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Privacy Laws to be Amended to Allow Reporting of Dangerous Truck Driver Offences to their Bosses

15/04/2015

The South Australian Minister for Transport has announced the development of new draft regulations that will allow SAPOL to report truck drivers driving dangerously or under the influence of drink or drugs to their bosses.

Minister Mullighan explained that current privacy provision laws have prevented SAPOL at the moment from alerting trucking bosses about wrongful behaviour of their drivers, but by rewriting current regulations this will no longer be the case.

The announcement is seen as a major win for the trucking industry which has campaigned for many years for this provision. The new regulations will especially help companies better identify the very small percentage of truck drivers that are safety risks.

It should be emphasised again how small a percentage of unsafe truck are actively engaged in the profession. In the recent 2014 Operation AUSTRANS, a multi-jurisdictional enforcement operation between Australia and New Zealand to target road safety issues amongst the heavy vehicle road transport sector including fatigue, speed and drug use, reported a very low offence rate. For example out of 28,868 alcotests administered, only 21 drink driving offences were detected (or just 1/14th of a percentage point).

Skills for All Scrapped

09/04/2015

The State Government has recently announced that the Skills for All program is to be scrapped and replaced with their new WorkReady program to be introduced 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.

Despite meeting training place targets three years ahead of schedule (and thus increasing the cost of the program) in recent times Skills for All has come into criticism for focusing its attention on the overall number of training courses rather than job outcomes. The Department of State Development admitted it did not sufficiently track employment outcomes, simply relying on a voluntary student survey to track the success of the program, in response to The Advertiser’s findings that 40% of enrolled students were failing to complete their courses (The Advertiser, July ’14).

Of the 900 courses subsidised by the Skills for All program, the first change in the transition to WorkReady is to be the removal of subsidies for the 200 courses with no student enrolments. Another 150 courses are to be reviewed to see if they “align with the state’s economic priorities or industry needs” (WorkReady Policy document).

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 will result in a greater assessment of potential students before they start their training. After assessment students will be referred to one of three streams – pre-entry level courses, apprenticeships & traineeships and higher-level qualifications.

One potential change in the program may see the number of RTO’s licensed to offer free or subsidised training reduced. This potential change stems from the Training and Skills Commission report in December that stated the vocational education system had too many low-quality providers.  At the moment it is not too clear what this means for all current Skills for All providers but the WorkReady Policy document states the “government will work closely with a small number of selected providers to develop tailored training for specific groups” and “training providers will compete to deliver the specific courses. This will be done through a submission process that demonstrates a track record of quality outcomes that link training to jobs”.

It is unknown what changes, if any, are expected to transport and logistics specific courses and will be unknown until the next revised Subsidised Training List is revealed in the coming months.

Despite the cuts to the total number of subsidised training courses Higher Education Minister Gail Gago said WorkReady would retain the same level of funding as the Skills for All program. This may be in contrast to the WorkReady Policy document that repeatedly mentions that the changes are in some part due to the fact “the state’s economic and budget outlook has changed” and that they are looking to raise the quality of skills “within a constrained budget environment” indicating that cuts may eventually be on the way.

Rail R U OK? Day

31/03/2015

The TrackSAFE Foundation, a registered Harm Prevention Charity established by the rail industry to endeavour to reduce near collisions, injuries and fatalities on the rail network resulting from suicide and reckless behaviour is to hold their annual “Rail R U OK?” Day on the 16th of April.

The idea of the day is for rail personal to engage in meaningful conversations with their fellow workmates, starting with the simple question – ‘Are you okay?’

In collaboration with suicide prevention group R U OK?, TrackSAFE have developed a series of online tools for rail companies to launch their own Rail R U OK? Day

The Communications Toolkit can be downloaded here and includes posters, event ideas and other recommended material.

Review of Transport and Logistics Qualifications

30/03/2015

As part of their operation the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC) has been busy in reviewing competency standards in the Freight Transport Industry, and in particular the Road Transport and Warehousing & Logistics sector.

The review covering Certificate I, II and III for Driving Operations is almost complete. On the 28th of January TLISC’s Driving Operations Steering Committee met to review feedback received from the industry on the current Certificates across Driving Operations and forwarded certain projects (to update the units and competencies) for final comment.

Furthermore, TLISC’s Dangerous Goods licence technical advisory group are near to completing updates to the unit “TLILIC3013A Preparation to transport dangerous goods by road”.

In the warehouse and logistics sector, TLISC’s Warehouse and Logistics Steering Committee accepted the final proposed changes to the related sector’s certificates and units, thus completing their role, and in accordance with their terms of reference they have since dissolved.

The major change was that revised ‘Chain of Responsibility’ units are to be included in Warehouse and Logistics (and Driver Operations) qualifications with the applicable Chain of Responsibility unit becoming core across Certificate II, III, IV and Diploma qualifications.

For more information see www.tlisc.org.au.

Shipping Australia Limited release 2014 Annual Review

20/03/2015

Shipping Australia Limited have launched their yearbook for 2014. The annual update brings together a broad range of updates from across the shipping industry. In his CEO’s report Rod Nairn, who was in Adelaide for SAFC/ICHCA’s Conference in October, discussed the major developments to the Shipping Industry over the past 12 months.

In terms of policy Commodore Nairn highlighted the two major Federal government reviews, The Review of Coastal Shipping and The Root and Branch review of Coastal Policy as the dominant issues of the year. Commodore Nairn was particularly disappointed with the Competition Review Panel recommending the removal of the existing shipping exemptions in Part X of the Competition and Consumer Act. Out of 316 submissions on the subject, only 2 called for its abolition according to Mr. Nairn.

SAFC Vice-Chairman and Shipping Australian South Australian Chairman Geoff Rose contributed the SA State Committee Report. Mr Rose outlined shipping industry developments throughout the past year in South Australia with particular attention to the Container Terminal Monitoring Panel, Flinders Ports, and SA’s economic outlook going forward.

Mr Rose’s report included discussion on Flinders Ports upgrades to Outer Harbour Berth 4. The berth  in the past year has been upgraded to handle tankers up to a displacement of 56,000 metric tonnes via an underground pipeline to a new 85 million litre capacity tank to create a new $22.5 million fuel import facility.

Despite these improvements, Mr Rose urged Flinders Ports to reinvest in improvements along Berths 18-20.

Completing the round-up on the year in South Australian shipping was CEO of Flinders Port Holdings, Vincent Tremaine. Mr Tremaine developed on his company’s “record year” with cargo volumes exceeding 20 million for the first time. He also covered Flinders Port’s reinvestment into port facilities and productivity support structures over the past year.

As well as the developments on the new fuel import facility at Outer Harbour, Mr Tremaine covered the five new Terex straddle carriers (boosting their numbers to 22) and also the two new Post Panamax cranes that arrived in January that will increase the port’s productivity and hopefully contribute to another ‘record year’ for 2015.

To download the full report click here