National regulator expands on accreditation project

By: Rob McKay

Review leader a senior veteran of several NSW transport project probes

National regulator expands on accreditation project
Peter Medlock has held senior roles in a range of transport inquiries


The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has furnished further details and its thinking around the heavy vehicle accreditation schemes review it has put in place.

While the review announcement came with little warning, an NHVR spokesperson cast the effort as a part of a continuous improvement process for its National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) that the NHVR maintains.

Indeed, in the review’s terms of reference it notes that, in November 2014, transport ministers approved changes to the NHVAS Business Rules to strengthen the operational design of the NHVAS and audit system governance "as part of the NHVAS Review Project deliverables".

The aim of this and other work was to increase the accountabilities of key parties and allow the NHVAS to function utilising effective, risk based assurance program.  

"We have both by direction from Ministers and of our own volition undertaken many changes to the scheme and associated business rules over the last few years," the spokesperson says.

"As we continue the process we understand there may be both industry and other government schemes which may have elements which may be beneficial to consider.

"Similarly these other schemes may well benefit from some of our practices.

"The review is about identifying best practice in heavy vehicle accreditation that will enhance the safety of all road users."

The eight week timeframe was determined based on discussions with the reviewer, experienced consultant Peter Medlock and the NHVR as well as in consultation with Australian Trucking Association.

"Peter Medlock is highly experienced in such work and as such we have confidence in the timeframe put forward," the spokesperson tells ATN.

"If, however, it is determined that it is insufficient we are open to a discussion regarding any extension should it be necessary.

"Peter has extensive hands-on experience at a policy, management and consulting level across a wide range of operational, regulatory, safety management and employee relations issues.

"Peter has developed and implemented programs to improve operational and safety performance across a range of industries including rail, health, defence, maritime, energy, law enforcement, road construction and the public sector.

"Much of this work has involved a strong focus on a systemic approach to safety management in complex and highly hazardous environments.

"Peter’s expertise has been recognised by Governments in appointing Peter to head major safety inquiries."

Medlock has also been appointed to a number of major government inquiries, including:

  • Chair, Ministerial Inquiry into Safety Management on RTA (NSW) Road Construction Projects
  • Board of Inquiry into the management and operation of Sydney Ferries
  • Chair, Independent Inquiry into Safety Management in NSW Rail Maintenance
  • Chair, Inquiry into the Management of Safety Critical Rail Infrastructure in NSW

 The NHVR has offered whatever assistance is required," the spokesperson says.

"We anticipate that other participating accreditation schemes will do likewise."

Regarding the scope of international comparisons, the NHVR is will not limit the review to any specific countries but is aware that various schemes exists in the US, UK and Europe including operator licencing arrangements.

Asked whether, given the NHVR controls the NHVAS, the review should have been done through the department rather than the regulator to avoid at least the perception of a conflict of interest, the spokesperson played a straight bat.

"The NHVR has engaged an independent review to undertake the process and we are satisfied that Mr Medlock will conduct the review in an appropriate manner."

The review will also look at accreditation in relation to government infrastructure projects, an issue ATA chief executive Ben Maguire raised in September in relation to TruckSafe.

The NHVR recognises the possibility of a safety dividend in the idea that is worth exploring.

"We recognise that government is undertaking significant infrastructure work and there may be an opportunity for them to play a role in enhancing the safety of the industry," the spokesperson says.

"In anticipation that the review considers a well-constructed scheme providing greater safety outcomes, it is appropriate that the review also consider whether operators engaged in government projects should be part of such schemes."


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