By on March 9, 2005

VRFAC Melbourne Forum 2004—report

Every year the Victorian Road Freight Advisory Council organise a series of forums to involve road users with issues affecting freight. The forums are attended by a variety of people including representatives from state and local government bodies, automobile assoc and clubs, truck owner operators and drivers.

Last year, the forum featured a workshop session where council received advice on matters that stakeholders consider warrant attention. The workshop discussions focused on ways to manage the expected growth in the freight task under four key headings, road infrastructure,efficiency and productivity,improving road safety, regulatory measures and reducing the impact on the community. These discussions are summarised as follows:

Road Infrastructure, efficiency and productivity –develop a Melbourne wide road freight network to address traffic congestion particularly at the end of freeways, more rest areas, consideration of truck only lanes, eliminate traffic delays at railway crossings, develop a plan for future freight hubs, introduce reversible lanes, allow B-triples to use freeways, improve lighting on major roads and implement processes to enable Vic Roads to receive road improvement suggestions.

Improving road safetyb – education, consider the compulsory retirement of older trucks, provide more truck parking bays, introduce compulsory annual inspections and consider the use of technology to warn drivers whey due for a rest.

Regulatory measures – provide more flexibility in driving hours, use of log books, the introduction of compulsory road-worthiness testing for trucks, improve the process for issuing over dimensional permits and provide national consistency for mass.

Reducing impact on the community – educate the community on truck access requirements, ban the use of engine brakes in urban areas and make local government more truck friendly and accountable for freight flows in their area.

The VRFAC is working closely with government and other organisations to maintain focus on issues such as speeding, drug and alcohol, fatigue, road design and heavy vehicle safety. It is setting up workshops to view strategies for future proposals. Their goal is to develop road infrastructure that will improve traffic, safety, impact on the community and together with appropriate regulation reduce freight transport problems.

The VRFAC can be contacted via the Council Secretariat Don Hogben who is based at Vic Roads in Kew.

Generic Terms & Conditions Documentation

Mark Wagner, Conundrum Holdings

The CMPA has now developed its General Conditions of Contract document to the point where comments have been sought from outside parties who will be involved with its implementation.

Members will remember that the reason for this project is that in some cases responsibilities and compliances were being passed unfairly from the contractor to the supplier. The draft document has clearly defined the suppliers role and their obligations.

To keep the process moving a meeting was held on the 23rd of December last year at VicRoads Kew.

The CCF, VicRoads and the Extractive Industries Victoria attended.

The purpose of the meeting was for our Consultant Mr Lindsay Coombs to gain comment from these groups regarding the draft document.

At the end of the meeting Mr Dean Zabrieszach (Manager Regional Services) from VicRoads undertook to collate various comments from VicRoads personnel and promised to have them to Lindsay by the 18/03/05.

Dean commented in February, that the draft was a worthwhile initiative on our part and a well structured document. As I am preparing this report we have had the formal response from VicRoads emailed as promised!

The comments that we have received are being considered by Lindsay Coombs, his initial responses seem to indicate that there is not a great deal to consider, VicRoads commented on cemented treated materials. The suggestion is that the Supplier and the Contractor may negotiate a delivery time.

They also felt that the technical requirements should be left out of the CMPA General Conditions Contract document. The supplier should be provided with a copy of technical requirements specified in the Head Contract.

Lindsay has pointed out to me that we would have to clarify whether these would be standard specifications and we will have to clarify this with VicRoads. Lindsay also was pleased that VicRoads had pointed out that we should include any special clauses from the head contract into the general conditions.

Lindsay and I will meet on Thursday the 31st of March to discuss issues that have been raised, and plan our forward strategy.

I have also been in touch with Mr Bob Seiffert Executive Director of the CCF. Bob assured me that we have a positive response from his organizations administration and he is prepared to take this to their Board meeting on the 19th of April. I have undertaken to provide him with a synopsis of the intentions and workings of the agreement by the 8th of April.

It is very important we have the full support of the CCF as most of the contracts our members will need the document for will most likely interacting with a CCF member. It will be much easier for us to gain agreement to commonality of clauses if both parties have confidence in the document.

In conclusion I would like to thank Lindsay Coombs for his tireless efforts in working with all the stakeholders in this process.

He said right from the start this would not be easy!

The reward will be our individual companies supplying with confidence, knowing the agreements they have undertaken a based on a well defined commercial tool.

Let’s get this right and sleep tight at night!

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