Renewed bushfire crisis warning for industry


ATA sees deteriorating conditions create ongoing risk for operators

Renewed bushfire crisis warning for industry
RFS image of power restoration work in Lake Conjola

 

With weather conditions again predicted to deteriorate over the coming days, operators are warned to remain aware and vigilant.

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) echoes reports that conditions will worsen in parts of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales from today.

NSW and Victoria are expected to have a difficult day tomorrow, which may also impact the ACT, while fires in Western Australia have kept the Eyre Highway closed.

"The loss of life, property and wildlife together with the impact on families, businesses and our environment has been devastating," the association says.

"Supply chains into Western Australia have been disrupted and communities in both northern WA and the Territory are facing cyclone threats.

"The ATA urges the trucking industry to remain safe.

"In the face of such devastation, we’ve been humbled by the generous Aussie spirit on display. Our firefighters, emergency personnel and police continue to do an amazing job keeping our community safe.

"Individuals are donating time, supplies and money to those who have had their lives turned upside down.

"Individual truckies and operators have come together to get supplies to devastated communities. Our industry has been at its best.

The ATA says it has begun work highlighting with the Australian Government the need to include the trucking industry in the bushfire recovery plans.

"Whilst this crisis is ongoing, attention must also turn to rebuilding devastated communities.

"The Australian and state governments have begun announcing bushfire recovery funds. This support is welcome and the rollout of this recovery process will be important.

"We encourage input from our members and the industry on where support will be needed.

"We should all remember that the recovery process will take time and that recovery is not just a job for government."

"We can support affected businesses through buying their goods and services. It’s something we should remember to do once this crisis has left the headlines." 


Associations have urged financial assistance for operators impacted by fires


The ATA points to an information bulletin from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) on road and fire information.

The regulator notes where possible operators should avoid travelling in bushfire impacted zones, however if required be aware of local emergency access arrangements.

1. Check the local road conditions through state government websites.

2. If travelling in an affected area, check with local emergency services or recovery operations.

3. Ensure your vehicle is able to travel on the existing network. If you’re travelling outside of these networks, you may need to obtain a permit through the NHVR Portal at www.service.nhvr.gov.au/ or call 1300 696 487 for assistance.

4. Ensure you have enough food and water supplies in case of unexpected conditions, and avoid using back tracks or off-network roads to get around road closures.

It also asks operators to understand emergency fatigue provisions.

"An emergency services work and rest hour exemption may apply if working with or under the direction of emergency services. This includes transporting relief supplies or working to restore essential utilities and services," the regulator says.

"For this exemption to apply, written or verbal direction must be received from emergency service personnel.

"While the direction may exempt you from complying with work and rest limits and maintaining work diaries, they do not exempt an operator or a driver from managing fatigue.

"Drivers should keep a record of any instruction given by emergency services.

"Drivers should stop work and rest immediately if they are feeling fatigued at any time while operating a heavy vehicle."

NHVR also notes operators are reporting a lot of large equipment is being moved during this period, and points to extensive Oversize, Overmass (OSOM) networks in Victoria and New South Wales, which operators are encouraged to utilise where possible as it removes the need for a permit.

 

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