INDUSTRY SAY: Don't fear IAP, just grant us access

Scaremongering over IAP must stop, the VTA's Neil Chambers says. The issue is about road access

September 25, 2009

The scaremongering over the Intelligent Access Program (IAP) must stop, the Victorian Transport Association's (VTA) Neil Chambers says. The issue it not about technology but about road access.

ATN reported on the passage of IAP legislation in South Australia yesterday, including comments from Family First's Dennis Hood who rejected the need for IAP and criticised the VTA's position. Here, in a letter to Hood, Chambers outlines the case for IAP and better road access.

Dear Mr Hood,

We refer to comments made by you in the SA Legislative Council yesterday (22/9) in relation to the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill, and specifically on the issue of the implementation of IAP in South Australia.

For your reference and record, we enclose a copy of the original VTA letter to Minister Conlon in support of the SA legislation. You will note that the support offered by the VTA was based on the understanding that the SA Government would not apply IAP retrospectively to existing heavy vehicle access arrangements, and that IAP application to new access regimes would be voluntary. Both of these understandings were confirmed by the SA Government and repeated in the opening remarks by [Minister Gail] Gago when moving the Bill in the Legislative Council yesterday.

You stated in your intervention that you had been "reliably informed" that IAP only applies to cranes in Victoria. This is not correct.

The Victorian Government has now made the application of IAP a condition for the two-year trial of High Productivity Freight Vehicles in Victoria (HPFVs - up to 30m B-double combinations), including in the Green Triangle region in south-west Victoria (bordering south-east South Australia). This is one of the reasons why the VTA supported the implementation of IAP in SA to ensure that there were opportunities for consistent regulatory outcomes for the access of high productivity vehicles where there will be a huge productivity benefits for key industry sectors and economies. Noske Group, a company mentioned in Parliament, is a supporter of the legislation for that exact reason, as are other transport companies and major freight generators in SA and Victoria.

You also stated in the debate yesterday that (again) you were "reliably informed" that "there are a number of members of the VTA (both large and small) within Victoria itself, that are openly rebelling against the VTA's position with respect to their latest communication to the South Australian government on this issue".

You did not do us the courtesy of checking your facts before making such a statement, instead seemingly relying blindly on so called "reliable" sources. All we can tell you is that we have not witnessed any "open rebellion" by our members. In fact, no member of the VTA has contacted the VTA Secretariat to indicate a categorical opposition to the policy position taken by the VTA.

All we can do is question the reliability of your source of information, and suggest that you might want to question the reliability of any further information you receive from that source in the future.

Lastly, you mentioned in your intervention that the VTA has been critical of IAP applications in other jurisdictions. In this you are correct, and, importantly, this goes to the numb of the whole debate on IAP.

The VTA does not "fear" the implementation of legislation in each jurisdiction to give each state/territory governments the ability to apply IAP as a regulatory tool. The critical points that the VTA has made nationally have been in relation to the decisions of governments to apply IAP in what we consider to be an inappropriate manner (such as the retrospective application of IAP as a condition of access for higher mass limit vehicles in New South Wales and Queensland).

At the end of the day, the focus should not be on IAP. The focus should be on governments (at all levels) working with the transport industry and freight generators (those who ultimately create the economic wealth and create jobs, and therein support families) to achieve ways of meeting the growing and significant road freight task in a more productive and sustainable manner.

This includes ways of achieving broader access to road networks by new, innovative and safer higher productivity vehicle designs that provide economic benefits to industry, while addressing regulatory certainly for governments who want to see that valuable road infrastructure is protected.

Is IAP a necessary evil to standardise access requirements? What have been your difficulties in achieving access under IAP, or working with councils and road authorities generally? Have your say below, e-mail your off-the-record tips or join the debate on Twitter by following @atnmag.

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