ALTA takes aim at NTC on fatigue

Approach to matters of 'urgency' casts doubt on efficacy of National Regulator

By Rob McKay | February 22, 2011

The Australian Livestock Transporters Association (ALTA) has taken the National Transport Commission (NTC) to task over laxity in addressing counting time, animal welfare provisions in fatigue management laws and the treatment of basic fatigue management review provisions of fatigue management laws.

In an open letter - phrased more in terms of regret and disappointment than anger - to NTC Chairman Greg Martin, ALTA National President David Smith accused the NTC of tardiness in its handling of industry concerns.

Given the NTC’s performance, the letter questioned the likelihood of faster progress under the National Regulator.

The letter came the day before the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator Project Board will be holding a national forum with industry, to discuss the draft ‘single national law’ to be put to the Parliament of Queensland in October of this year.

"I am advised that sometime very soon I should expect to see the Commission ‘pull a rabbit out of its hat’," Smith writes, referring to what he described as "an extraordinarily simple legal issue".

"I’m told that the Commission will be recommending that the Australian Transport Council should agree to adopt the Queensland/NSW version of the counting time laws as the one which should be used by the new national regulator.

"If and when that announcement is made, the ALTA will strongly and loudly welcome it.

"But Greg, you and your fellow Commissioners must not be under any illusion that the NTC has performed well in its handling of this matter.

"It has been eight (8) months since your Chief Executive committed, before the entire industry, to fix the counting time issue. It has been eight (8) months since a current Ministerial member of the Australian Transport Council formally asked you to fix this issue 'as a matter of urgency'.

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