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Allowances divergence in harvest mass management tilt

National scheme backed in submissions to NHVR but range of views on other details


Creating an interstate grain harvester management scheme (GHMS) across regions the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) covers may come down to whether a mass allowance of 5 per cent or 7.5 per cent is agreed.

The NHVR approached the issue last year through a review of the various state schemes and a request for submissions on what a National Harvest Mass Management Scheme (NHMMS) might best look like.

There is quite broad consensus that a ‘national’ scheme is needed and even that the NHVR should oversee it, but a range of views beyond that.

The Grain Transport Safety Network, members of which include Grain Trade Australia (GTA) and the Livestock, Bulk and Rural Carriers Association (LBRCA) NSW, backs 5 per cent.

It has reviewed the submissions and the most important source of friction could be a divergence between the government departments of Queensland, which backs allowances of 7.5 per cent gross and 10 per cent on an axle, and New South Wales, which prefers the former prefers 5 per cent.

Interestingly, a Transport for NSW (TfNSW) report on the 2018-19 harvest recorded “strong level of overall compliance from industry continues to be evident” including that, notwithstanding the overall reduction in the grain freight task due to the drought, the total number of breaches has declined to 3.3 per cent.

And mitigating against a pessimistic outlook, TfNSW is open to negotiation of sorts.

“TfNSW does however support collaboration among states to explore opportunities to streamline, simplify and harmonise requirements of GHMSs to support participation and greater compliance,” its submission states,” it says.

Read how the NHVR pitched the national standards effort, here

“Opportunities to explore include harmonisation of truck codes and a consistent approach to the management of overmass deliveries by PGRs. A harmonised national HMMS notice may represent a longer term aspiration.”

Like the South Australian Freight Council (SAFC), Grain Producers SA is good with 5 per cent tolerance but wants no requirement for registration in a scheme, while the Grains GHMS Working Group is in Queensland’s camp, as is Victoria’s Department of Transport

Organisation Broad Acre Farm Safety likes 5 per cent for simplicity’s sake but Moree Plains Shire Council likely speaks for the rest of local government in critiquing any allowance but accepting 5 per cent.

Any increase in mass limit tolerances would increase unaffordable maintenance costs for locals councils as 5 per cent of the overall government revenue is the budget given, it says. Due to the safety features that PBS compliant vehicles must adhere it can be concluded that the GHMS should only apply from the farm gate to the receivals depot.

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) want the rate at 10 per centto ensure no state suffers from the change and strongly opposes a Victorian limitation on vehicles built before 2002.

The full submissions can be viewed here.


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