Draheim talks up national regulations

Project director overseeing the move to national transport regulations give NatRoad Conference and update

By Rob McKay | August 6, 2010

The trucking industry can expect a certain uniformity in laws and regulations but not reform, a senior bureaucrat told the NatRoad conference on the Gold Coast today.

Interim Project Director for the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator Project Angus Draheim was speaking in place of federal Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese, whose appearances at industry forums have fallen victim to the election.

In an address pitched to manage expectation of swift and immediate change, Draheim says: "This isn’t about reforming law, it’s about harmonisation."

However, the regulator will work towards a situation where "if the circumstances are the same, the outcomes will be the same".

He emphasised that the NHVR process would entail meeting the industry in forums big and small but drew a distinction between "engagement", where there are talks with industry, and "consultation", in which the industry is informed of decisions and changes.

Underlining the task ahead for the two years before the regulator is fully operational, Draheim says 364 variations.across jurisdictions had been identified.

These were major and minor, some were technical and others legal and some would require policy decisions.

Tellingly, he made clear that state sovereignty would hold sway in the process if there was a political conflict with the regulator.

However, this will involve a significant divergence in a process that has had bipartisan support at the highest political levels.

On the vexed question of uniform enforcement, Draheim says: "A single set of laws isn’t the whole story, it’s how they are implemented that’s the key."

Uniform enforcement was a major aim "as much as can realistically be conceived".

He did not wish to over-promise because "I know how hard it can be to do that just in Queensland".

While transport inspectors were easier to make changes with than the police, there would be talks on the meaning of the reform with police.

"It’s our ambition, it’s clearly within our ambit," Draheim says.

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