Fatigue reforms must go further, Daley told

NSW Roads Minister Michael Daley urged to pass fatigue management reforms for entire industry rather than singling out specific sectors

By Brad Gardner

NSW Roads Minister Michael Daley is being urged to pass fatigue management reforms for the entire industry rather than singling out specific sectors.

Following Daley’s announcement last week granting livestock operators a two-hour emergency provision, the peak NSW trucking body says general freight carriers must not be neglected.

Jill Lewis of the Australian Trucking Association’s NSW branch (ATA NSW) says the entire industry is exposed to unscheduled delays on a regular basis.

"There will always be extenuating circumstances from time to time when operators will have a need to ‘go outside the square’," Lewis says.

In such circumstances, Lewis says drivers should be given the opportunity to make a judgement a call.

"ATA NSW would like to see the Minister acknowledge that he is prepared to accept those exceptional circumstances when other operators—other than live stock—need to use them as well," Lewis says.

From May, livestock operators will be permitted to drive up to two hours beyond their allotted work time if they experience "genuine difficulties".

"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.

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.

Along with the Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association, the ATA NSW has welcomed the reform, with Lewis saying it shows Daley is listening "to the people on the ground in the transport industry".

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