AUSTRALIA'S national livestock carriers association wants the entire meat supply chain to take a greater role in stopping animal waste inadvertently escaping from stock trucks.
Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) president Mat Munro said the group had put in a submission to the National Transport Commission (NTC) calling for graziers and abattoirs to take more responsibility for the issue.
"Livestock carriers are being held solely and unfairly responsible for the acts and omissions of other parties in the supply chain – namely, the person or entity responsible for preparing livestock for transport," Mr Munro said.
The commission was consulting on the 'chain of responsibility' for containment and disposal of livestock effluent, penalties and the onus of proof around breaches. Under the law animals were defined as 'goods'.
Mr Munro said waste which escaped from a stock truck was being penalised as a "load restraint breach".
"We are advised that the main barrier to prosecution under the current laws is the uncertainty about whether or not a person preparing animals for transport is a party in the chain of responsibility as defined under the Heavy Vehicle National Laws," the ALRTA submission said.
"Our submission to the NTC argues strongly for changes to the construct of the definition of consignor and packer to remove any doubt."
"While the drivers are being infringed on the road, there is very little they can do about it."
Millions of dollars were being spent on new abattoirs and saleyards but in many cases, required dumping points or truck washes were not included because operators were not legally required to include them.
Livestock and Rural Transporters Association Victoria president John Beer said while police in Victoria did not take a heavy handed approach, the issue needed to be resolved.
"Cattle buyers and feedlotters are buying them full – getting them delivered to the saleyards full – to get them weighed," Mr Beer said.
"A 12 hour curfew or overnight curfew (on feeding animals) would solve the problem.
"A five per cent addition to the weight of the animals, could then be applied at the saleyards – we can't make the effluent tanks on trucks any bigger."
Victoria police Heavy Vehicle Unit head Senior Sergeant Wayne Culley said police would issue infringements on load breaches "based on their merits."
Livestock Transporters Association of Tasmanian president Spencer Griggs said there was a need for more truck washes throughout the state and a dump point at the Powranna, Tas saleyards.
"The biggest problem is liveweight selling – they don't want to lock 'em up too long because they will lose too much weight," Mr Griggs said.
Police periodically blitzed carriers who breached the law.
Roberts Limited Livestock Manager Warren Johnston said the Northern Midlands Council was working through issues surrounding the setting up of a truck wash and effluent dump at Powranna.
He said Roberts had made land available at Powranna and put in infrastructure to enable to the construction of a truck wash at the saleyards.
"At the end of the day, we want to work together," Mr Johnston said.
He said it would cost about $400,000 to build and could be finished within a couple of months.
He said there was a need for more dumping points and truck washes, with many closed in recent years.
The Tasmanian Government was working with the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association to identify sites for truck washes.
TFGA president Wayne Johnston said between three and five truck washes were expected to be built, across Tasmania.
"We are actively encouraging the government to follow through on the proposal, and the Minister (Jeremy Rockliff) has assured me he is listening to what we are telling him," Mr Johnston said.
"There is certainly a demand for them."
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