Transport ministers in charging reform progress pledge

Heavy vehicle charging, telematics and chain of responsibility amongst items backed

Transport ministers in charging reform progress pledge
Transport ministers are moving on telematics and charging reform

Popular with the industry or not, the National Transport Commission has seen much of its recent work on heavy vehicle regulation endorsed by the Transport and Infrastructure Council.

The council, the reformed transport ministers’ body that the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) formed in December, held its first meeting in Alice Springs on Friday to look at government handling of heavy vehicles and infrastructure investment.

The reports considered by the Council included:

  • Policy papers on a compliance framework for heavy vehicle telematics and on electronic work diaries for managing fatigue
  • A review of residual fatigue risks and counting time arrangements 
  • A review of chain of responsibility arrangements, undertaken jointly with industry associations, and representatives from state roads agencies and police
  • A review of penalties in the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

The Council approved an amended heavy vehicle national regulation to allow up to
one-tonne of mass to be transferred to a tri-axle group from other axle groups, without increasing the overall mass of the vehicle operating under General Mass limits.

"This is expected to provide greater loading flexibility and improve handling of uneven loads," its communique states.

It also agreed that jurisdictions would commence work to implement initial heavy vehicle investment and access reform measures. 

"These measures recognise the need to improve the transparency of information provided to the heavy vehicle industry on road conditions and service standards, provide the heavy vehicle industry with assurance that road agency planning and funding processes are robust and transparent and, where appropriate, enable industry to be more closely consulted in decision making processes," the communique says.

The council also finalised the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator's budget to 2014-15.

Its next meeting will consider possible next steps in heavy vehicle charging and investment reform on advice will build from a plan prepared by the Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment (HVCI) Board, which has now completed its work. 

Meanwhile, following last week’s Remote and Regional Transport Infrastructure and Services Forum, the council has agreed that the Northern Territory Government will lead the development of a Remote and Regional Transport Strategy that takes full account of the key issues and possible solutions identified to resolve the significant transport challenges faced in remote and regional Australia.

"The Council also recognises that the significant and distinctive challenges in remote and regional Australia require flexible application of national approaches" it says.

This will be welcomed by the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) which has pledged to keep pressure on governments to put words into action.

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