Jurisdictions fight to keep variations over national approach

Top bureaucrat claims jurisdictions are fighting to keep state-specific variations, as work continues on national regulations

Jurisdictions fight to keep variations over national approach
Jurisdictions fight to keep variations over national approach
By Brad Gardner | May 28, 2010

The federal government is fighting against a push to water down national truck regulations, with claims jurisdictions are trying to cling to state-specific variations.

Nationals senators Fiona Nash and John Williams used budget estimates hearings this week to call for the abolishment of cross-border anomalies to be fast-tracked.

The secretary of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Mike Mrdak, says work is being done to resolve differences through the establishment of the national heavy vehicle regulator.

"But there is certainly a view within a number of jurisdictions that would argue for retaining variations. We have constantly got to keep pushing to get a single national approach, which lifts productivity and does not just lower it."

Nash cited the problems truck drivers face carting hay bales, saying the width of a stack is 3 metres in Victoria but 2.83 metres in NSW.

Williams says livestock operators face "a huge problem" in northern NSW because they get to the Queensland border and need to unload up to 15 percent of their stock to comply.

"Is there any chance of this being done quickly, so far as some of these inconsistencies about livestock loading and hay loading go, as Senator Nash has mentioned?," Williams says.

"We are trying to do that as part of this [national regulator] work," Mrdak says.

"Work is continuing, but I think that is probably the best way I can put it."

However, Mrdak says jurisdictions are looking closely at inconsistent regulations to determine how they might resolve differences as they move toward a national system.

The regulator will be established in Queensland in 2013 and will have offices throughout Australia.

Queensland’s parliament will be responsible for passing laws and other states will be bound by them.

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