NHVR announces stopgap measure as delays mount on permit applications


Industry allowed to deal with councils on heavy vehicle access permits because NHVR can't process applications fast enough.

 

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has suffered a setback only days into beginning operations, leading it to re-introduce the previous system governing permit applications.

The NHVR took over responsibility for managing heavy vehicle permits on February 10 as part of the shift to national regulations, but it says operators can now approach councils to secure road access.

National regulations were designed to do away with this by having the regulator deal directly with councils on the operator’s behalf to obtain a permit for travel on local government roads. 

But the old system is now back in place indefinitely as an option available to industry because of complaints the NHVR is taking too long to process applications.

"We’ve spoken with frontline operators and industry associations. We’ve heard that we need to do better and we’re moving quickly to respond to industry concerns," NHVR CEO Richard Hancock says.

"This is just a transitional measure for these very early days of operation and we will continue to monitor the situation and listen to industry feedback."

Hancock says operators can still go through the new process and that re-introducing the previous system provides an alternative to speed up applications.

"If operators have a good working relationship with their council, they can seek consent from them directly and provide copies to the NHVR with their completed application. Also, if they already have approval to travel on council roads granted before February 10, 2014 they can provide copies to us with their completed application," he says.

Trucking operators were granted approval to deal directly with councils from midnight, February 13. There is no word on how long the NHVR will allow the provision to remain in place.

"These transitional arrangements have been put in place for the early days of operation and will be reviewed at a later date," Hancock says.

He has blamed a provision in the new national laws for delays in processing permit application.

"One of the key features of the national law is that local governments have taken on a new statutory role where they are now formally part of the permit approval process," he says.

"Under the national law, the NHVR must satisfy itself that a local government has given consent for a heavy vehicle to travel on the local government road, before the permit can be issued.

"This has been a pressure point as some industry sectors are concerned about the timeframes for securing local government consent to permit applications."

Most of the demand for permits has come from the crane and heavy haulage sectors.

The NHVR had been working with councils for more than six months prior to national regulations taking effect to prepare them for the new system.

Hancock says the regulator recognises delays can have an impact on heavy vehicle operators, particularly heavy haulage firms that often require permits within hours.

He says operators still need to secure all other approvals from electricity companies, rail authorities and other third parties as part of their application before a permit is issued.

Have you dealt with the NHVR on permit applications or other matters? What was your experience like? Let us know.

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