Authorities must go further on ‘absurd’ rule expansion: VTA

Chambers calls for State and Federal transport ministers to tackle issue at next COTI meeting

Authorities must go further on ‘absurd’ rule expansion: VTA
Chambers is keeping up the pressure

Despite Federal Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss’s pledge that the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) reduces paperwork and administration costs, the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) continues to protest that the reality at present is different.

Despite National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and National Transport Commission (NTC) moves to tackle erroneous "evidence of accreditation" provisions in the new law, VTA CEO Neil Chambers believes authorities have not gone far enough to head off the burden on transport operators.

"The six-month transition period for compliance and enforcement of the new provisions falls short of the moratorium sought by the VTA," Chambers says. 

"While it’s appreciated that immediate enforcement relief has been offered, the fact is that hundreds of transport operators across Australia accredited in NHVAS Mass Management and Maintenance Management will still need to produce and distribute the letters of induction to drivers, together with a copy of the applicable NHVAS accreditation certificate … for no good safety reason, and at great expense and administrative burden. 

"Now begins a tortuous process of managing these letters of induction, including recovering the letters when drivers leave or are no longer employed to drive trucks accredited under NHVAS."

Chambers points to the response of Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads that enforcement officers and Queensland Police would be instructed to only enforce the provision related to Fatigue Management accreditation evidence and asks why the HVNR could not issue similar instructions to all enforcement agencies in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

He suggests again that the national regulator "demonstrates a lack of initial confidence in its dealings with enforcement agencies in the jurisdictions".

Though it is understood that NHVR instruction has been issued to state agencies on aspects of this enforcement, it is one of a number of VTA concerns.

"The VTA still awaits answers from the NHVR on how to treat mechanics and others persons who may have temporary reasons to move an NHVAS accredited truck or trailer," Chambers says. 

"Issuing these characters with letters of induction and accreditation evidence highlights the absurd nature of the error in the Heavy Vehicle National Law that has given rise to this administrative nightmare for transport operators.

"The VTA wants the HVNL amended as soon as possible to remove these anomalies.

"We believe that it’s urgent enough for special consideration and amendment to be considered by Transport Ministers at the next meeting of the Council of Transport and Infrastructure (COTI).  

"The NTC is responsible for making the necessary proposals to amend the law, and we urge the NTC to do so as a matter of urgency."

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