LBCA 2016: NHVR calls for industry support on vehicle access issue

By: Brad Gardner, Photography by: Greg Bush


NHVR says top decision makers must realise the economic and safety benefits of greater heavy vehicles access

LBCA 2016: NHVR calls for industry support on vehicle access issue
Lend a hand: NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says the trucking industry needs to be proactive if it wants to improve heavy vehicle road access.

 

Individual trucking operators need to bang on the doors of their local governments if they want improved access to council roads, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) says.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto told this year’s Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association (LBCA) gathering that the industry could not rely solely on the regulator to push the case for greater heavy vehicle access.

He says it is vital to communicate with the likes of mayors and council CEOs and explain the economic and safety benefits that come with opening up the road network to heavy vehicles. 

"It is the communication. I can’t do it all on my own. There are 427 local governments that I have to deal with, six state agencies and federal bureaucracy," Petroccitto says.

"The people who understand it best are those who are on the roads carrying the livestock in the local community that they pay their local rates to. Get in there and talk to them."

Petroccitto says the regulator has had the most success on truck access issues when it has joined forces with industry representatives and made their case to local governments, such as on infrastructure upgrades to support heavier trucks. 

"Nine times out of 10 the mayor [and] the CEO actually don’t know what is happening below their day-to-day busy lives and when you have the opportunity to actually put to them the issues that may come from an improvement in a culvert or an improvement in a bridge they very quickly understand the economic benefits that come from that," he says. 

Petroccitto cites Blacktown council in western Sydney as a success story in terms of improving heavy vehicle access through granting pre-approval applications. 

"Blacktown City Council was probably the most difficult council in NSW to deal with from a regulator perspective," Petroccitto says.

"They are now the best performing council and they have actually got the largest number of pre-approvals in this state because the mayor and the CEO actually got involved and understood the issues that were needing to be dealt with."

During the LBCA conference, Petroccitto fielded a complaint from a member of the audience about councils denying access despite being presented with ample evidence about the safety and economic benefits of opening up their roads. 

"That’s the issue that we see on a daily basis, is that level of understanding and comprehension from some of the local government bureaucrats," Petroccitto says.

"There is no easy answer to it. It is just a constant commitment from my staff and RMS [Roads and Maritime Services] to continually get in there and chat to the mayors or the CEOs."

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