NatRoad pledges support...with conditions

NatRoad backs national truck regulator, but wants conditions imposed on it to ensure its effectiveness

NatRoad pledges support...with conditions
NatRoad pledges support…with conditions
December 21, 2010

The Australian economy will receive a boost of $1.7 billion following the formation of a National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), NatRoad believes.

The industry association has released its policy position on proposed national heavy vehicle laws, supporting the move toward national regulation of the heavy vehicle sector.

NatRoad President Rob McIntosh says the National Transport Commission will release a draft Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) on proposed national laws for the heavy vehicle industry in February.

"The modern reality is that road transport is a borderless industry burdened by multiple layers of commonwealth, state and territory regulation," McIntosh says.

"The establishment of a National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to administer heavy vehicle laws is a sensible approach to reducing red tape and improving the productivity of an industry at the heart of the national economy."

Under the reforms, the regulator will be based in Queensland with offices across the nation. Queensland Parliament will be responsible for passing legislation, while other jurisdictions will need to approve similar laws to ensure national consistency.

"Australian governments of all persuasions should continue to support this initiative," McIntosh says.

"The release of the RIS will be an important milestone in the move towards national regulation, helping to inform the road transport industry of the likely impacts of consolidating heavy vehicle regulations."

While pledging its support, NatRoad has listed issues it says must be addressed. This includes reducing the level of bureaucracy while promoting consistency and giving the regulator the powers to deal with policy and enforcement matters and local variations.

"The trucking industry should be able to consider and comment on model legislation prior to the release of the RIS or final consideration by government decision makers," NatRoad says.

"Once established, the NHVR must engage with industry on a regular and ongoing basis to ensure new policy issues can be identified and dealt with cooperatively."

NatRoad wants an assurance that the regulator will show how it plans to deliver on its responsibilities and ensure administrative decisions are transparent and open to internal and independent appeal.

The industry group has also indicated support for changes to existing enforcement practices, namely that good operators should be rewarded.

"The consolidated laws should encourage and reward safer practices in preference to the current punitive approach that imposes mandatory penalties for inadvertent minor breaches and acts to disenfranchise the industry," NatRoad says.

It wants the consolidated laws to be reviewed against the intended outcomes after one year of the regulator beginning work.

Governments have agreed the regulator will be operating by 2013. Work is currently underway to resolve existing cross-border legislative differences such as enforcement practices and mass maintenance.

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