Shearer questions worth of proposed safety rating scheme

SARTA Executive Director Steve Shearer criticises proposed five-star rating system for trucking

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | May 22, 2013

The South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA) has questioned the worth of imposing a safety rating system on the trucking industry.

SARTA Executive Director Steve Shearer believes there is no place for such a proposal, saying it will add further pressure on operators.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has been tasked with looking at a scheme that rates operators according to a safety level and rewards those with a higher rating.

NHVR CEO Richard Hancock says any scheme will not be another form of accreditation or mandatory, but Shearer is not convinced.

"It becomes mandatory from the marketing and commercial point of view. If Coles or Woolworths start saying they’ll only use four- or five-star trucks, that means that everybody who wants to work for them has to be and that makes it mandatory," he says.

Industry identity Ron Finemore has been an ardent supporter of a rating system, but Shearer claims feedback from livestock transport operators in South Australia indicates opposition to the proposal.

Shearer says an operator was recently told it would receive cheaper registration under the rating scheme.

"What governments have indicated that they’ll give cheaper registration and why would they? That’s outrageous," he says.

"The key thing is that there are industry organisations that represent the bulk of the industry and none of them have been involved in a development like this."

Shearer says the NHVR needs to work with operators before going ahead with the proposal.

"I believe that the NHVR people understand that we shouldn’t have an extra system, but we have to be very careful we don’t get sucked into a warm, fuzzy feel-good exercise that’s not mandatory but it really is commercially," he says.

"We won’t stand by and watch bureaucrats at any level get away with that argument. It’s not acceptable."

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