MEETING REPORTS (Issue 21)

By on May 13, 2005

Victorian Transport Association

Tony Tamburro, Conundrum Holdings

Victorian Transport Association Luncheon
Topic: Business & Government

The Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Planning, Rob Hulls MP, was asked to detail proposals for owner driver legislation currently being considered by the Bracks’ Government and provide an overview into the current and future activities in these areas of interest.

During his short 10—15 minute presentation, he highlighted a number of statistics concerning freight and owner drivers. This included figures of annual freight tonnage of approximately 200 million of which approximately 98% – 99% is transported by road. Road transport is dominated by small businesses with one or two trucks.

The Government is claiming that there is evidence of low earnings for these small businesses which is resulting in a high level of failures. Fuel costs are a concern and it was suggested that some companies who charge a fuel levy do not pass this on to the transport owner driver.

The Government is suggesting that a levy for fuel be included in the cost of transport. As a consequence, statistics are indicating that owner drivers have the highest insolvency rates.

The legislation currently being considered entails that owner drivers abstain from verbal contracts, that they are referred to as dependant contractors and that they be set up as small businesses. In addition, legislation is recommending the formation of a council to reform the industry and include a means for fast tracking dispute resolutions.

The proposal for dredging the port channel was also briefly mentioned. The Government is proposing committees to consider any impact on the environment before ultimately giving it the green light.

At the conclusion of the Minister’s speech, a host of VTA members placed its full support behind the proposed legislation changes for owner drivers which it hopes will improve conditions for owner drivers and weed out and eliminate draconian behavioural attitudes.

The changes to the OH&S Act will inevitably play a role in any legislation changes. VTA members also indicated that there are a range of projects supported by Government which would benefit the transport industry and one of these is the upgrading of the Western Highway.

Bendigo Forest Management Area Workshop

Bruce McClure, CMPA Public Officer, McClure Earthmoving

I attended a Workshop for the Bendigo Forest Management Area on Thursday 21st April,2005 in Castlemaine. There were three CMPA Members present at this Workshop. The Workshop was designed to give local people an input into the management directions fort he Bendigo Forest.

This Workshop follows on from previous Workshops and Tours, (The Issues & Opportunities Workshop, Family Forest Tours, Biodiversity and Cultural Heritage Workshop, Saw log Trial & Firewood Field Days).

A list of comments made at previous Workshops, Tours and Field Days had been compiled for this meeting. It contained 99different issues and the majority of the issues were positive for future use of the forest, access for all, better maintenance, etc. of the forest.

At the end of the night the Workshop participants were asked to formulate what they saw as the vision for the future management of the forest. The end results were refreshing in that most were practical, reflected a regime where the forest is utilized by all but is bio-diverse.

Environmental issues and utilisation of the resources are all seen as important issues and a way must be discovered for these issues to be resolved and dealt with together.

It was made quite clear by many people at the meeting that there is an expectation that the forest will be available for use by all and that what the local people desire will be listened to and acted upon. It was considered important that the politicians not be allowed to go through the motions of having consultation, but then not listen to the local people, carrying out their own political agendas.

It is very important that all quarry owners who are either affected by these Forest Management Plans or have such concerns, attend these meetings when they are held in their area. It is important that the views of all forest users are put across and are documented. We need to be present.

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