HVIA offers stern critique on PBS handling


Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia registers concern on approach of road managers and other government arms

HVIA offers stern critique on PBS handling
Greg Forbes has concerns on the rate of reform

 

Manufacturers and suppliers of heavy vehicles and their components have raised significant concerns on the Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme.

Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA), their representative body, believes PBS benefits must be more broadly understood by policy makers, road managers and the general community.

The comments are included in HVIA’s response to the National Transport Commission’s (NTC) discussion paper, Assessing the effectiveness of the PBS Scheme.

According to HVIA national manager policy and government relations Greg Forbes, the NTC’s review provides "compelling evidence" of the type and magnitude of benefits the PBS scheme has delivered to the community and to road managers.

"It is clear, however that the understanding of these benefits is poor," Forbes says.

The ongoing success of the PBS scheme is of critical importance to many HVIA members.

"We want to ensure that HVIA members are closely engaged in the future development the PBS scheme," Forbes adds.

"PBS has driven a considerable amount of innovation in the heavy vehicle sector, however, the rate of reform on many important issues has been slow.

"HVIA is hoping that the publication of this report will act as a catalyst for reform.

"HVIA and its members have already thought through many of these issues at a greater level of detail than is covered in this discussion paper.

"Over 12 months ago, HVIA wrote to the NHVR recommending that they take action on braking standards for PBS combinations and continues to urge the NHVR to take action on this important issue which is highlighted in the PBS marketplace review

"HVIA is committed to working with the NTC and the NHVR to develop and implement the recommendations of the report."

Despite its efforts, HVIA is finding progress stuck in the slow lane, with the national regulator yet to take any reform steps, including on certification, its submission states.

Issues raised include:

  • those related to static rollover thresholds
  • variations on designs
  • documentary requirements
  • component substitution, modifications of designs after approvals
  • interaction between PBS, vehicle modifications and roadworthiness and auditing.

HVIA is also concerned about auditing of the PBS process.

"The auditing should focus on both ensuring that the various scheme participants, such as assessors and certifiers, are doing there job correctly, but, also address the issues over consistency of advice from regulators," it says.

"If moves are made toward self-certification by manufacturers, the auditing processes will also need to include these activities."

But perhaps the greatest concern HVIA has, one that the NTC report fails to address is the attitude of some road managers.

"The central reason that PBS access has not worked is that road managers have not accepted that the compliance with the asset protection components of the PBS standards will indeed result in the PBS vehicles causing no more damage than the equivalent prescriptive vehicles," the submission states.

In addition, it finds road managers giving consent often do not adhere to:

  • the time limits for responses under the Heavy Vehicle National Law
  • the HVNL requirement that road managers may only decide not to give consent to access where the access will result in damage to infrastructure, loss of public amenity or safety issues and it is not possible to apply road conditions or travel conditions which will avoid or significantly reduce the impacts.

"Ideally the report should have analysed the reasons that road managers have departed from the agreement obtained from Ministers and contained concrete suggestions to address these issues," HVIA says.

 

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