Summary of ATHRA Meeting (23/11/19)

On 04/12/2019, in News, by ATRQ Admin

At the recent ATRQ AGM, a number of concerns were raised about the proposed Amalgamation into the national T&H Body ATHRA. Despite the concerns, a motion to transition towards an amalgamation was carried by the meeting – the details of which can be found in the meeting minutes posted (or soon will be) on this site. At our meeting, an undertaking was to attend the ATHRA general meeting that was being held in Brisbane a fortnight after ours, and that a summary of the meeting was to be reported back to the Queensland Membership. This summary also contains some impressions taken from the meeting.

Some Queensland members were dubious about the ability for half the ATHRA board members to be appointed, rather than voted into board positions. The scenario specifically raised was that a disparate number of representatives could be appointed from one specific state, to drive home very state based agendas. There is simply no evidence of this. The purpose of the appointed positions is to access experts from either the sector or industry for their skills in dealing with challenges or issues that might affect the sector. It gives the chairperson of a major working party or subcommittee an opportunity for a seat on the board and with that, the ability to drive policy direction and decisions with an appropriate level of authority. It should be noted that with the ONRSR now being a fully national regulator with the recent inclusion of Victoria, the issues affecting the T&H sector are no longer state based issues, but have become national issues. It is only sensible that a national approach be taken to address the challenges facing the sector.

Some Queensland members voiced frustration about the failed undertakings regarding consultation for amendments to the ATHRA constitution. ATHRA acknowledges the tardiness, citing resourcing issues to progress with this. At the meeting there was an assurance that a constitutional review consultation document will be released in the next couple of months.

Another Queensland concern was the capacity for ATHRA to levy amounts from members. While this was raised during the the Queensland Transition Brief there it was not specifically addressed with any assurances. However an observation from the meeting was that this avenue of obtaining funds was not actively explored where there was an identified need to fund a particular activity. To be monitored during the transition.

The most striking thing from the meeting was the interaction between ONRSR and ATHRA with regards to consultation relating to brewing issues and proposed changes to National Law and reporting procedures. This simply no longer happens at state level – as ONRSR actively seek engagement with the national body for input and comment on looming changes. Examples include:

  • Fatigue Guidelines
  • SMS Draft Template
  • Rail Safety Induction package
  • Data Strategy
  • Streamlining Reporting requirements

Finally, ATHRA has self identified that its ability to communicate with the broader membership is poor. This was raised as a concern at the ATRQ meeting, with some explicit examples given. To their credit, ATHRA is very self aware of this shortcoming, and also with that of a centralised system of document management and record control. I volunteered my organisation to assist with developing systems that will improve this aspect and is being done in collaboration with the ATHRA System Admin.

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