Regulators say they are tackling ‘must carry’ provisions


Peak government agencies on the move but there are no guarantees on enforcement or timing

Regulators say they are tackling ‘must carry’ provisions
The trucking industry has enforcement concerns

The custodians of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) say they are moving to deal with industry concerns over extended "evidence of accreditation" provisions that industry bodies insist should never have been included in it.

With less than a week before the law comes into force, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and the National Transport Commission (NTC) are liaising on the issue that Victorian Transport Association (VTA) CEO Neil Chambers highlighted forcefully yesterday.

However, neither body appears able to assure the industry that rule that exists due to a "drafting error" will not be enforced, to clarify whether the NHVR has the authority industry is seeking of it, or when the NTC will be able to change the legislation.

"Both the NHVR and NTC are aware of the issue raised by VTA and other industry operators," NTC CEO Paul Retter tells ATN. 

"The NTC is responsible for the maintenance of the HVNL and is now preparing for an HVNL maintenance group meeting to help to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.

 "It is important that we get any solution to this issue right so we are seeking a way forward with the agreement of transport agencies, the relevant industry representatives and the NHVR."

For his part, NHVR CEO Richard Hancock acknowledges the concerns about the new requirements in section 468 of the new national law and notes that it has twice raised the provisions with the industry, most recently on Friday.

"In this recent letter, the NHVR has advised operators that the NHVR will be asking roadside inspectors to consider making use of warnings, rather than infringements, during the period after the law commences," Hancock says, echoing his position with industry groups.

"The NHVR is closely considering the VTA’s advice to the NHVR that, despite the activities of the NHVR, governments and industry itself, there are still too many operators who remain unaware of, or unprepared for, this particular requirement of the new law.

"The NHVR will now examine whether our announced educational approach to the introductory period should be strengthened or extended."

Some hope that Queensland road authorities, at least, will be accommodating to the circumstances has been held out by the Queensland Transport Association.

"Notwithstanding the understanding of Industry Association’s for some time that this provision of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) would be repealed, that action has yet to occur," QTA President Warren Woods tells members.

"QTA Ltd together with the ATA and its Member Organisations have been engaging the NHVR and the NTC on the need to expeditiously amend the Legislation and working with State Road Agencies and Policing Agencies seek a moratorium on "enforcement" of this provision.

"It is agreed by the NHVR, the NTC and Industry that the provision is unnecessary and should be removed.

"The NHVR has sought the cooperation of jurisdictions in implementing a three to six month transition period.

"Discussions by QTA Ltd with Transport and Main Roads suggests that enforcement of the ‘must carry’ provision will not be a priority but rather a focus will be maintained on safety related Road Law, Work Diaries, Mass and Maintenance obligations."

ATN was awaiting clarification from road authorities in other states at deadline today.

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