has to factor in the possible attitude of one’s customers. Road transport is a service operation. We do not drive about for selfgratification. Rather the sole purpose of our travel is to transport a product from one point to another point for the customer’s economic wellbeing.
A competitor may not care too much for rubbing shoulders with the hoity-toity, or care for the industry’s wellbeing, and perhaps has people employed to do the work while the rich employer is enjoying himself. That operator is able to walk away with the absent grassroot operator’s work. My thoughts on the less-than easily-accessed meeting point? “That’ll get rid of the riff-raff.”
Will the concerned association push for truth in breach reporting? No. Fix the problem and the source of revenue disappears. Will bureaucracy push to have proper studies into heavy vehicle accidents? No. Again, fix the problem; the revenue source will disappear. They are just masquerading as being concerned.
A couple of articles in Owner//
Driver’s June issue caught my attention. ‘Trucking’s black dog – truck drivers face a combination of workplace factors that place them at risk of developing a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety’. The article discusses factors that include long hours in isolation, irregular work and rest; and control over the pace of work.
Again, we have a commentator not totally aware of the reallife situation. The stated issues are absolutely relevant. But BeyondBlue’s Nick Arvamotos failed to note my biggest depressive – the unrelenting and irresponsible persecution of truck drivers by the enforcement arm of society.
The regulations being enforced have not been promulgated from the result of detailed study. Instead, the regulations have come about as the result of assumptions – most probably flawed. They have come about thanks to dishonest reporting of breaches of these probably flawed assumptions. Every breach out of the lie book is advertised as a fatigue breach, so the ignorant outside of industry read that as truck drivers driving impaired by fatigue.
There are a bloody sight more outside the industry than in. We become overwhelmed by numbers – again based on a lie that those masquerading as caring for the industry don’t have a determination to address.
Some over-dimensional loading is legal depending on which industry owns the oversize unit, but illegal for other industries. We have sweetheart registration deals that give some operators a distinct competitive advantage. All of this complexity is being sold as efficiency. It’s a case of gullible people wanting to impress bureaucracy with their broad-mindedness.
There’s no doubt the heavy vehicle lobby group will be impressed with one operator’s ingenuity and are probably jealous they never thought of it themselves.
It’s definitely volumetric loaded – three pieces of equipment on a single trailer but not mass sensitive. Very length conscious as the prime mover was a cab-over. The middle piece of equipment straddled the break in the trailer stretched out. Very neat and another transport job gone west and/or cheaper transport for a valued customer.
Just keep the complexity coming and advertise the breaches in the strongest possible language. That will keep the bureaucracy being fed – sort of self-generating, really.
Bureaucracy is constantly moving the goal posts in the name of efficiency. But we do need to have an open mind – but the complexity and the bribing of bureaucracy with fees for the new pushing of the boundaries. The people with the extended trailer are liable for a fine simply because they did not
“We do not drive about for selfgratification.”
fork out dollars to bureaucracy Commonwealth of Australia Gazette, National Livestock Welfare Work and Rest Exemption Notice 2017:
“1. Purpose: to exempt drivers of fatigue regulated heavy vehicles carrying livestock from specific work time requirements if additional time is needed to respond to situations where the welfare of the livestock is or was at risk. 6. Definitions (2) In this notice – Livestock means animals of a class of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, poultry, emus, ostrich, alpaca, deer, camel or buffalo.”
Pretty comprehensive, hey? A livestock welfare incident means a reasonably unforeseeable event or set of circumstances arising in the course of a journey that adversely impacts on the welfare of livestock carried as part of the vehicle load. Interestingly no homo sapiens listed for welfare consideration; that’s because the first lot don’t have access to credit cards or cheque books. The best the National Transport Commission can offer truck drivers – note truck drivers are outside the parameters considered for welfare – is eight minutes.
Apply for a job with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and it’s all touchy feely – be nice to workmates and the like. That attitude has not worked its way past the office door yet. They talk like it has but that’s just political speak.
We’re big into chain of responsibility now, telling business people not how to be decent people but rather how to make sure one does not get lumbered with a big penalty for getting caught not doing the right thing.
It’s something like the guest speaker last year in Cairns. Set up your business in such a way that it can go broke, leaving the proprietor with his or her assets, was the message.
Who gives a stuff about those who are not paid for services rendered in the meantime.