The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has welcomed the announcement by Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport, Jackie Trad, that Electronic Work Diary use will be on a voluntary basis only.


Minister Trad made the statement in her second reading comments on the Heavy Vehicle National Law Amendment Bill 2015, which was passed by the Queensland Parliament yesterday.


“I must stress that the adoption of electronic work diaries is voluntary. It provides operators in the industry with a choice to either adopt this emerging technology or continue, as they currently do, with the paper based system,” Deputy Premier Trad said.


“This is about providing flexibility for the industry to choose the approach that fits best and recognises that there can be significant differences from one road transport operator to another.”


ATA Chief Executive Officer Christopher Melham welcomed the announcement.


“Although electronic work diaries offer great advantages for some businesses, installing them would be an unnecessary cost for small operators and businesses that only operate heavy vehicles occasionally,” Mr Melham said.


Mr Melham said the risk of facing a stricter EWD regulatory regime could also deter some operators from swapping over their paper work diaries, despite the potential reduction in red tape.


“The Heavy Vehicle National Law requires drivers of fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles to fill out work diaries to record their work and rest hours. The time periods in the existing paper work diaries are recorded in 15 minute blocks, and are hand-written by the driver,” Mr Melham said.


“The electronic diaries approved under this Bill automatically round to the nearest one minute interval, with a tolerance for small work time breaches of eight minutes in a 24 hour period. There is no tolerance for errors in rest times.


“I welcome the NTC’s commitment to review the treatment of small work time breaches after two years. This review is essential in order to make sure that EWD users are not subject to a stricter regulatory regime than those who use the paper diaries.”