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New Perth road train assembly area complete
Marmion sees facility as a boon to industry and residents
Construction has been completed on a new 28-bay road train assembly area (RTAA) at Abernethy Road in Forrestfield, Western Australian transport minister Bill Marmion has announced.
The $5 million RTAA is described as an important link in the Gateway WA Perth Airport and Freight Access Project.
"This assembly area will greatly improve productivity, safety and amenity for the freight industry by reducing congestion on local roads," Marmion says.
"Road trains, which previously had to park on local roadsides for trailer breakdown and assembly, now have a safe bitumen sealed area to park, drop a trailer and then deliver their loads to destinations.
"Freight operators will also no longer need to wait at the heavily congested intersections of Leach Highway or Kewdale Road/Horrie Miller Drive in order to travel southbound on Tonkin Highway or to connect to Roe Highway.
"By removing the majority of oversize load movements from the surrounding roads in Forrestfield, which are mainly residential, we are also improving safety for other road users in the community."
Using the RTAA as a 'shortcut' will improve productivity and efficiency for the freight industry by reducing the travel distance for oversized loads by 3.7 km.
The governments says the RTAA is facilitated by the Abernethy Road on-ramp as it allows direct driveway access to Tonkin Highway and has been specifically designed to enable this manoeuvre by oversize loads.
"Escorted oversized loads can now travel down the on-ramp from Tonkin Highway, using the purpose-built high wide load crossover in the RTAA to bypass the signalised junction and get directly onto Abernethy Road," it adds.
CHINA JOINS THE AUTONOMOUS TRUCK ARMS RACE
China has emerged as a new player in the charge towards autonomous trucks with the unveiling of a concept from Foton and technology company Baidu – the Baidu Intelligent Vehicle.
Named as the ‘super truck’, the car is powered by both Baidu’s limited self-driving automation and Foton’s driverless technologies and big data of commercial vehicles.
Baidu had been developing autonomous technology in conjunction with BMW until the two-year arrangement came to a halt this week.
According to general manager of Baidu Intelligent Vehicle, Gu Weihao, the commercial vehicle market presents a more viable sector for autonomous vehicles because of the significant benefits to safety, efficiency and operating costs.
“The mass deployment and implementation of driverless commercial cars may witness a boom as strong demand is projected for non-price sensitive buyers, usually company buyers,” Weihao said.
“We’ll further collaborate with commercial vehicle OEMs to develop self-driving solutions and build typical application scenarios.
“On the other hand, being one of pioneers in the industry, we’d like to introduce more self-driving technology providers to participate and grab a piece of the market share.”
The Chinese transport industry is worth in excess of $300 billion with more than 7.2 million trucks on the road. It is estimated driver wages account for approximately 40 per cent of running costs – which would be significantly reduced by autonomous trucks.
Baidu and Foton will be trailing its developments in 10 cities throughout China over the coming months in a range of conditions.
Sneak peek at Western Star’s 50th anniversary truck
Gearing up for the company’s 50th anniversary in 2017, Western Star Trucks Australia has taken to social media to release a teaser trailer for an upcoming addition to its ranks – the ‘Road Star’ truck.
The one-minute clip features exterior and interior shots of the new truck, showing its redesigned bumper and in-cab amenities offering “the ultimate in driver comfort.”
There’s no word as yet as to when an official announcement will follow, just an instruction from the truck maker to “stay tuned for more.”
Check out the announcement video on Facebook.
Dairy giant admits fatigue fault
Murray Goulburn pledges from now on its staff will knock on the door of any waiting truck drivers who fall asleep at its big Melbourne warehouse
Chain of responsibility on fatigue has been around since 1997, but there is precious little to show for it when it comes to trucking customers. Dairy giant Murray Goulburn is a case in point.
Nearly two decades of the chain of responsibility has apparently had limited effect on Australia’s biggest dairy company. Until now, drivers waiting at the big distribution centre at Laverton North in Melbourne have had to stay alert, sometimes for hours on end, past their timeslots.
Drivers have to listen out to an FM radio frequency for their rego plate and dock number to be called.
There is no guaranteed knock on the door; no pager/buzzer system; and no simple phone call with advice provided on how to block out all undesired calls if the driver needs to sleep.
Until now drivers didn’t know that someone will knock on the door if they fall asleep and miss their call – unless they are lucky enough to have previously fallen asleep anyway.
"Our driver induction will be updated with information about this back-up process," pledges Murray Goulburn in an email to Owner//Driver, in response to our questions. "All MG site staff are trained to knock on the cab should a driver miss a radio call."
Long distance Driver X says he’s been in and out of Murray Goulburn’s William Angliss Drive DC dozens of times over the past few years, and was still visiting there at the time of writing. But until told by Owner//Driver, he has never known he would still hold his place if he climbed into the bunk.
The implications for driver and public safety back out on the highway are obvious, although in this driver’s case he’s lucky enough to be able to get off the road by midnight and delay his interstate deliveries.
Being on kilometre rate he is not paid for waiting at Murray Goulburn.
It’s not always cream carting
Trucks going in and out of the Laverton North DC are a mixture of long distance, regional and local; with the DC products including long life milk, milk powder and refrigerated cheese.
Owner//Driver spoke with several different drivers working for several different trucking companies.
The drivers have similar stories, saying over the years the waits have usually been acceptable, but can sometimes blow out.
One of them described the process as "dehumanising", because there are no real-time humans involved until the trucks are actually on the docks. So drivers can’t get an idea of how long they’ll be waiting once they arrive.
"It could be five minutes or an hour or five hours – you never know," says Driver X, adding he’s waited up to 7 hours. He estimates his average wait is two hours after the timeslot, and that is before the actual loading or unloading. (Drivers are allowed to arrive 55 minutes before the timeslot.)
However Murray-Goulburn insists that "average vehicle turnaround time is 90 minutes".
"Recently there have been some longer delays than usual due to the implementation of a new computer system. During this time, MG has worked with carriers to preload vehicles where possible to avoid long haul drivers being exposed to delays. These delays have now been resolved."
Murray Goulburn seems to deny that drivers don’t know how long they’ll be waiting: "All shipments are issued with specific timeslots and we have close dialogue with all carriers to provide status updates," the company says.
Driver X says his manager would definitely call him if informed of a delay, but says that has never happened.
There is nothing in the MG response about directly informing drivers of delays.
Not easy listening
Drivers say just having to listen to the Murray Goulburn radio "station" is fatiguing enough.
On one frequency – FM 92.5 – there is an automated voice on a constant loop, occasionally calling rego plates and dock numbers. Mostly it’s warnings and instructions about smoking, random drug tests, site evacuation, the 15km/h speed limit, staying in trucks, staying in designated pathways, safety vests and footwear etc.
Here’s an ironic one: "Drivers suffering the effects of fatigue are not permitted on MG sites."
Despite all this constant automated talk, when we listened in a car on the street before contacting MG, there was nothing on the radio about getting a knock on the door if you fall asleep.
On the other "station" – 89.5 – there is music interrupted by the automated voice. Depending on your musical tastes, the songs we heard could be a form of torture.
Meanwhile there are no driver facilities other than toilets.
NTC's driverless vehicle trial guidelines paper released
Transport body highlights key issues based on other existing Australian and international frameworks
The National Transport Commission (NTC) says Australia is a "step closer" to having national standards for automated vehicle trials with the release of its new discussion paper on the subject.
The paper, National guidelines for automated vehicle trials, highlights key issues for supporting trials based on other existing Australian and international frameworks and proposes key criteria for inclusion in the national guidelines.
NTC says this is the first step in its phased approach to "facilitate the testing and trialling of automated vehicles in the short term, and prepare for the safe deployment of automated vehicles on public roads in the medium to long term".
The transport body is also calling for feedback from relevant stakeholders including vehicle manufacturers, technology providers, safety groups and road users into the key elements needed to support such trials, which, it says, is an important step to ensure safety and efficiency.
"Developing a single and nationally-agreed set of guidelines would help promote Australia as a test bed for automated vehicles by providing consistent conditions for trials, while at the same time encouraging innovation," NTC acting chief executive Geoff Allan says.
"The guidelines will also help support cross-border trials.
"By harmonising trial conditions and expectations across jurisdictions, governments can work with industry to further explore the potential economic, environmental and safety benefits of this technology."
NTC says it has had government support in the development of trial guidelines.
It will present the recommendations on these guidelines to the Transport and Infrastructure Council during a meeting in May next year.
Submissions can be made until 4pm on January 16.
Four secrets to reducing fleet expenses
SPONSORED CONTENT: As a fleet owner, your day-to-day costs can quickly add up. What you don’t know is there are further hidden, expensive and needless costs that are hurting your bottom line
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Fleetmatics REVEAL’s GPS fleet management solution can help control your fleet costs, cut fuel wastage, and reduce labour costs.
1. Stop paying for hours not worked
If you use manual timesheets to record your staff’s hours, how do you know with absolute certainty that the hours they’re submitting are accurate?
Without an accurate and reliable employee tracking software in place, the full scope of your payroll is – to some extent – in your employees’ hands.
Fleetmatics REVEAL’S automated time sheets can help companies eliminate inaccuracies and falsification on manual time sheets, so they only pay employees for hours worked.
Further, by working towards eliminating time sheet abuse and inaccuracies, businesses can reduce payroll costs and therefore increase their bottom line.
2. Reduce personal use of company vehicles
Do your drivers use your company vehicle – and your company fuel to run personal errands after hours?
How much company fuel (which you are paying for!) is your staff wasting on personal trips? How much wear and tear are they adding to your vehicle?
If a staff member has the company car and their personal car sitting in the driveway after hours, it can be all-too-easy to choose the company vehicle (and company fuel) for an outing – instead of their own personal car.
Fleetmatics REVEAL can help eliminate personal use of company vehicles after-hours, helping to reduce fuel costs.
3. Eliminate costly fuel card abuse
Fuel cards can be a very convenient and easy way to manage your fleet’s fuel purchases.
However, with no ability to accurately verify fuel transactions against company vehicles, there is potential for abuse.
Fleetmatics REVEAL’s fuel card integration can help eliminate fuel card abuse.
You can identify if the fuel pumped into the vehicle exceeded the tank of the assigned vehicle, or even if the company vehicle wasn’t at the pump at the time the fuel card was used.
So, you can take control of your fuel cards and stop paying far more than you need to.
4. Reduce fuel-wasting driver habits
Poor driver habits can hurt your fleet’s efficiency and waste fuel, particularly if the engine is left running while making a delivery or forgetting to shut down the vehicle before jumping out.
Fluctuating fuel prices have a big impact on budgets and an idling engine can use up to three litres of fuel an hour, which is a waste of time and money.
Fleetmatics REVEAL gives you visibility into where fuel is being wasted, empowering you to change your drivers' behaviour quickly.
When excessive idling occurs, owners can receive alerts and notifications, which allow you to monitor the engine idle time for each of your vehicles.
Detailed monitoring will help reduce your fleet’s overall idling time, thereby saving your business unnecessary fuel costs.
Find out how Fleetmatics REVEAL’s fleet management solution can help your business reduce costs and increase bottom line. Visit www.fleetmatics.com.au to learn more!
'Yellow metal' drives GraysOnline overseas as international expansion eyed
Cranes and trailers sold off by bankrupt mining contractors are proving a boon for auction group GraysOnline as it sells less consumer goods and focuses on machinery and equipment, targeting international buyers in Asia and the Middle East.
"I would like Grays to be to plant and machinery what Google is to search," chief executive Mark Bayliss told The Australian Financial Review. Australia currently has "an excess of supply" in mining and agricultural equipment, partially due to the resources slump which forced many companies into administration, he said.
Companies whose assets have been put up for sale on Grays' website after going into administration include Melbourne-based transport group McAleese; Queensland's Kurtz transport group – which provided services to the mining and gas industry – as well as trucking group Heavy Haulage Australia and contractor WDS; and Western Australia's Tasman Civil road construction group.
Grays is also now starting to receive equipment used on WA's Gorgon project as work on the natural gas plant winds down.
Grays' earnings before interest taxation depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 28 per cent in 2015-16 to $16.5 million in Gray's business-to-business division, which includes cars as well as transport and mining equipment. But EBITDA fell 9 per cent to $2.1 million in its business-to-commerce division, which includes wine, homewares, electronics and jewellery, and the company took a statutory net loss of $20 million.
Mr Bayliss, a former accountant who joined Grays in 2014 after working in private equity and a stint as Fairfax Media's chief financial officer, wants to further boost B2B profits by selling more agricultural machinery online, pointing out most farm equipment is still sold in paddocks by "blokes with gavels". Grays bought Wagga Wagga-based specialist agricultural equipment auction group, DMS Davlan, for $3 million in mid-2015.
Selling equipment online attracts more buyers, increasing competitive bidding tension and leading to higher prices for sellers, Mr Bayliss said. Prices can reach as high as several million dollars for a dump truck.
To further boost profits, Grays plans to take more financial risk. Traditionally, it has acted as an agent for sellers, taking a commission. But it has started offering guaranteed minimum sale prices, in exchange for a higher commissions, and has teamed up with broker Magnolia Lane to provide financing for purchases to try and attract more buyers.
It is also buying assets directly from stressed companies and reselling them online. Grays tends to get better prices for assets when it sells them itself, Mr Bayliss said.
Grays already sells some equipment overseas – Mr Bayliss says there is strong demand for "yellow metal" gear such as Caterpillar tractors in countries such as Ghana and Chile as well as the Middle East and South-East Asia, while jackhammers and forklifts are sent to the Philippines.
But Mr Bayliss plans to establish auction businesses in other countries with local joint venture partners, and is in the process of setting up a Middle Eastern website.
Grays does not plan to attempt expansion in the US because there is too much competition and believes Europe is also tricky due to the broad range of insolvency laws.
Mr Bayliss led Grays through a backdoor listing on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2014 following a merger with online retailer Mnenom. The shareholder register has a mix of individual and institutional investors with Mr Bayliss holding a 3.5 per cent stake and Perpetual holding 8.75 per cent.
Grays' shares closed at $1.27 on Friday, up 13 per cent over the past 12 months.
K-line faces criminal charges in Australia
ACCC says charges laid for alleged cartel behaviour in relation to vehicle transport
Japanese shipping line Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K-Line) is currently fending off criminal charges related to alleged cartel conduct concerning vehicle transport to Australia.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) states that criminal charges have been laid against K-Line for cartel behaviour in relation to international shipping of cars, trucks, and buses between July 2009 and September 2012.
The matter is before the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney for a first mention today.
The news comes a few weeks after Japanese carriers Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) agreed to merge their container divisions with K-line to form a new shipping company, pending regulatory approval.
The new company will reportedly operate a fleet 110 vessels with 1.4 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEU).
NYK has already this year pleaded guilty to criminal cartel conduct before the Australian Federal Court.
The case against K-line is the second criminal charge laid against a corporation under the criminal cartel provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
The ACCC states it is currently investigating into other alleged cartel participants.
Considering the matter is currently before the court, the ACCC has refused to make further comment at this stage.
Last year, the United States Department of Justice stated that K-line executive executive Takashi Yamaguchi had pleaded guilty during an investigation in the US for his role in price fixing and rigging bids of other shipping services for roll-on, roll-off cargo to and from the country.
Yamaguchi was handed a 14-month jail term and a USD20,000 criminal fine while the investigations continued.
Qld to host Australia’s 'largest' automated vehicle trial
Bailey says success of such trails depends upon adapting existing traffic systems with new technologies
Queensland has announced plans to host the biggest automated vehicle pilot program that will see around 500 fleet and public vehicles test the concept of connected and automated driving (C-ITS) technology in Ipswich.
The four-year Cooperative and Automated Vehicle Initiative (CAVI) project will be funded by the state government, and the Motor Accident Insurance Commission and supported by Bosch Australia, Ipswich City Council and Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q).
The state government plans to engage with transport industry members and other relevant stakeholders to adapt the existing systems, infrastructure and data to innovative transport technologies.
The on-road testing phase of the project is expected to kick off in 2019.
The subjects of platooning, driverless vehicles and automated vehicle trials have gained momentum in Australia, with other states including Western Australia and South Australia planning similar trials in the near future.
Earlier this month, the National Transport Commission (NTC) released automated vehicle regulation reform roadmap, which recommends a phased reform program to facilitate such trials.
Queensland roads and road safety minister Mark Bailey says the state transport department is working with Bosch to secure its "highly-automated driving vehicle", which is co-sponsored by the Victorian government, for the trial.
"The Queensland Government’s CAVI project is another example where industry and government will work together to trial and validate the benefits these new technologies will bring to the market," Bosch Australia regional president chassis systems control Mark Jackman says.
"Project’s such as these are not just vital for the advancement of road safety and public awareness but also for the further development of technical expertise and capability of Bosch Australia engineers."
The vehicles involved in the trial will be retrofitted with C-ITS devices that will provide safety warnings to the driver about current road conditions that may not visible to them at that point on the road.
"These C-ITS devices work by providing safety warnings to the driver about a range of conditions – for example, a pedestrian crossing at a signalised intersection, a red light runner or a queue ahead that isn’t visible to a driver," Bailey says.
"Our interest in testing these vehicles is to help understand the implications for our infrastructure and drivers, and the improvements to automated vehicle performance when the vehicle can talk to other vehicles and infrastructure.
"These rapidly developing technologies have the potential to significantly reduce crashes and crash-related gridlock, as well as reduce vehicle emissions and fuel use over coming decades.
"While industry is leading the development of advanced vehicle technologies, the success of these will rely upon connecting to our existing traffic systems."
Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard says the test-bed will be available for use by industry, academics and governments to continue to test new technologies.
Member for Ipswich West Jim Madden says the transport department’s move to the planning phase of the pilot "will have a strong focus on safety".
Volvo joins forces with Wagga Trucks
New South Wales truck dealership, Wagga Trucks, has been appointed as a full-service regional dealership for Volvo Group Australia.
According to Volvo, in additional to selling new and used Volvo, UD, and Mack Trucks, Wagga Trucks will provide comprehensive aftersales service and support with their purpose-built heavy-vehicle workshop.
“Wagga Trucks is extremely excited to partner with Volvo Group Australia as its sales and service agent in the Wagga Wagga region,” said Bryce Shaw, Director at Wagga Trucks. “Volvo Group Australia has built a reputation for its high standards in trucks and customer service, and that is something we’re proud to uphold in Wagga Wagga.”
Peter Voorhoeve, President of Volvo Group Australia, added. “It’s no secret that my mantra is ‘service, service, service’, and I’m a firm believer that customer service is the key to market leadership,” he said.
“Wagga Wagga is an important regional hub, and for Volvo Group Australia to maintain our market leadership, it’s absolutely critical we partner with dealers who share our values and commitment to customer service, like Wagga Trucks.”
Wagga Trucks will commence service, parts and sales operations for Volvo Group Australia on the December 1st 2016.
The latest announcement ends Volvo’s successful 13-year association with Wagga Motors, which announced its resignation.
According to Richard Braid, Dealer Principal at Wagga Motors, send it was a strategic decision to re-align the Wagga Motors group.
“On behalf of Wagga Motors, I’d like to thank Volvo Group Australia for being a fantastic business partner over the past 13 years, and I wish them the greatest success in the future,” he said. “We are fully committed to ensuring the transition to Wagga Trucks is seamless, and the Volvo, UD, and Mack Trucks customers continue to receive the high standard of service that Volvo Group Australia is known for.”
Wagga Motors was also awarded the 2015 Dealer of the Year by Volvo Group Australia.
White Hill Truck Drivers’ Memorial Convoy
More than 50 trucks took part in this year’s White Hill Truck Drivers’ Memorial Convoy in honour of lost friends and loved ones
Back in the good old days, Murray Bridge, 80 kilometres east of Adelaide, was generally the first stopping point for all those under-powered trucks that slogged their way up and over the Adelaide Hills.
On any evening, the road houses over the bridge would be full of truckies who had stopped for tea.
And so it was fitting that on November 23, 2014, the White Hill Truck Drivers’ Memorial was officially unveiled on Murray Bridge’s Adelaide Road – the very same road that everyone rushed up and down to get to Melbourne.
This year’s induction ceremony and service was held on November 5 at 11am.
Earlier that morning, two convoys gathered – one in Adelaide and the other in Keith – and made their way to Murray Bridge, merging together to form one cavalcade.
This year more than 50 trucks, many with banners honouring lost friends and loved ones on the grill or bullbar, joined in the procession. They made their way down White Hill through a crowd that numbered in excess of 500.
Once parked, the ceremony commenced with an opening prayer from the Salvation Army’s Tim Watson. Following the prayer, Murray Bridge mayor Brenton Lewis, MP Adrian Pederick and National Road Transport Hall of Fame founder Liz Martin spoke to those gathered.
White Hill Truck Drivers’ Memorial founder and president Keith Wood told those assembled that the two sections of the wall – one dedicated to truck drivers and the other to those who have lost their lives in any work associated with the transport industry – had been named in honour of Tamika and Khaleb Hourn, who tragically lost their lives while travelling in a truck with parents Sharon and Darren. They are depicted shooting an arrow over to each other.
At the conclusion of the service, the convoy regrouped and did a couple of laps of the town, heading down the main street, through the riverbank precinct with horns blaring and finishing up at the Murray Bridge racecourse for a fun family afternoon.
It was a well organised day, highlighted by the auction and log book throwing contests, and with the sun shining there was plenty of undercover seating.
ATA call to get brake chamber standards right
Loose says brake chambers are also important to ensure vehicle compliance
The Australian Trucking Association (ATA’s) updated technical advisory procedure (TAP) on compliant commercial vehicle air brake chambers includes information on acceptable air brake chamber build standards, brake chamber compliance information and warnings against disassembling spring brake chambers.
ATA senior engineering adviser Chris Loose says choosing the right brake chambers is a key step to ensure an effective braking system.
"The use of substandard brake chambers could create an unstable vehicle combination by mixing different brake chamber sizes and brands, negatively affecting the brake balance," Loose says.
Loose reminds users that getting the brake chamber standards right is also important to ensure compliance with the Australian Design Rules.
Govt to launch road user charge inquiry in 2017
Additional plans to examine barriers and growth opportunities to improve freight and supply chain network
The federal government says there is need for further investigation on road user charging to identify a more equitable approach that charges users, not taxpayers.
This is one of the 69 recommendations that the government "supports" in response to the first 15-year Australian Infrastructure Plan.
The government has also "noted" six other recommendations out of Infrastructure Australia (IA’s) total 78 recommendations in its response report published today.
The federal government says it is working with state and territory governments to implement these recommendations, including speeding up heavy vehicle reform and find out the benefits, costs and options to implement "cost reflective road pricing for all vehicles".
"Phase One of the Heavy Vehicle Road Reform is now complete, and is delivering improved transparency around road expenditure, investment and service delivery through the publication of heavy vehicle infrastructure asset registers and expenditure plans," the report states.
"The Australian Government will progress next steps for heavy vehicle reform with states and territories through the development of a forward looking cost base; and a discussion paper to inform consultation on options for an independent price regulator."
The government plans to launch an independent investigation next year into the potential benefits and impacts of road user charging for light vehicles on road users.
The government will also undertake an independent inquiry to examine regulatory and investment barriers as well as opportunities to improve productivity and efficiency of the freight and supply chain network.
The inquiry will find out ways to "improve the capacity and reduce the costs of transporting goods through our major national container ports, airports and intermodal terminals".
The government states that the findings of this inquiry will help in the development of a long-term national freight and supply chain strategy for reform and investment.
Future capital and investment
The federal government also plans to promote its asset recycling initiative, which allows sale of government-owned assets to private companies to unlock capital that can be redirected to other infrastructure projects.
The government says, so far, the initiative has "provided for considerable additional investment into productivity enhancing infrastructure, especially urban transport", making a case for "innovative" financing schemes and increased private sector involvement in the future.
"Government budgets cannot, and should not, fund all infrastructure projects," it states.
"The cost of transport projects should be shared between those who benefit the most from the projects and the broader Australian community."
The report also highlights government’s plan to promote the concept of value capture to fund key transport infrastructure needed for the future.
"Value capture can provide for a more efficient and equitable approach to infrastructure development and delivery; and stimulate a better linkage between the infrastructure needed and the broader planning environment," it states.
Last week, the government released a discussion paper seeking feedback from state and territory government, industry and other stakeholders in this matter.
The government reiterates its commitment to improve safety and regional connectivity and remove congestion on the roads through $50 billion investment in ongoing projects such:
The reports states the government will continue to examine the Infrastructure Priority List as part of its infrastructure project assessment process.
New Range Launched by Hyundai
Diesel News was one of the first to see the unveiling of the new range launched by Hyundai. A newly-appointed distributor, Hyundai Commercial Vehicles Australia, has unveiled the all-new Hyundai ‘Mighty’ range of light-duty trucks to the Australian market. There are three variants, EX4, EX6 and EX8, featuring a bold modern exterior with a spacious state-of-the-art interior.
The EX4, which competes in the 4.5 tonne sector and can be driven on a passenger car licence, is available with either factory tipper, pantech or refrigerated pantech bodies. It comes in two wheelbase configurations, short and medium.
Next up is the EX6, a 6.5 tonne GVM truck, available as a cab/chassis or factory tipper on a medium wheelbase.
Top of the range EX8 is a 7.5 tonne unit offered in medium, long and extra-long wheelbase configurations with a choice of refrigerated and non-refrigerated pantech bodies.
A choice of Standard Cab or the bigger Supercab will be available on all three models.
At the heart of the EX range is a common-rail 3.9 litre four-cylinder turbo diesel with two power outputs.
The EX4 develops 103kW at 2500rpm and delivers maximum torque of 392Nm at 1400rpm. Output increases to 125kW and 610Nm in the EX6 and EX8, enabling ease of operation with the extra carrying capacities.
Both the EX4 and EX6 feature a dual-mode five-speed manual transmission while the EX8 gains a six-speed manual transmission, also with dual modes.
All EX models have a comprehensive suite of active and passive safety features including Vehicle Dynamic Control for improved stability and a shock absorbing steering wheel that’s said to reduce driver fatigue by minimising vibrations.
Also standard are four-wheel disc brakes, hill start assist, long multi-leaf rear springs and gas-charged shock absorbers, providing comfort and control in equal measures.
In what Hyundai describes as a unique departure from the norm, the EX range comes with a 3 year/ 200,000 km warranty that also covers the body fitted to the truck. The EX factory bodies are made by Hyundai Special Vehicles. In addition, all EX models come with a 24/7 nationwide roadside assist program for the length of the warranty.
Pricing for the EX4 starts at $39,990 including GST for the medium wheelbase Standard Cab variant.
New Senate truck driver licensing probe hearing
Sterle’s committee to hear from bureaucrats as TWU highlights FWO case
The senator Glenn Sterle-led ‘Aspects of road safety in Australia’ inquiry will grill state and federal public servants today, with the focus to be on driver licensing standards.
The Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee probe has had an unsettled run since being agreed, having its reporting deadline extended three times and then it lapsing due to May’s double dissolution of Parliament.
Its new reporting date is October 18 next year.
Facing questioning over two hours this afternoon are senior officers VicRoads, Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Australian Skills and Quality Authority.
Those from the New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services were unavailable, Sterle’s spokesman tells ATN.
The hearing comes on the day the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) says it has recovered $8,711 for a Sri Lankan asylum seeker who was underpaid over a period of just three months at a furniture removals business in Melbourne.
Shelly Removals and Storage underpaid the worker for truck driving and removalist duties between October last year and January this year.
"The Fair Work Ombudsman investigated after the worker lodged a request for assistance and the company, which did not have a history of non-compliance, and its director Sima Vaknin fully co-operated," the FWO’s office says.
"After being educated about its obligations, the company avoided facing legal action by back-paying the worker in full and agreeing to overhaul its workplace practices by entering into an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with the Fair Work Ombudsman.
"As part of the EU, Shelly Removals and Storage will commission professional external audits of its practices this year and next year and rectify any non-compliance issues discovered."
It must also report to the FWO on process improvements it has made to ensure future compliance, commission workplace relations training for its managers, display a workplace and a public notice detailing its contraventions and apologise to the worker.
It was the worker’s first job in Australia since arriving as an asylum seeker a few years earlier.
The company recruited the worker, who was on a bridging visa with work rights at the time, by placing a job advertisement on a notice board at an Australian Migrant English Service centre.
The worker regularly worked 50 hours a week but was paid for only 30-38 of the hours and was paid at the unlawfully low, flat rate of $18 for those hours.
The FWO, Natalie James, says the practice of employers recruiting overseas workers and paying them a ‘going-rate’ below lawful Australian minimums is completely unacceptable.
"Overseas workers are entitled to receive the same minimum rates and entitlements that apply to all workers in Australia – and the rates are not negotiable," James says.
As a casual under the Road Transport and Distribution Award 2010, the worker was entitled to receive a base rate of $23.75 per hour, up to $39.90 for overtime, up to $42.75 on weekends and up to $52.25 on public holidays.
Shelly Removals and Storage also failed to pay his removalist and meal allowances and made an unlawful deduction from his wages for ‘insurance excess’ after he was involved in a road accident.
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) says the case highlights the need for the Sterle committee’s inquiry as it relates to driver exploitation
The inquiry "has highlighted the problem of training schools giving licences to people who don’t have the skills to drive trucks. So far 80 people have had their licences cancelled," the union says.
Sterle said in March that hearings earlier this year had been prompted by an incident in early February 2015, when an overseas driver, in Australia on a visa granted by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, caused a major traffic incident on the M5 in Sydney when he failed to reverse his truck and detach the trailer after he was concerned the heavy haulage vehicle he was driving would not fit into the tunnel he was driving towards.
The truck had to be removed by a public servant employed by Roads and Maritime Services as the driver of the truck was not capable of doing so.
"I initially raised this matter with the committee and its secretariat as I was concerned about the exploitation of foreign workers as well as the risk to safety of Australian road users," Sterle, a former truck driver, said then.
"What has come as a result of subsequent correspondence and evidence given at this week’s hearing shows that my concerns reach far wider than this incident alone."
This includes truck-driver licensing issues, including fraud and corruption, affecting New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
He added that road safety "is something that I care very deeply about and my hope is that through the work of this inquiry, we can expose those who are rorting the system, stop the exploitation of the visa system and improve road safety for Australian drivers in the long run".