Initiatives underway

This month has once again been a very busy month for the VTA. A highlight was celebrating the Australian Freight industry Awards for the 21st time. It was a great night, with many wonderful achievements being acknowledged.

Below are some of the current initiatives that the VTA has been developing. efficiency.

Merv Brunt’s trip to Alice

What a trip! Merv Brunt, aged 75 driving a 75 year old Brockway Truck raising $75,000 for Anam Cara House – a Palliative Respite Care Hospice in South West Victoria.

Merv left Colac on Saturday 21 August and drove 2200km to Alice Springs – arriving on Thursday 26 August – he only had a small hitch with a gear box 200 km short of Alice – on the way home he also had a fire in the dashboard of the truck – but a successful trip with 65 of his fellow Colac peers! Well done Merv.

VTA Technology Group

On 13 September 2010, the VTA Technology Group met and covered many issues.  Mr Peter Bentley (Ex ConnectEast COO) chaired the Group and introduced the concept of co-operative ITS. Other speakers covered 3 Dimensional Maps, SULA and how and who is using it, current status on Electronic Work Diaries and the NTC Telematics Strategy. Other issues raised by over 55 key industry representatives were also debated.

High on the agenda was discussion on the Technology Survey conducted by the VTA in which over 160 responses were received in just over a week.


SafetyAssist is a joint project between the VTA and TWU, funded by Worksafe.

Michael Nealer, Project Manager for SafetyAssist, continues to assist Industry companies with OH&S issues. SafetyAssist has over 30 Freight and Logistic Companies on its “Help” agenda covering issues with training and loading/unloading risks. Michael says that he works at all levels in companies to provide guidance and support and the service is free with subsidies if the need is identified.

Any company interested in talking to Michael can contact him on 0418 581 211 or at the VTA on 03 9646 859.


On 9 August the 27 foundation partners in EcoStation held a Celebratory Dinner at the Melbourne Athenaeum Club. Guests included the Chairman of the Environment Protection Authority, Cheryl Batagol and Mr John Merritt, Chief Executive Officer. The guest Speaker was Mr Paul Tebo, who is a Global Thought Leader in Sustainable Growth.

The following day Mr Tebo led a VTA/Customer workshop on how to get the supply chain partners to change the way business is conducted.

On 18 and 20 August, the EcoStaton Fleet Assessment Tool was workshopped, demonstrating the new emissions calculator and scenario tool for fleets.

EcoStation will shortly be calling for expressions of interest to participate in the initiative – contact Bob Wright at the VTA at or phone 03 9646 8590.

People Group

On Monday 25 August the inaugural meeting of the VTA “People Group” was held.  This meeting brought together a wonderfully diverse group of managers in the “people” area of the industry.

The group has been formed to address attraction, retention, workforce planning, education and training and industry promotional issues.

An outcome of the meeting was that the VTA could run workshops to keep the industry abreast of changes in this area.

Focus groups will be formed to deal with the big picture issues such as driver shortages and recruitment of young people.

If you would like to participate please contact Kerri Langes at the VTA on


The VTA continues its campaign to obtain major changes in the pallet management process. The Victorian Small Business Commissioner is chairing a business improvement process to identify all the industry issues and concerns regarding pallets. Following an initial hearing in April 2010, a working party was established to work in more detail – this working group met on 19 August and again on 16 September.

The VTA has clearly stated that we want an industry Code of Practice, a proper disputes process and an Industry Ombudsman.

Fair Work Ombudsman

The Fair Work Ombudsman recently prosecuted the Hamilton based Ron Priddle Transport & Logistics Pty Ltd – the first defendant – and its sole director, Ronald Harold Priddle – the second defendant, for alleged breaches of various transport awards in the company:

? Underpaid an employee’s wages by around $5,000.00
? Did not pay living away from home allowance (LAFHA)
? Did not pay loading and unloading time
? Did not pay annual leave or leave loading

The matter also involved a failure on behalf of the Defendants to comply with request for Records issued by the Fair Work Ombudsman. The prosecution went ahead despite the fact that the underpayment plus interest was rectified by the First Defendant on 17 June 2010.

The Defendants admitted liability by way of an Agreed Statement of Facts so the matter proceeded by way of hearing on penalty only.

The matter was determined in the Victorian Magistrates Court on 22 July 2010 and the Magistrate awarded a penalty of $25,000 against the First Defendant and $5000 against the Second Defendant.

In awarding the penalty, the Magistrate commented that he was troubled by the Defendant’s lack of attention and responsiveness to the FWO’s requests from August 2008 to December 2009.

Philip Lovel AM

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