SA wants focus on fatigue and inspections

South Australia lists differences in fatigue management and heavy vehicle inspections as top concerns in move to national regulations

By Brad Gardner | July 13, 2010

Cross-border fatigue management differences and heavy vehicle inspection policies must be resolved before the move to national regulations, South Australia says.

The Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure has listed both issues as priorities ahead of the 2013 introduction of the national heavy vehicle regulator, which will streamline transport laws to reduce the administrative burden on the trucking industry.

As the WA Transport Forum advocates a state-based fatigue management scheme, the DTEI wants those overseeing the establishment of the regulator to look at rest and work hour requirements.

"SA has adopted the agreed nationally approved fatigue law, but not all states support particular aspects of this law, for example the use of short rest breaks and split-rest breaks in standard driving hours," a DTEI spokesperson says.

The department is also keen on looking at the 16-hour driving limit under advanced fatigue management, which Victoria scrapped in favour of 15 hours.

The future of annual inspections should also be considered, according to the DTEI.

"Some jurisdictions require all heavy vehicles to undergo annual inspections, while others, including SA take a more risk-based approach and only require particular types of vehicle to undergo annual inspections," the spokesperson says.

"Transport ministers agreed that an expert panel would be established to investigate these issues and come up with options that can be discussed as part of a regulatory impact statement that will be released publicly late this year."

A board was announced last month to supervise the project team responsible for establishing the regulator.

The board is chaired by Main Roads WA Managing Director Menno Henneveld and includes representatives from the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority, VicRoads, Queensland Transport and Main Roads and the National Transport Commission.

Although South Australia, like Tasmania and the territories, is not part of the board the DTEI spokesperson says it will still be involved in the establishment of the regulator.

"To advise and support the board, a jurisdiction reference group has also been established with a representative from each jurisdiction," the spokesperson says.

DTEI Executive Director of Safety and Regulation Phil Allan will represent South Australia and is also chairing the reference group.

The spokesperson says all jurisdictions agreed to limit the number of board appointments because they considered a small group would be more effective in working toward national laws.

The regulator will be based in Queensland with offices throughout Australia.

Queensland will be responsible for passing laws through its parliament, with other jurisdictions then introducing legislation to ensure national consistency.

Nationals senators Fiona Nash and John Williams earlier this year highlighted cross-border differences plaguing rural trucking operators.

Nash says those carting hay bales in Victoria are given a width of three metres but are forced to scale back to 2.83 metres when crossing over to NSW.

Williams says NSW livestock carriers face "a huge problem" when entering Queensland because they need to unload up to 15 percent of their stock to comply with that state’s loading requirements.

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