Deal-making underway to get enforcement consistency


NHVR project office aims to reach agreements with police and government agencies soon to ensure national regulations are enforced consistently

Deal-making underway to get enforcement consistency
Deal-making underway to get enforcement consistency
By Brad Gardner | January 23, 2012

The team responsible for establishing the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is aiming to reach agreements with police and government agencies soon to ensure impending national regulations are enforced consistently.

NHVR Project Director Richard Hancock says talks are continuing with all parties to make sure compliance and enforcement practices are standardised come January 1, 2013 when national regulations begin.

Hancock says he hopes to finalise agreements with state and territory departments and the police in the first half of 2012.

"We are working toward having consistent on-road processes around Australia. So when there’s an on-road interception…the things that are checked are consistent," he says.

Hancock says signed agreements between the regulator and transport departments will allow government officers to enforce national regulations on the regulator’s behalf.

Officers will need to undergo training and will be required to carry authorisation to show they are approved to carry out inspections and interceptions.

Police officers, however, will not be brought under the regulator’s control. But Hancock says there have been "very constructive" discussions between both parties on working cooperatively under national regulations.

"I certainly hope to have agreements with all of the police agencies about how they’ll work together with the national regulator," he says.

"When a transport inspector or a police officer is doing an on-road interception, they are working off the same rulebook, basically, is what we are working towards."

Hancock says the force has made it clear officers must retain their search powers under national regulations and that they should not be required to carry NHVR authorisation similar to government officers.

A bill to establish national regulations was introduced into Queensland’s parliament last year. An amendment bill will follow later this year, and Hancock says it will contain changes agreed to during his meetings with police and government agencies.

"The service agreements are one of the larger pieces of work that have to be completed this year so that the regulator has got those in place by the time it’s operational," he says.

Hancock has confirmed service agreements will contain review mechanisms to monitor enforcement practices and change them, if necessary.

While Hancock is confident of striking agreements to address inconsistent enforcement practices "that really aggravate people", he adds that it will take time to adjust to a new system.

"Overnight, it won’t change entirely. There may still be differences of interpretation by inspectors on occasion. But over time, with the training…that should start to be minimised."




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