PBS changes approved, now it's up to road managers


The country’s transport ministers have approved changes to to the performance based standards (PBS) scheme. <br /><br /> The changes will give the transport industry certainty of access and operational flexibility, according to National Transport Commission Chief Executive Nick Dimopoulos.

March 7, 2012

The country’s transport ministers have approved changes to to the performance based standards (PBS) scheme.

The changes will give the transport industry certainty of access and operational flexibility, according to National Transport Commission (NTC)
CEO Nick Dimopoulos.

"The changes will encourage industry to use safer and more efficient vehicles on our roads," Dimopoulos says.

"With Australia’s freight task forecast to treble by 2050, the PBS scheme will position us well for the future as it will help keep costs to consumers down and reduce road congestion.

"As well as an overall $5.6 billion in savings to our economy, encouraging the use of more innovative and productive heavy vehicles is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3.75 million tonnes and save over 85 lives by 2030."

But Dimopoulos warns that without proper attention from road managers, efficiency gains will be dissipated.

"It’s important to note that the mapping and classification of suitable road networks for these vehicles remains the responsibility of road managers," he says.

"Mapping of networks will be key to the successful implementation of the changes to the scheme.

"Without this, the full productivity benefits associated with the PBS scheme will be under-realised."

The scheme has been in operation since 2007 but industry participation has been limited by problems in gaining certainty of road network access and a lack of operational flexibility.

Ministers have agreed to move to a system of national vehicle assessment and access decisions for PBS vehicles utilising the new National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

They have also agreed on developing a system of modular assessment for PBS combination vehicles to allow operators to use a range of prime-movers in front of the trailer as long as they have been PBS approved to match the trailer specifications.

The industry will have access to manufacturer self-certification, which will remove requirement for manufacturers to employ a third party to certify each vehicle.

The NTC says it has conducted extensive consultation with industry and governments on proposed changes which were outlined in a draft regulatory impact statement in March 2010.

"We’d like to thank our stakeholders for their support during this process and we look forward to continuing to work with them during this new era for PBS scheme," Dimopoulos says.

"This will include supporting the National Heavy Vehicle Project Office with implementation planning in the lead up to 2012."

The changes will be incorporated in an amendment bill to the Heavy Vehicle National Law which is expected to go before ministers in March.

Once approved by the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure, they will come into effect when the NHVR becomes operational in 2013.

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