NHVR progess clearer in coming months says Hancock


The next two to three months are crucial for progress on the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), NHVR Project Director Richard Hancock has told ATN on the fringes of the International Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show. Given industry indications in that direction, Hancock is confident that model legislation, in two Bills, setting up the regulator will pass the Queensland Parliament, no matter which side won the election.

By Rob McKay | March 16, 2012

The next two to three months are crucial for progress on the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), NHVR Project Director Richard Hancock has told ATN on the fringes of the International Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show.

Given industry indications in that direction, Hancock is confident that model legislation, in two Bills, setting up the regulator will pass the Queensland Parliament, no matter which side won the election.

But the subsequent time frame for the passage through other states and territories before the January 1 deadline will be "very, very challenging", as they want to see the final document before passing it themselves.

Despite that, Hancock believes the regulator would be up and running on the due date and he is now seeking to gain "cooperative agreements" with any jurisdictions that have not passed the legislation by then.

"I think there are going to be functions and activities that the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator can be performing by January 2013," he says.

"I’m envisaging that, over the next two to three months, that picture will be much, much clearer."

He expects Queensland to pass the first Bill, following its re-introduction after the election, to be passed by September.

This will allow the regulator to become a legally created entity and its board and chief executive to be appointed.

The second Bill, being put together following industry consultation and criticism of the first Bill, was "quite well advanced", Hancock says.

It should be introduced in the second half of the calendar year after passing through Queensland’s committee process.

The body of regulations that sits with the Bills will be in a final draft stage by about June "because I am anticipating that the transport ministers will have to vote on the second Bill, like they’ve voted on the first Bill".

On the vexed question of executive officer liability, which has caused enormous concern at the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) over the presumption of guilt, Hancock says some issues have been addressed but "not as far as the ATA would like me to".

Clarification of enforcement provisions for police and roads authorities had also taken place along with state-driven changes to the model law that they wanted carried over into the national heavy vehicle law.

Access issues, particularly appeals to external review, were substantial policy issues and, as such, were likely to become part of a "legislative forward work program".

On the attitude of enforcement agencies to the regulator, Hancock insists it has been less about outright resistance than wanting a greater depth of detail on how the regulator will work with them.

"The regulator will basically have a service agreement with them to do much the same as they do today into the future," he says.

"In an enforcement sense, we would like that to be done under the overall umbrella of a national compliance and enforcement code, to national standards and policies."

This would include interception and vehicle inspection standards, to mass and dimension testing.

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