EDITORIAL: Ministers seize the day, but theres work in the months ahead

By: Jason Whittaker


We told them the window was closing. We said they had to seize the day. We pressed on them the

We told them the window was closing. We said they had to seize the day. We pressed on them the need to put aside petty politicking and precious protectionism to launch a truly national, truly borderless transport regulatory map.

And blimey, they actually did it. Or at least started to.

The decision by transport ministers last week to push for a national heavy vehicle drivers’ licence and registration scheme is a landmark agreement, the first tangible sign the politicians actually understand the desperate need for national reforms in transport policy.

The plan raises more questions than answers for trucking operators. Details are sketchy ahead of more backroom work and the next meeting in July.

How and by whom will regulate a unitary licensing and registration office? What will it cost operations, and how will the revenue be divided among states? What will be the new standards for gaining a licence or national number plate? What links will there be with registered training schemes and accreditation programs?

The turf war that ensures could yet derail the ambitious plan. There remain serious concerns about the ability of states to agree to national reforms, and the ability of state departments to drive the policy work.

But licensing and registration would be a terrific start. And it would clear the way for more ambitious reforms, reforms that will really drive up productivity in the industry: harmonising on-road and fatigue rules, and removing borders in higher mass limit maps.

Don’t hold your breath just yet. But the shiny bums might actually get it.

What do you think? Send us your feedback.

You can also follow our updates by joining our LinkedIn group or liking us on Facebook