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ALRTA releases HVNL review reforms

The long list of HVNL reforms have been welcomed by the ALRTA

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has released the reforms agreed upon by both ministers and industry bodies following a roundtable discussion on the current heavy vehicle national law (HVNL).

The proposals were supported uniformly after being developed by independent consultant Ken Kanofski following government and industry consultations.

The HVNL reforms revolve around maintaining the object of the law to be continuing productivity, with the law to be risk-based and outcomes based.

Under the reforms, there’ll be more detail lowered to regulations and codes of practice as the HVNL adopts a Tasmanian-style access system, while it’s also proposed to explore a business case for opening as-of-right key parts of the National Road Transport Network.

The reform wants to improve PBS and provide more flexibility for the fatigue general schedule, including a 10-hour break reset option, with the idea being floated to possibly expand fatigue laws to include all 4.5t + vehicles.

This means BFM and AFM will essentially become merged so operators can demonstrate better risk management systems to get more flexibility, while fatigue record keeping will be moved to regs to make it easier to change prescriptive requirements with incentives to be added to adopt EWDs.

A change in perspective means fatigue enforcement will focus on immediate risks, not historic offences, with regular reviews of penalties and practices to determine a new approach to overall risk profiling.

When it comes to drivers, the review suggests new fitness to drive requirements and a singular voluntary accreditation system to be run by the NHVR, making a national audit standard.

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Along with raising general access, operators will also be able to rely on official network maps rather than gazette notices as improved data standards can revolutionise the industry.

A new head of power would also be set to establish Heavy Vehicle Safety Obligations, with a new power set for prescriptive requirements and specific offences for off-road parties.

This means monthly registration charges can be considered by all jurisdictions, the codes of practice can be developed by the NHVR rather than industry and vehicle classifications can be moved to regulations.

The last points of the HVNL reform include establishing a delegation of powers to the NHVR board and enforcing a legal requirement for the NHVR to consult industry.  

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