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Daley announces new fatigue management reform

NSW livestock transport operators granted two-hour emergency provision under fatigue management laws

NSW livestock transport operators have been granted a two-hour emergency provision under fatigue management laws after Roads Minister Michael Daley approved another amendment to the regulations.

Daley last week announced change to allow operators to respond to unforseen animal welfare issues.

From May this year, drivers will now be able to exceed their work time limit by up to two hours in extenuating circumstances.

“This new exemption will provide drivers with enough time to arrange emergency assistance when their livestock is in danger, without having to worry about exceeding their regulated work hours,” Daley says.

Since announcing consultation with industry groups and representatives, Daley says he has gained a better understanding of the industry and where government “can give these operators a bit of leeway when it’s absolutely needed”.

However, drivers will need to factor in the extra hours worked by driving less the following the day.

“Let me be clear that this is not a ‘free pass’ to exceed the regulated work time limits – it’s only for those occasions when operators experience genuine difficulties,” Daley says.

He says the reform is necessary to ensure the fatigue laws do not place livestock at risk or impose an economic burden on rural and regional NSW.

The Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association, which lobbied for changes to the laws, welcomed the announcement.

LBCA President Jim Savage says it shows Daley is keen to work with the industry to ensure operators can comply with fatigue management laws, which were introduced on September 28 last year.

Daley has also indicated he is willing to continue reforming the regulations through further consultation with the industry.

“We need to make these laws work which is why I am committed to listening to the industry and providing a bit of flexibility when it doesn’t impact on road safety,” he says.

The move follows a pledge from Daley late last year to introduce a number of reforms and to encourage other states to harmonise cross-border inconsistencies.

Daley earlier this year passed an exemption notice for NSW operators under the Transitional Fatigue Management Scheme (TFMS).

As a result of the change—effective only in NSW—drivers who have completed Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) training can work for a TFMS-registered company even if the company is not accredited in BFM.

The NSW branch of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA-NSW) called the exemption an important win for the industry.

“Under the previous transitional arrangements, a TFMS registered driver working for a TFMS employer was able to work Basic Fatigue Management (BFM) hours,” the branch says.

“But a driver with more recent BFM training could only work standard hours until the employer achieved BFM certification,” the ATA-NSW says.”

The exemption, which requires drivers to carry copies of their employer’s TFMS certificate and confirmation of a medical assessment, will expire on September 28.

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