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Roadblock to Chain of Responsibility Laws on Roadworthiness ?

14/05/2015

In early 2015 submissions to the National Transport Commission (NTC) largely illustrated the transport industry’s backing for the introduction of a uniform national heavy vehicle roadworthiness system. The NTC called for submissions to their Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) to aid in the development and assessment of a number of regulatory options and their potential impacts on a national roadworthiness system.

Following this the NTC  has recently issued an options paper as part of the ongoing review of the chain of responsibility provisions in the new Heavy Vehicle National Laws.

While there seemed to be widespread support for the introduction of Chain of Responsibility laws into a national roadworthiness system it appears there is major disagreement between some States on what this uniform roadworthiness should look like. It has been reported that the three states of New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia have strong differences in opinion on the matter. In terms of their current modus operandi states differ substantially on their roadworthiness practises. For example New South Wales perform an inspection on every truck every year (though not a full roadworthiness inspection) while currently Victoria undertakes almost no inspections to speak of.

Minister Mullighan speaking on ABC radio has confirmed that South Australia is still committed to the introduction of a Chain of Responsibility laws into a national roadworthiness regime. He indicated that South Australia and New South Wales enjoy similar commitment and that both states “wholeheartedly support introducing more stringent requirements on their heavy vehicle industry.”

On being questioned on who is delaying the introduction of the system the Minister mentioned some vested interests in some parts of the industry that don’t want to see its introduction as they view it as further red tape resulting in additional costs to their business.

Those against the introduction of Chain of Responsibility laws into a national roadworthiness system have negatively pointed to the focus on maintenance and brought up that poor maintenance is only responsible for 1-5% of heavy vehicle crashes. They believe a more predominant effort should be exercised in fixing driver-related issues, cargo problems and the absence of cruise control which they argue are more pressing safety matters. 

Safework SA National Freight Transport Project

13/05/2015

In February 2015, SafeWork SA completed the state component of a national project involving the freight transport sector.

The focus of this project was to address injuries resulting from falls from a height, and falls at the same level. There was also a focus on addressing injuries from hazardous manual tasks.

In 2010-12, 36% of injuries in the sector were attributed to muscular stress, 30% for falls, and 12% for vehicle accidents. These types of injuries are common for transport workers across Australia.

Randomly selected transport businesses were contacted to be part of the project and provided with a self-assessment checklist to fill out prior to a scheduled visit by a member of the SafeWork SA Workplace Support Team.

SafeWork SA staff visited a total of 14 medium and 25 small businesses from late November 2014 to the end of January 2015.  

Based on the results from the 39 businesses who participated in the project, the following trends emerged:

70% had no WHS representative on site (N.B. workplaces only need a HSR if requested by workers)

88% familiar with legislative duties

90% effectively undertake corrective actions as WHS issues reported

Documentation of toolbox meetings ad hoc or not documentedEmployers consulted well with workers, mostly via toolbox meetings
Almost 20% had no review process in place when managing hazards

62% effectively manage hazards and risks

Businesses largely provided adequate training and supervision of workers

 

85% effectively reported hazards and injuries

Larger PCBUs* had documentation in place for WHS, with access to professional consultation

*PCBU = Person Conducting Business Undertaking

You can access a variety of resources that can help you to improve your OHS&W environment through the SafeWork SA Website HERE

First Emission Reduction Fund Auction - One Transport Company Sucessful

12/05/2015

The Clean Energy Regulator has awarded 107 Carbon Abatement Contracts to the value of $660 million following the first Emissions Reduction Fund auction. The auction was held on Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 April 2015, with an average price of per tonne abatement of $13.95.

The successful contractors have committed to deliver over 47 million tonnes of abatement.

'The auction results show the Emissions Reduction Fund has made a good start," said Chloe Munro, Chair of the Clean Energy Regulator.

It appears that only one company was sucessful using the new 'Land and Sea Transport Methodology' - Automotive Holdings Group Ltd, which has pledged to abate 157,503 tonnes of Co2 over 7 years (or approximately 22,500 tonnes per year). Although the induvidual contract price is confidential, if AHG contracted at the average price it would stand to make approximately $2.2m for sale of ACCUs over the period of the contract.

Looking at the auction by sector, it is clear that the established methods have scooped up the vast bulk of the contracts availiable - Sequestration will contract for 28 million tonnes and the Landfill and waste sector for 18 million tonnes; compared to the transport sector's 0.15 million tonnes.

Lets hopes to see more transport companies participate in, and be sucessful in future emissions reduction auctions.

TLISC Launch 2015 E-Scan

11/05/2015

The Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council has released their annual Environmental Scan. The E-Scan provides a detailed breakdown of information for the road, rail, air and sea industry on key workforce facts, trends and issues.

The current workforce of 820,000 is projected to see growth through all modes from now untill 2018. Logistics is the biggest grower with an estimated job growth of 5.7%. This is followed by Road Transport at 5.6%, 4.7% for Ports and Maritime, 2.4% for Aviation and 2.2% for Rail.

TLISC understand that technology and the growth in online shopping is to be the primary driver of employment growth in the coming years, and that there is a need now for a better-skilled workforce, one that can adopt to changing technology, operate smarter and more efficiently in order to meet future customer demands.

Not only is a rapidly expanding industry creating job opportunities, computerisation and automation have changed the nature of work, requiring specialised and higher-level computer skills, problem-solving and analytic skills, and more sophisticated contract management practises. TLISC argue (and SAFC wholeheartedly agrees) that a qualified workforce is needed to adapt to these challenges.

Despite being the sector with the lowest estimated growth rate the increase in freight carried by rail has led to several occupational shortages, in particular train drivers. The Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council has stated that significant investment is required over the next 2 to 3 years to attract, retain and upskill train drivers. Retention of skilled drivers can be a challenge during periods of growing demand, and without sufficient numbers rail organisations will continue to find themselves with staff shortages as they lose skilled staff to other companies and industries.

Furthermore TLISC found that 80% of employers who responded to the 2015 survey indicated positive views on all aspects of training, and also with productivity improvements following training. SAFC has long promoted the benefits of training to the transport and logistics sector, and released a recent document outlining case studies and the benefits of training to the industry. This document can be found here .

The report also estimates that the transport and logistics industry accounts for nearly 9% of national GDP, with the industry contributing $131.6 billion to the Australian economy. However this does represent an $11 billion drop from last year’s estimates.

The 2015 TLISC E-Scan can be downloaded here.

SA's WorkReady Subsidised Training List Survey 2015

08/05/2015

The SA State Government has scrapped the Skills for All programs and is to replace it with their WorkReady program from the 1st of July. Since 2012 the Skills for All program saw the percentage of South Australian’s with non-school qualifications rise from 58.6% to 62.3% through over 100,000 subsidised or free training places but was criticised for its failure to concentrate on job outcomes.

The aim of the WorkReady program is to better support direct connections between training and jobs at the local level and connect people to the training and support best suited to them. This, the Department argues, will result in a greater assessment of potential students before they start their training.

To prepare for the new WorkReady program the State Development department called for interested parties to contribute to their WorkReady Subsidised Training List Survey 2015. In consultation with SAFC membership and in particular our Skills and Careers Management Team, SAFC submitted to the Survey.

What is particularly of note is the Department’s designation of Logistics and Stevedoring Certificates as of “Low Public Value”. This is particularly surprising given the Transport and Logistics Industry constitutes 8.6% of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product and 6.9% to the South Australian GSP. Between 2010 and 2030 Infrastructure Australia has estimated that truck traffic is to increase by 50%, rail freight is expected to jump 90% and the number of containers crossing the nation’s wharfs to increase by 150% . The availability and capability of an educated transport and logistics workforce will be a crucial factor in meeting the demands of future freight growth.

Since the transport and logistics is core to the wider development of the South Australian economy, it is important that the significance of transport and logistics courses is recognised in the state, and that any future State training strategy looks to sufficiently plan to address skills need, not just for the short term but into the medium and long term.

The South Australian Freight Council would argue that many of the transport and logistics courses identified as “having low public value” are indeed essential to the continued expansion of the South Australian economy. In particular, with the amount of middle class consumers on Australia’s doorstep to multiple sixfold to 3 billion by 2030, without careful consideration given to the development of the transport and logistics workforce, South Australia will not have the resources to take advantage of this opportunity. This will make it near impossible for SA to achieve the first two of the ten economic priorities outlined by the Premier in August 2014:

1) Unlocking the full potential of South Australia’s resources, energy and renewable assets &

2) Premium food and wine produced in our clean environment and exported to the world.

Certificate III and other qualifications in Logistics are becoming more and more important to the wider transport and logistics industry. Not only is a rapidly expanding industry creating job opportunities, computerisation and automation have changed the nature of work, requiring specialised and higher-level computer skills, problem-solving and analytic skills, and more sophisticated contract management practises. A qualified workforce is needed to adapt to these challenges.

Furthermore the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council has estimated that the Logistics Sector is to increase its workforce by 21,300 people over the next five years. Without sufficient importance paid to logistics qualifications the state will be failing to adequately prepare for the future development of the state economy. It is evident that the Department of State Development needs to be reminded by the transport and logistics industry to the importance of these qualifications.

For more information on the WorkReady program see http://workready.statedevelopment.sa.gov.au/