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ARTSA and NBTA debrief on Brisbane Truck Show meeting

The Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association (ARTSA) and the National Bulk Tanker Association (NBTA) have debriefed on their Brisbane Truck Show meeting, which covered a range of industry talking points from Performance-Based Standards and the Intelligent Access Program (IAP) to Dangerous Goods (DG) regulations and compliance.

The meeting was held 16 May at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and drew a crowd of 100 attendees.

Dr Peter Hart of ARTSA facilitated a discussion between National Heavy Vehicle Regulator CEO, Sal Petroccitto, NBTA Chairman, Justin Keast and ARTSA Chair, Martin Toomey, on big issues and where the industry can help the Regulator.

The panel agreed PBS is productive, better and safer, and that it is a 'must deliver' outcome for industry and the community. They felt there is a future opportunity for PBS to move more towards prescription. One immediate issue to be tackled is to ensure that PBS vehicles can continue to be used beyond the initial PBS approved application.

The audience asked the panel: how to further capitalise on one in five new vehicles that are PBS vehicles? Also, how can industry simplify access and descriptions of type classes and what these combinations can do?

The panel agreed that there is a need to improve access and provide a minimum level of guaranteed access. There are limitations, and the National Heavy Vehicle Law (NHVL) review will need to address this issue.

On the subject of moving into a prescriptive domain, the panel explained that it is a Ministerial area and could possibly be progressed through the NHVL review.

The 9,000 PBS vehicles risk becoming an 'orphan child' in that they have been approved for specific use, yet they are safer and more productive and are deserving of a life after their initial PBS use is finished. It is an appropriate topic for the NHVL discussion. It is also a challenge to Industry Associations: beat the drum to make it work better and knock down some barriers. Education and information is the key rather than confrontation.

The NHVR elaborated on its plans for the next 12 months to deliver a harmonised national approach, with offices in Tasmania, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory opening soon and Victoria at the end of 2019. This, according to Petroccitto, will offer the opportunity for a more consistent regulatory approach.

The NHVR will work with New South Wales for October 2020 and then Queensland later to achieve their transition as well.

Petroccitto agreed that NHVL review offers many opportunities for improvement. There is an opportunity to simplify the law with consistent powers rather than the current set of laws which are very complex.

The NHVR is running 'PBS performance day’ demonstrations focused on local government agencies and road managers. Local government owns significant parts of the network and has valid concerns regarding access control and these days are very effective in educating these key stakeholders.

The panel commented on the IAP and suggested there is an opportunity to adopt different thinking as to mass and permission for access.

On road safety, industry is said to want more flexibility in driving hours, yet the current framework does not support it. There is contention that flexible fatigue could improve safety.

Regarding front axle mass, 6.5-tonnes is considered to no longer be relevant, but 7.2-tonnes would arguably give industry what it wants including safety features. For this to occur, there needs to be a fact-driven argument around the extra 700kg.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto released the joint report authored by NHVR and ARTSA Data on the uptake of PBS vehicles. This report showed that PBS now has a market share of around 20% of eligible heavy vehicles.  This is a huge measure of support for this scheme and the safety and productivity benefits it delivers. A copy of the report can be downloaded from http://www.artsa.com.au/assets/library/2019/pbs_report_2019_v6_singles.pdf

Paul Corkhill and Tim Renowden also introduced the Transport Certification Australia (TCA) data and tabled the joint report between TCA and ARTSA Data into PBS vehicles in the IAP scheme.  It also detailed many useful facts on vehicle utilisation, preferred routes and more. A copy of this report can be downloaded from http://www.artsa.com.au/assets/library/2019/artsa_tca_pbs_freight_analysis_may_2019.pdf

Tania Wilson delivered a presentation on NTC issues, specifically the NHVL review. She explained that the NTC is conducting a review of the 2014 law, and it is “a beast with 800 sections and five sets of regulations,” with many inconsistencies, which is onerous to comply with let alone administer.

She said the first principles review is: knock out the complexity and make it tech friendly.

Wilson said the key priorities of the review include fatigue management, flexibility; better access, suitable routes; accreditation for safer ops; and using data for managing compliance. Industry was encouraged to get involved and offer comment.  More details are at https://hvnlreview.ntc.gov.au/have-your-say

Grant Stillman from AJ Gallagher discussed emergency response and incident data with an overview of EPA NSW concerns regarding response capability. He said 20 years ago Oil Agents Mutual Provident Society (OAMPS) surveys showed that 70 per cent of industry had no proper response capability. Today this has significantly improved with a highly professional approach offered by a number of service providers, including ISS who monitor the majority of DG calls in Australia.

Stillman added that emergency response training was set up via the Transport Industry Skills Centre (TISC) and with the material provided by the Canberra & Regions Oil Industry Emergency Response Group (CROIERG) and with assistance from NBTA.

"This training has been fundamental in convincing the authorities that the industry has good training in place," he said. "This is a good framework that allows the industry to bring together a collaborative approach to improving response capability."

Adam Gibson of National Transport Insurance (NTI) runs the major accident investigation report. "To date, NTI has been an analyst but its future will take a more active role in encouraging changed behaviour," he said. "Fatigue related incidents remain the largest risk."

Gibson added that truck fires are also a major claims issue and repeat issues need to be identified and addressed.  He reported that 12 per cent of claims were fire related with around 75 per cent being wheel-end fires exacerbated by mudguards.

According to Gibson the industry is "on trend to zero fatalities in 2032 – of course, this is a perfect outcome but the trend is positive," he said. "Over a thousand lives have been saved through improved safety performance."

He noted the bulk tanker sector can struggle with public confidence following major incidents, according to Gibson.

"We need to make sure that the performance is both measured and improved, and there is scope to better manage the relationship with safety agencies," he said.

Jason Stables reported on the review of tanker standard AS2809 and confirmed parts one, two and three of AS2809 are due for publication this year.

He said some electrical items need resolution and will release by end of the year. "It then needs to be picked up by legislation which will be around March 2020."

Stables said that exhaust shielding will be changed to align with Euro standards.  Hatch sizes will change to allow better entry, and the review of the bitumen and cryogenics parts of the Standard will start later this year.

The NBTA’s Bulk Tanker Day on 5 September will also feature a walk around demonstration of the differences in the new standards. Details are at https://www.nbta.com.au/events/bulktankerday2019
 
Martin Toomey, Chair of ARTSA reiterated the change within ARTSA to focus on  forward-looking issues. The Association now has four divisions: Member Services; ARTSA Data; ARTSA Institute; and ARTSA Life Members.

Hart explained that the NHVR has supported ARTSA in developing a brake calculator. It has a tyre lock up module as well as certification and modifications modules. It also has various models from semi to multiple combinations and will be completed during 2019.

Greg Rowe, Executive Director of ARTSA, outlined the Fires Conference to be held 18 August in Sydney, which is being organised by ARTSA. More details are at http://www.artsa.com.au/conferences

In closing both Martin Toomey and Justin Keast emphasised the great benefit that these kinds of gatherings offer in bringing parties together and having full and frank discussions.

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