NHVR crystalises ambitions for the future

National freight strategy submission show path it wants to take

NHVR crystalises ambitions for the future
The NHVR has outlined its ambitions


The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) wants to be central to freight transport’s future role in continuing the nation’s economic success and needs tools to make that a reality.

The call is one of the main thrusts of the NHVR’s recommendations to National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy (NFSCS) as it seeks to influence industry behaviour through greater powers over enforcement and monitoring.

This can only be done with the requisite resources, so it wants cash from the regulatory component of heavy vehicle registration charges to fund its operations.

But the rewards promise to be great.

"According to an assessment by the National Transport Commission (NTC) improved access for heavy vehicles alone can deliver $7 billion in benefits through the reduction of time and cost for the heavy vehicle industry (with flow on benefits to other parties in the supply chain) in applying for and obtaining permits and eliminating duplication in regulatory functions," the NHVR submission states.

"These benefits will only be realised through Australian governments working with the NHVR and industry to deliver on our reform agenda."

The submission identifies four priority areas for road freight reform:

  • Reducing red tape for government and industry
  • Delivering increased access and greater use of higher productivity road freight vehicles
  • Improving truck safety outcomes through better regulation and enforcement.
  • Use of data and information technology to deliver improved safety and efficiency outcomes.

"The provision of clean and consistent data from all jurisdictions and the integration of this data across regulatory technology functions operated by the NHVR, including the National Compliance Information System, will enable targeted enforcement with a focus on improving compliance and safety throughout the industry," the submission states.

"The NHVR’s Safety and Compliance Regulatory Platform will enable data to be acquired from many sources, allowing the NHVR to collect and integrate intelligence to support national risk based regulatory compliance and safety activities.

"The safety and compliance regulatory platform will integrate with the National Compliance Information System (NCIS).

"Through the introduction of the NCIS the regulator seeks to keep the national freight task moving by ensuring compliance better targets operators and behaviours that represent the greatest safety risk."

The NCIS network will monitor heavy vehicle travel times, registration status through the national registration system and compliance history.

"It will also detect vehicles/drivers that fail to enter heavy vehicle safety stations for compliance checks," the NHVR says.

"This provides real time accurate information to make on road enforcement stronger and better targeted at unsafe operators resulting in less delay and intervention for compliant operators and less time pressure on the road.

"This information also provides government and industry with a clear understanding of the main causes of crashes such as fatigue and speed so we can develop a picture of the trends that cause these safety risks so they can be better prevented.

"By June 2018 at least thirteen additional cameras will be installed and integrated with the camera data in participating jurisdictions across the country."

On electronic work diaries (EWDs) the NHVR wants to have "the right balance" between using technology in monitoring fatigue compliance and avoiding imposing "unnecessary requirements" on industry.

"A key challenge in the implementation of EWDs as a voluntary alternative to the written work diary is to reduce barriers to industry uptake and innovation, whilst providing the assurances that governments require.

"The NHVR will establish an EWD Policy Framework for managing EWD approvals, including performance based standards for EWDs and conditions of use and approval.

"This framework will allow industry greater access and lower entry costs to the technology benefits by permitting integration with products that are already on the market or even may already be in use by some operators for a range of non-regulatory business functions."

It aims to have the EWD Standards completed by the end of this year and that applications for EWD approvals stating early next year.

"Going forward, it is essential to ensure the NHVR’s EWD Policy Framework and assurance activities maintain sufficient flexibility to match ever-changing technology being used by the transport industry – within the context of improving national efficiency and risk management practices. Successful outcomes will see uptake of EWDs as part of a broader adoption of safety management systems by industry."

It splits its key recommendations into short-term and longer-term.

In its "Quick Wins to Deliver Road Freight Reform", it calls on governments work with the NHVR to:

  • Undertake review of the Performance Based Standards Scheme with a view to streamlining and improving the design approvals and access permitting process for innovative vehicles
  • Establish a Key Freight Routes and National Notices Working Group consisting of the NHVR and jurisdictions to ensure this work is prioritised to deliver strong heavy vehicle access outcomes
  • Support the NHVR in improving the identification of key freight networks through permit data from the NHVR Road Manager Access Portal and use this information to better inform investment decisions
  • Provide continued support for the National Compliance Information Scheme to improve NHVR and jurisdictional enforcement and monitoring capability
  • Provide continued support for delivering EWDs within the NHVR’s assurance framework.

In the" Strategic Actions to Deliver Road Freight Reform", it calls for action to:

  • Include a remit within the Productivity Commission’s planned review of national transport regulation reforms to assess the effectiveness of the Heavy Vehicle National Law in delivering the NHVR’s reform agenda.
  • Ensure state and local planning instruments take into consideration the efficiency of freight movement.
  • First develop national standards and criteria for the assessment of critical freight infrastructure, including bridges and local roads and then undertake an assessment program to identify a priority list of infrastructure blockages on key freight routes.
  • Longer term funding certainty for the Regulator through payment on actual revenue collected from the regulatory component of heavy vehicle registration charges.

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