Loading scheme, access conditions safe under national regs

Queensland will retain its Grain Harvest Management Scheme and existing access conditions for multi-combination vehicles under national regulations

By Brad Gardner | November 16, 2011

Queensland will retain its Grain Harvest Management Scheme and existing access conditions for multi-combination vehicles once national regulations begin.

Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk has confirmed the two state-specific schemes will continue as local productivity variations once all the states switch to a single set of regulations on January 1, 2013.

Designed to recognise difficulties in accurately calculating bulk commodities, the grain scheme allows accredited trucking operators to exceed gross mass limits.

Queensland also takes a more progressive approach than other states on access conditions for multi-combination vehicles, including granting B-triples the use of the type 1 road train network.

"The national law will allow for existing local productivity initiatives such as these to continue, with an added benefit to industry being that the [National Heavy Vehicle] Regulator will assess the benefits of applying local productivity initiatives across other jurisdictions," Palaszczuk says.

She yesterday introduced the Heavy Vehicle National Law Bill into the state’s parliament, which is due to pass before March 31 next year. A second bill will be introduced in mid-2012 to make technical and policy amendments.

"With this Bill we will now have one single national law to be adopted in a consistent manner in every jurisdiction as template law, with the exception of Western Australia, which is planning to mirror the legislation," Palaszczuk says.

"All jurisdictions will pass legislation to ensure the national law, as enacted by Queensland, is effectively applied as law in their own jurisdiction."

The NHVR, which will be based in Queensland, will oversee the new system and will be chaired by former NSW transport minister Bruce Baird.

Palaszczuk cited the one-stop-shop function of the NHVR as key part of its role, saying it will act as the single point of contact for trucking operators applying for permits, renewing registrations, seeking information on access conditions and advice on work diaries.

"At the moment heavy vehicle operators and drivers need to comply with different regulations in each state and territory they drive through. For example, an interstate operator taking freight from Townsville to Melbourne would need to contact and receive access approvals from three state jurisdictions – jurisdictions that could potentially apply their own specific access requirements. These different requirements create extra cost, red tape and confusion," she says.

Transport ministers earlier this month voted in favour of the Bill and to begin an international search for a CEO for the NHVR. Trucking representatives have also been appointed to the implementation board of the NHVR to ensure industry’s concerns are heard.

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