Port Surcharges and RFNSW Conference Video Highlights

Port Surcharges and RFNSW Conference Video Highlights

CEO Report

It's good to see the rain at the end of last week and over the weekend. I know many of our members are pleased to see widespread rains in where it is needed.

As many of you know, CoR commenced on 1 October. My advice is that you need to take stock of what you do in your business, how you do it and whatever others are doing in your supply chain. Criminal liability is now part and parcel of the sharp end of compliance for senior managers and directors. Take stock.

Fuel Price Increases

I have been making comments about the cost of fuel for some time and how this hurts small business.

Please see my comments in the Sydney Morning Herald:

Port Surcharges

RFNSW has been unambiguous on stevedore surcharges from the beginning 18 months ago.

The federal government must move to act to quarantine these DPW surcharges that are due to come into effect from 1 January and take these increases off the table.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack

We meet with the Deputy Prime Minister Hon Michael McCormack on this issue and we ensured that we fully briefed him on the effects of these charges.

Strangely, I have seen recent media reports from the ACCC praising DPW over these surcharges. Surely, slugging hard working landslide operators with a charge and now almost doubling that surcharge isn't praiseworthy? We will be seeking to engage with the ACCC around this issue of praising a monopolistic stevedore who charges landside operators with more and higher charges.

Judge for yourself, here is the article:

We now have a broad coalition of legitimate stakeholders across the country with skin in the game supporting Road Freight NSW in its push to stop the surcharges:

  • Western Roads Federation in Perth
  • Australian Trucking Association in Canberra
  • Queensland Trucking Association in Brisbane
  • Australian Peak Shippers Association in Melbourne

Here are industry reports on the stevedore surcharges:

RFNSW Conference

We are excited to release our RFNSW2018 conference video. The day was comprehensive and jam packed, but this video captured all the highlights and showcases our delegates there on the day participating in our first independent conference - see if you can spot yourself!

Also, we are still seeking feedback from our conference delegates via a post event survey. If you have not yet completed the survey, please take a few minutes to let us know your feedback so we can ensure to make the conference bigger and better for you next year.

During the conference we also had great attention on the RFNSW Conference and we thank Owner//Driver as our conference media partner, and everyone who supported us with providing great coverage. Here are some links to some great stories!

Australian Chamber of Conference Business Leaders Forum in Canberra

Recently I was invited to the Chamber's business leader's forum where we heard from federal Ministers and also opposition shadow ministers.

Hon Brendan O'Connor Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations

It was a great opportunity to re-acquaint me with Mike Gallagher who is CEO of Ports Australia and also the CEO of Red Energy - a breakout Aussie energy retailer set out in the below photo.

JL Pierce - RFNSW icare Best Safety Culture

Last week, I had an opportunity to pop in and see John and Phill Pierce and discuss their icare Best Safety Culture award and some of things they do to make our roads safer and their fleet more than compliant with legislation and best practice.

Thank you for your support and here's to more rain west of the great divide and for our dams!

Simon O'Hara

icare industry model initiative - opportunity to participate

icare has an initiative to better align our services, programs and expertise to the needs of industry. The industry model initiative is developing service offerings that are better tailored to our customers based on their industry.

We're pulling together a group of employers and other industry representatives to help us build and test some service offering for the transport industry. We will consult with this group to develop an agreed list of services that they see as being of most potential value to them, then we'll deliver these services to the group in a limited time trial.

We're seeking input from RFNSW members through this consultation, design and trial process and are looking for staff who are involved in the day to day management of workers insurance (e.g. Safety/RTW Manager or HR) to do a short phone interview and attend a half day workshop in late October.

If you or someone in your team would like to be involved and contribute to making a difference to please email Andrew.Parker@icare.nsw.gov.au

Tunnel vision

01 October 2018


Published by Rebecca Niumeitolu, Holding Redlich

Trucks getting stuck in tunnels or colliding with the roof of tunnels is not an uncommon accident.

Some significant examples include:

  • On 7 February 2018 a truck with overhanging equipment smashed into the roof of the Domain Tunnel (2GB)
  • On 20 April 2017 a truck collided with the roof of Sydney's Airport Tunnel ripping off sprinkler heads and setting them off (7 News)
  • On 20 October 2015 a truck carrying an excavator hit the roof of New Acton Tunnel causing delays, tunnel closure for two days and $1.2 million in repair costs (M Raggatt, The Canberra Times, 12 February 2016).

Often we point to fatigue, speeding, intoxication and mechanical failure as key causes of accidents. But sometimes the cause of an accident can be as simple as trusting that your eyes will do all the work. The cautionary lesson resulting from trucks getting lodged, stuck and colliding with roofs of tunnels is that sometimes you just can’t or shouldn’t believe your eyes.

Dimension requirements

Dimension requirements under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) relate to the width, height, length and overhang of a heavy vehicle and its equipment, load and components.

The primary obligation for Chain of Responsibility (CoR) parties under the HVNL (October amendments), is that a person who drives, or permits another person to drive, a heavy vehicle on a road must ensure the vehicle, and the vehicle's components and load, comply with the dimension requirements applying to the vehicle, unless the person has a reasonable excuse.

Non-compliance may result in:

  • a maximum penalty of $3,000 if a heavy vehicle has no passengers or goods
  • a maximum penalty of $10,000 for a severe risk breach where there are goods or passengers on board
  • a compensation order that could very well exceed $100,000, depending on the nature of damage caused by the accident to road infrastructure.

Causes and consequences of dimension requirements :

The justifications for dimension requirements are relatively straightforward:

  • oversized vehicles pose a risk to driver and public safety
  • protruding or overhanging loads can cause significant damage to infrastructure and obstruct other drivers on the road
  • increased risks of accidents caused by breach of dimension requirements hampers efficient road transport of goods and causes delays to traffic.

Despite these risks being well-known to the industry you may be stumped to find a road user who has not encountered at some stage an incident where a truck has been stuck in a tunnel.

Interestingly, common reactions for drivers in such situations is to say that they checked the load and believed their vehicles were not over height or that they did not see the tunnel's height limit

This view accords with the opinion of the driver in the case of Nolan v Kreidies Management Group Pty Ltd (Nolan v Kreidies), whose load collided with the roof of a tunnel on the M5 East Expressway. The driver was recorded by the Court as saying that he did not see flashing warning lights diverting over-height vehicles away from the tunnel and that he "believed that his vehicle was not over height".

Contrary to his belief, the scrap metal in his load struck a steel beam set at a height of 4.68 to 4.7 m above the roadway of the tunnel, well in excess of the vehicles 4.3 m height limit. Even if the vehicle was loaded within dimension limits, it is suspected that the load sprung up during transport, which is a known risk for scrap steel loads. Factors that can be said to have caused the driver's vehicle breach of dimension requirements were:

  • inadequate equipment provided to the driver to measure the dimensions of his vehicle
  • insufficient measures to secure the load on its vertical axis
  • insufficient instructions from the driver's manager to measure the dimension of the vehicle and appropriately restrain its load
  • the detour of the driver through the tunnel.

This tells that additional steps must be taken to properly comply with dimension requirements under the HVNL and to avoid the risk of being a truck that's stuck.

Steps to avoid breaching dimension requirements

A major pitfall for CoR parties is assuming, as management did in Nolan v Kreidies, that everyone knows their obligations under the HVNL because they have "been doing it every day". Accidents and risks arise due to inadvertence at all levels of organisations and in the transport supply chains.

Steps which can be taken, in addition to ground level visual checks of the vehicle are:

  • review your trip routes to ensure that over-height vehicles do not drive through tunnels and bridges with lower height limits
  • train and instruct your staff and contractors, including loaders, drivers and managers, on an ongoing basis about proper load restraint and provide them with sufficient equipment to secure heavy vehicle loads
  • provide a secure platform in which eye-level visual checks of loads may be undertaken to ensure that they do not protrude or over hang the heavy vehicle
  • check your loads are secured during your journey
  • implement processes for your business to review incidents of dimension breaches to avoid repeat contraventions and to evidence that you are actively ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of your transport activities.

Author: Rebecca Niumeitolu

* A version of this article was originally published in CoR Adviser. This article is © 2018 Portner Press Pty Ltd and has been reproduced with permission of Portner Press.

Grab AEI email. It's an advertisement and turn it into an advertisement here. Its in the email. Perhaps shorten it a bit.

Passing of former ATA Policy Manager - David Coonan

RFNSW has been told of the sad news that ATA's former policy manager, David Coonan, recently passed away after an extended illness.

David Coonan was ATA's policy manager from 2006 until he retired on medical grounds in 2014.

David was a passionate and expert advocate for the industry on both technical and policy issues, including on heavy vehicle charging, the HVNL, vehicle standards, high productivity freight vehicles and more.

David started his career as a diesel mechanic. He then managed the Department of Housing and Construction's ACT vehicle fleet, before joining the ACT Government as its Deputy Registrar of Motor Vehicles. David later worked as a senior transport policy officer for the ACT and Australian governments

He is survived by Kathy Coonan and two daughters, Jennifer and Elizabeth.

TWU unanimously endorse Michael Kaine and Nick McIntosh to lead the union

TWU Media Release (3 October 2018)

The AEC confirms Michael Kaine and Nick McIntosh have been unanimously endorsed to lead the TWU in an uncontested election. Kaine and McIntosh will continue in their roles for the next four years as National Secretary and National Assistant Secretary respectively.

Personal Income Tax Bill passes both houses of Parliament

The Government has secured enough support from the cross-bench senators to enable passage of the Treasury Laws Amendment (Personal Income Tax Plan) Bill 2018.

To read the changes made to personal taxes, please click below.

Please Note: Many of the comments in this publication are general in nature and anyone intending to apply the information to practical circumstances should seek professional advice to independently verify their interpretation and the information's applicability to their particular circumstances.

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Road Freight NSW contact details

56 Fitzroy Street Marrickville NSW 2204

Tel: (02) 9557 1205



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