2024 Tasmanian State Election - TTA's Transport Industry Priorities

Transport and Logistics operators serving Tasmania face key challenges to safety, productivity, and sustainability. With a 65% projected increase in freight volumes from 2012 to 2035, it is vital that we act now to underpin Tasmania's future.

An essential service provider, transport and logistics activities enable economic growth, Tasmanian businesses, communities, and the standard of living for all Tasmanians. Transport and logistics is the backbone of the Tasmanian economy, facilitating growth in key sectors of construction, agriculture, aquaculture, mining, forestry, and exports.
As an island state, an efficient freight network within Tasmania, both road and rail, and connections with intra and interstate ports and freight hubs is critical to the continued
prosperity of Tasmania.  Most freight within Tasmania is carried by road – by heavy vehicles – but rail is vitally important to ensure a resilient linehaul network. Tasmania’s freight task continues to increase, enabling Tasmania’s post-COVID recovery and underpinning growth in the Tasmanian economy, including in emerging sectors of renewable energy and hydrogen.
It is vital Tasmania has the conditions, people and infrastructure to facilitate safe, productive, and efficient transport activities – for the benefit of all Tasmanians.

Workforce pressures including a severe shortage of skilled and professional drivers, mechanics, and operational staff is continuing to impact Tasmanian freight transport businesses.
Poor Mental and physical health and wellbeing remain a challenge to workforce attraction, development and retention.
Sustainability is a strong focus, with the transport industry a target sector for decarbonisation and the Tasmanian Climate Change Action priorities.
99% of cargo moves in and out of Tasmania by sea. Efficient connections at ports and infrastructure for feeder routes are critical to minimise congestion and allow for increased
throughput. We must protect key freight corridors and hubs and provide facilities needed by industry for safety and productivity.





The TTA expects that without urgent action, the combination of limited new entrants to the industry and the rapid retirement of older workers from the workforce, accelerated through COVID-19 pressures, the current workforce and skills shortage will translate to a critical skills crisis impacting Tasmanian businesses, communities, and the Tasmanian economy.

  • Transport & Logistics is the oldest workforce in Tasmania with nearly 60% of workers aged 45 years and older, with the average age of a truck driver more than 55 years.
  • Tasmania’s Integrated Freight Strategy projects a 65% increase in the land freight task to 2035; most of which will be borne by road.
  • Road freight businesses are reporting serious workforce shortages, with a driver shortage estimated at 10% of the current driver workforce.
  • The Tasmanian industry has a high reliance on industry-led workforce development and a low engagement with formal vocational education and training.

TTA recommends the Tasmanian government:

  • support TTA to establish and coordinate an industry-led comprehensive professional heavy vehicle driver development model, incorporating heavy vehicle driver licence training and assessment. The program to use industry based qualified trainers and assessors, contemporary high quality resources, and provide professional driver graduates with the safety and operational skills and knowledge required by employers and expected by the Tasmanian community
  • support TTA’s workforce development project including project officer and campaign for a 2 year period



The TTA’s Report into the need for new and improved heavy vehicle driver rest area facilities along key freight routes identifies that Tasmania does not meet national guidelines and makes 38 recommendations for optimised rest area facilities in Tasmania.

  • Tasmanian truck drivers need regularly spaced facilities adjacent to state roads, accessible by heavy vehicles, to safely take breaks and check loads, to manage fatigue and meet regulated work/rest requirements.
  • Access to toilets is an essential basic human right not available to truck drivers on the Bass and Midland Highways and toilets have not been included in recent upgrades to rest areas.
  • The Bass Highway, between Deloraine to Westbury, has forecast freight volumes projected to increase from 3.5 Million Tonnes (MT) in 2015 to 6.0 MT in 2035; a 71% increase
    in freight volumes for this area of the network. By 2035, the Midland Highway, south of Perth, is forecast to for a 60% increase freight volume from 2.3 to 3.7 MTs.

TTA recommends the Tasmanian government:

TTA recommends the Tasmanian Government prioritise action to establish rest area facilities consistent with the Tasmanian Heavy Vehicle Driver Rest Area Strategy.

Priorities include:

  • build and maintain toilets accessible for drivers of heavy vehicles on freight routes including Longford and Howth Rest Areas build Class 2 rest areas with toilets on the Bass Highway between Deloraine and Westbury (duplicated each direction)
  • work with commercial operators already supporting truck drivers to enhance facilities for driver rest and access to amenities – eg Epping Forest
  • fund further route evaluations and rest area development prioritised through the HV Driver Rest Area Reference Group



Tasmania’s climate change legislation establishes a requirement for a transport sector Emissions Reduction and Resilience Plan, to support a practical and balanced approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience to climate change. Opportunities for emissions reduction and resilience in this sector need to be considered in the context of the increasing demand for freight services and freight task where the majority of freight movement in Tasmania is borne by road, the lifecycle of diesel and ICE vehicles in Tasmania, and the horizon for alternatives.

  • The Tasmanian Transport and Logistics industry recognises the need to take action on climate change, including emissions reduction and decarbonisation.
  • There is an uncertain horizon for the availability of alternate energy (electric or hydrogen) freight vehicles, the enabling infrastructure, and the effectiveness for application to the Tasmanian freight task is unknown and untested.
  • The cost of new and emerging technologies as alternatives to diesel ICE vehicles is in the quantum of up to 4 times greater than the current technology and any increase in the cost of freight movements has a direct impact on the Tasmanian economy.
  • Tasmania has the oldest heavy vehicle fleet in the nation and any transition must recognise the duty life of a heavy vehicle.

TTA recommends the Tasmanian Government prioritise action to establish a long term transition plan to support the transport industry to achieve emissions reduction, balancing community expectations with increased freight costs arising from decarbonisation demands.

This plan must consider:

  • a staged transition including the use of renewable or biodiesel fuels
  • application of alternate energy vehicles to the Tasmanian freight task
  • infrastructure requirements and competency development to support introduction of alternate energy vehicles
  • a structural adjustment program to incentivise adoption of vehicles and technology providing emissions reduction in transport activities.


Mental health is a significant issue for the Australian road transport and logistics industries. Risk factors such as long hours, workplace isolation, pressure to meet delivery schedules and the need for continual alertness while operating heavy machinery all contribute to making those in the transport, postal and warehousing industries extremely vulnerable to mental health issues

  • The profile of physical health of truck drivers in Australia is poor. Truck drivers are more likely to be overweight, report poor general health and be diagnosed with multiple chronic health conditions compared to the rest of the population
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for truck drivers aged under 39 years.
  • Half of Australia’s truck drivers suffer psychological distress
  • Truck drivers are 13 times more likely to die at work than any other Australian worker, and in Tasmania the industry accounts for the second highest number of deaths amongst all industries
  • In Tasmania, workers are likely to be injured at work due to body stressing, slips, trips and falls, and being hit by moving objects.

The TTA has established “Open Road”, a mental and physical health and wellbeing program – funded by the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and the Tasmanian transport industry. Open Road is delivered in partnership with Rural Alive and Well. This program is resourced until December 2024.

The TTA recommends the Tasmanian Government provide dedicated support for the transport industry through funding to RAW, to continue the work of Open Road in raising awareness, developing capacity, and providing direct intervention to improve the mental and physical health of our essential transport workers.



Road safety is a high priority for transport operators and drivers in both road and rail sectors, for the health, safety and wellbeing of industry members and other road users.

  • For professional heavy vehicle drivers and for train drivers, the road is part of their workplace.
  • Road and rail businesses in Tasmania provide significant training and support to ensure the competency of road and rail drivers however have limited capacity to influence the understanding of other road users of the operational and physical limitations of trucks and trains, or to influence these road users to adapt their driving behaviours to maintain safe practices around trucks and trains.
  • In crashes with trucks resulting in a fatality, light vehicles are the at-fault party 80% of the time.
  • Incidents at level crossings are a regular and significant issue for train drivers and TasRail.

TTA recommends the Tasmanian government:

  • review level crossing safety and upgrades to level crossings on key Tasmanian routes, for example grade
    separation on the Midland Highway at Conara Junction
  • focus on safety around heavy vehicles as a component in novice driver training and assessment
  • focus on safety at level crossings as a component in novice driver training and assessment.


An efficient freight network within Tasmania, both road and rail, and connections with intra and interstate ports and freight hubs, is critical to the continued economic prosperity of Tasmanian businesses and the standards of living for all Tasmanians.


  • 99% of freight in or out of Tasmania is via sea, through one of Tasmania’s ports
  • efficient connections for both road and rail at ports is critical to freight productivity
  • access to the road network by high productivity vehicles including PBS configurations is essential for improved
    freight efficiency and safety
  • the Tasmanian Heavy Vehicle Access Management System effectively presents as a single road manager and provides optimum access for SPV and OSOM within road manager risk appetite, eliminating up to
    90% of permit applications – this needs to be extended to cover all freight combinations
  • livestock carriers need regularly spaced effluent dump facilities to support animal welfare, biosecurity, and road user amenity

TTA recommends the Tasmanian Government:

  • identify constraints with and establish a strategy for infrastructure upgrades to ensure optimum access to Tasmanian ports (Burnie, Devonport, Bell Bay) for both road and rail connections
  • establish livestock effluent dumps on key freight routes servicing livestock transport, particularly Bass and Midland Highways, in vicinity of ports
  • accelerate the development pathway for the Tasmanian Heavy Vehicle Access Management System to eliminate permits and provide best possible and safe access on Tasmanian networks, supporting road managers to enable the uptake of safer more efficient and more productive freight vehicles on Tasmanian roads.