No plan for industry-wide fatigue exemption

NSW Government has no plans to introduce fatigue exemption across all sectors, claiming the industry hasn't asked for it

By Brad Gardner

The NSW Government is not looking at extending a two-hour fatigue management emergency provision beyond the livestock sector, claiming the industry has not lobbied for it.

Roads Minister Michael Daley says comments by the State’s peak trucking body to have the exemption applied to all sectors have not been made to him as part of a review into fatigue laws.

"The issue of an industry-wide two-hour emergency provision has not been raised during…consultations with industry groups," he says.

Jill Lewis from the NSW branch of the Australian Trucking Association told ATN this week all drivers should be granted the emergency provision.

The provision, which allows transporters to drive an extra two hours beyond their allotted time, is intended to begin from April and is designed to reflect the unique demands of the livestock sector.

"This exemption recognises that livestock carriers have to comply with animal welfare issues and standards which do not apply to general freight," Daley says.

While welcoming the announcement, Lewis says Daley needs to recognise the livestock sector is not the only one affected by unscheduled delays.

"ATA NSW would like to see the Minister acknowledge that he is prepared to accept those exceptional circumstances when other operators…need to use them as well," Lewis told ATN.

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

The Government is currently working with industry groups to develop a compliance program to ensure drivers cannot abuse the exemption.

Daley says the provision is not a "free pass" because drivers will be forced to ensure they only use in exceptional circumstances.

Furthermore, drivers will need to take time off the following day to make up for the extra hours worked.

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