ALRTA 2014: Retter wants an end to multiple accreditation schemes

By: Brad Gardner, Photography by: Brad Gardner

Trucking operators told it’s time the industry looked at adopting a single accreditation scheme for heavy vehicles

ALRTA 2014: Retter wants an end to multiple accreditation schemes
Not good enough: NTC CEO Paul Retter says the existing heavy vehicle accreditation system needs to be improved.


The multitude of accreditation schemes currently in place in the trucking industry should be scrapped in favour a single model, according to National Transport Commission (NTC) CEO Paul Retter.  

The head of the transport policy-making body says a review currently underway into roadworthiness inspection regimes across the country presents an opportunity to pursue reforms to the accreditation system.  

The review, announced last year, involves examining the effectiveness of inspections and the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS).

The NTC and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) are working together on the review, which is due to be finished later this year.  

"I think it’s time that we sat down and relooked at the issue of one heavy vehicle accreditation scheme in this country with all the appropriate modules that people need, some of which will be core and others which will only apply to certain sub-sectors," Retter says.  

"Now’s the time for us to start that dialogue and now’s the time for us to agree on what the standards should be that underpin that accreditation scheme.

"I look forward to the debate, but quite frankly if somebody doesn’t put it on the table we’ll just keep going around in circles wasting a lot of time."  

Retter says many operators across the country are currently enrolled in three or four different schemes.  

"That must cost all of you, or those operators who are in those schemes, time and money," he says.

Retter says the NTC is planning to speak to the industry and governments over the next six months about the issue.  

He says the lack of a national approach to heavy vehicle inspections has created variations throughout Australia and that existing schemes are not good enough.

"In my view what we’ve got at the moment is not robust and it needs to be improved," Retter says.

"We need better measures to ensure that where there is a degree of benefit to the operator that we are comfortable that the operators are following the rules and guidelines that have been applied to that particular accreditation module.  

"That certainly, in my view, is an appropriate approach but that means that what we put in place has to be robust. And at the moment, quite frankly, it is not."  

His comments came just weeks after transport ministers received a report recommending chain of responsibility requirements be extended to cover vehicle maintenance and standards.  

The report, which was the work of a taskforce set up to look at potential improvements that could be made to chain of responsibility, also recommends greater effort be put into educating the broader supply chain about its obligations.

Retter says the supply chain has a varying level of understanding about their responsibilities under chain of responsibility.  

"We need to get to grips with educating those people before we start having the regulator bounce them around the room," he says. 

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