ATC backs tachographs, NTC review

A review of the NTC has been agreed to, as ministers back tachographs and changes to PBS applications

By Brad Gardner

A review of the National Transport Commission (NTC) has been agreed to, as ministers back tachographs and changes to Performance Based Standards (PBS) applications.

The Australian Transport Council (ATC)—made up of the nation’s transport ministers—is eager to introduce an electronic truck monitoring system.

It has agreed to develop a regulatory framework in 2009 on the tachographs, which are capable of monitoring speed and fatigue.

The federal and NSW governments and the NTC will play a lead role, with a regulatory impact statement to be developed by mid 2009.

The ATC also endorsed the terms of reference and timetable for the review of the NTC.

The ministers, who met in Adelaide, appointed Bruce Wilson to head the review. Wilson is a former director-general of Queensland Transport.

"An issues paper including the terms of reference and seeking input to the review will be available in late December 2008," the communiqué from the meeting says.

Amendments to the running of the PBS review panel were also supported, with ministers agreeing to give it greater discretion when considering applications.

"These amendments respond to industry and jurisdictional concerns that greater flexibility is needed in the PBS scheme," the communiqué says.

During the meeting, ministers agreed there had been significant gains in heavy vehicle regulatory reforms based on the NTC’s review of PBS standards and the introduction of fatigue management laws on September 29.

The NTC’s review into PBS standards will be part a regulatory impact statement that will propose an improved regulatory structure and help prepare a model PBS legislation package.

The latest ATC meeting was held in Adelaide. The broad agenda included moves to national transport regulations, safety, supply chain performance and maritime standards.

In order to reduce maritime inconsistencies, ministers agreed to national standards for navigation and fire safety equipment and safety equipment requirements for emergency position beacons for commercial vessels.

The ATC also supported an amendment list to allow state and territory jurisdictions to transition to national standards without having to amend current legislation.

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