Ministerial statement on Cootes Transport

Ministerial statement on Cootes Transport

20 March 2014

You will recall that 14 days ago I arose in this House to make a Ministerial statement on a show cause notice served on Cootes Transport.

Today I would like to provide an update to the House on the status of the NSW Government’s ongoing enforcement and compliance program with regard to the Cootes Transport fleet.

Firstly, I would like to acknowledge the comprehensive and broad program of works being undertaken by Roads and Maritime Services and the NSW Police in respect to the heavy vehicle industry generally.

This unfortunate situation in which we have had to act has been difficult in the extreme for all involved, but I stand firm in my previous statements to the House that I will not compromise the safety of road users in NSW.

This means unsafe trucks will be taken off NSW roads.

On March 6 this year I stood in this House and announced that RMS issued to Cootes a Notice to Show Cause – Suspension of Registration as a result of the on-going issues identified with the fleet since October petrol tanker crash on Mona Vale Road.

The Notice demanded Cootes show cause why RMS should not suspend the registration of each NSW registered fuel tanker.

It also required Cootes to demonstrate to the regulator that the company could manage the safety and roadworthiness of its fleet.

The company was given 14 days to respond and to take steps to rectify its safety and compliance issues.

Today the company responded and sent to RMS its corrective action plan in which Cootes will:

  • Decommission 50 older units which will also be removed from their Transport of Dangerous Goods licence;
  • Purchase or bring in new prime movers and tankers for its NSW Fleet;
  • A review and implementation of an improved maintenance capability and function, increasing the focus on brake, steering and suspension components.
  • In-house maintenance will be reviewed by an independent third party approved by RMS;
  • Externally serviced and repaired vehicles will undergo a final check by Cootes’ workshops including checks on brakes, suspension and steering components, and oil leaks;
  • Retrofitting ESC - Electronic Stability Control - to all vehicles 5 years ahead of the EPA deadline;
  • Implementing feedback processes for their maintenance systems to ensure quality expectations are met;
  • Increased “on-road” checks of vehicles by drivers and operators such as soapy water leak tests on LPG tankers for each shift; and
  • Implementing new training and standard operating procedures to ensure staff are aware of their obligations in detecting and reporting defects.

The Cootes corrective action plan and commitment means it will be allowed to continue operations within NSW for the time being.

I am encouraged to know the company has taken sensible action to address the issues.

I am particularly encouraged by the Board’s commitment to ensuring the company carries out the agreed program of corrective works.

But it is not a time to be complacent…the company is aware that should compliance issues continue to be detected, action will be reinstated to ensure the safety of all road users.

Note: To ensure that these vehicles, if they are unsafe, do not return to service elsewhere without being checked for safety, all the vehicle identification numbers (VIN) will be tracked and shared as appropriate with other jurisdictions.

View original statement (PDF).

Share this page: