National regulator push: States had their chance and failed

By: Jason Whittaker

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) supports the idea of a unitary regulator for the trucking industry, but only if it

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) supports the idea of a unitary regulator for the trucking industry, but only if it doesn’t turn into "an agreement to develop more model legislation or a solemn promise by the states and territories to do better on regulation in the future".

"They’ve had their chance and failed," Chairman Trevor Martyn declared after an ATA General Council meeting last week.

Transport ministers will consider a proposal for, according to federal minister Anthony Albanese, a "single national system for the regulation of heavy vehicles" at their next meeting on July 4.

Ministers have already agreed on the need for a national system for drivers’ licencing and heavy vehicle registration as part of the reform agenda.

The ATA has decided to support that proposal but will deliver to ministers a set of ‘policy principles’ it says need to underpin any new system.

Martyn says the industry needs a national regulator with branches throughout the country.

"It must put in place common rules across Australia to maximise the efficiency and safety of road freight," he says.

"The rules will need to facilitate innovation by the trucking industry, must not be dependent on the use of on-board technology and must avoid the most unnecessarily burdensome of the rules currently in place.

He says there will need to be special rules to take into account the unique circumstances the industry faces in remote areas and in Western Australia.

"In particular, those rules will need to maintain the current regional, remote and state based mass, access and other concessions under a no disadvantage test," he says.

"Importantly, the national regulator will need to put in place a uniform solution on fatigue management that takes into account the unique characteristics of operations in Western Australia and other remote areas.

"There will need to be arrangements for the trucking industry at local level to have input into the development and implementation of the common rules, as well as road access issues, regardless of who owns and funds the road in question."

More on the push for a national regulator and what it may mean for operators in the July edition of ATN magzaine.

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