Plan to rate trucking companies has been scrapped

By: Paul Howell

Federal Government says proposed scheme will create an extra regulatory burden on industry

Plan to rate trucking companies has been scrapped
The proposed safety rating scheme was due to rank trucking companies based on their safety performance.


A proposed scheme to rate Australian trucking companies based on safety has been abandoned.

The project that started in 2013 to work on developing a ratings framework will no longer be funded.

"After careful consideration, the Australian Government has decided not to provide further financial assistance towards the Safety Rating System for Heavy Vehicles project," a spokesman for federal infrastructure minister Warren Truss says.

He notes that the decision was made in part due to a fear of duplication in current efforts of the National Transport Commission (NTC) and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

The two bodies are combining to undertake a review of heavy vehicle roadworthiness standards.

"(This will) improve a range of existing heavy vehicle regulatory arrangements, including the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme," Truss’s spokesman says.

But not every stakeholder sees it that way. Federal Labor MP Allanah MacTiernan told Parliament the scheme offered a unique approach that has had success in New Zealand, Canada and the US.

"This project, which was to provide a clear market incentive for trucking companies to lift their game and improve road safety, was developed after a 13 per cent increase in road fatalities in New South Wales in 2009," she says.

"Nearly two years of hard work has been abandoned without any formal discussion with industry."

MacTiernan says the project was "fiercely bipartisan", but the spokesman for Truss disagrees.

He says the decision followed discussions with industry, transport ministers and the NHVR.

They noted "concerns the proposed system would inadvertently impose additional regulatory burden and could disadvantage small to medium operators".

The spokesman says the NHVR is also being asked to focus on unforseen access problems associated with the new Heavy Vehicle National Law.

"The difficulties could not have been envisaged by transport ministers at the time they agreed to the Safety Rating System (and) it is not unreasonable now to expect the NHVR to focus on its core responsibilities," he says.

Chairman of the project’s national steering committee Ron Finemore did not respond to a request for comment.

You can also follow our updates by joining our LinkedIn group or liking us on Facebook