Local conditions must continue under PBS, Tasmania says

PBS should be reformed but governments must retain the power to impose added conditions, Tasmania says

By Brad Gardner | June 21, 2010

Performance based standards should be reformed but governments must retain the power to impose added conditions, Tasmania says.

The Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources has supported a National Transport Commission (NTC) proposal to shift the running of PBS from the states to the national heavy vehicle regulator when it is introduced in 2013.

But the general manager of the department’s strategy division, David Spence, questions the NTC’s proposal for an independent adjudicator to review access decisions.

"The National Transport Commission (NTC) must detail under what circumstances this would be required as ultimately access should always rest with road owners," he says.

"In some instances extended access may require local operating conditions."

Similar to South Australia, Spence cited the need for extra funding to ensure PBS is successful.

"…unless infrastructure issues are addressed more broadly and become a funding priority nationally the scheme will not realise full productivity benefits," he says.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads in Queensland spent $280,000 on a PBS trial from the Port of Brisbane to Toowoomba, west of Brisbane.

Spence also rejected a proposal to allow manufacturers to self-assess vehicles and combinations because it will give them the power to certify designs they have developed or produced.

"Tasmania supports self certification by manufacturers but not self assessment. This must be independent," he says.

Under the NTC’s proposal, manufacturers will be allowed to market PBS-compliant vehicles and to conduct self certifications.

The NTC’s report highlights serious concerns over the running of PBS, claiming operators which have been involved in the scheme have indicated they will not use it again.

"The key deficiency of the current PBS system is in the granting of road access to approved vehicles," the NTC’s report says.

According to the NTC, its proposed reform will deliver greater take-up of PBS, in turn saving 3.75 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and direct financial savings of $5.71 billion.

Compliance costs for an operator with about 12 vehicles will fall from $56,000 to $16,000, the NTC claims.

The feedback from stakeholders will be used by the NTC in its final submission to the Australian Transport Council (ATC) for approval. PBS permits operators to use custom vehicles if they meet stringent safety and design standards.

Related stories:
PBS needs shake-up: NTC
NT supports PBS reforms
ATA backs PBS changes
Feds will only support national scheme: Mrdak

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