National regs hit a snag as Queensland heads to election


Bill to introduce national regulations put on backburner as Queensland heads to the polls

National regs hit a snag as Queensland heads to election
National regs hit a snag as Queensland heads to election

By Brad Gardner | February 17, 2012

The move to national heavy vehicle regulations has hit a snag on the back of the Queensland Government’s decision to head to the polls next month.

The National Heavy Vehicle Law Bill, introduced into the state’s parliament last year, will need to be re-introduced after the March 24 election because it was not passed before parliament ended its final sitting day on February 16.

Queensland is meant to pass the Bill this year, with the other states and territories implementing the same legislation to ensure all jurisdictions are operating under the same law come January 1, 2013.

The Transport and Local Government Committee was tasked with examining the Bill, but the announcement of the election prompted it to cancel its hearing. The committee was scheduled to report its findings on March 6. It says all proceedings currently before the parliament come to an end.

"This includes any bills not yet passed," the committee says.

Queensland Trucking Association CEO Peter Garske says he received the news following Premier Anna Bligh’s election announcement.

"My understanding is the Bill itself will have to be re-presented to the newly formed elected parliament, be referred from that parliament again to a newly constituted committee…and then the process, as it were, repeated," he says.

The CEO of the South Australian Freight Council, Neil Murphy, says he doubts whether governments can meet the deadline for national regulations.

"The election itself puts some doubt around the future of that legislation," he says.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Reform Council, which is responsible for monitoring progress on national regulations, recently reported the timetable was at risk of slipping.

"While the signing of the Intergovernmental Agreement is a significant achievement, the council notes that, given the detailed work yet to be completed, there is some risk that the deadline for full implementation may not be achieved," it says.

The council recommended interim milestones to keep governments on track.

While the Queensland election has delayed the passage of the Bill, Garske says he has received assurances both sides of politics are committed to introducing national regulations.

"My understanding very clearly is that it is the wish [and] it is the will of both sides of politics to process this matter as a matter of priority in a new parliament," he says.

"Both sides understand well and truly the need for it to have priority. They understand the timelines involved in the setting up of the office of the NHVR, they understand the importance of meeting deadlines."

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