ATA takes permits complaint to investment probe

National lobby calls for separate body from NHVR to handle permits

ATA takes permits complaint to investment probe
Scott Morrison


Red tape has entangled the industry’s efforts to invest in trucks, goods and equipment, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) tells House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics.

Treasurer Scott Morrison tasked the committee with probing such blockages, resulting in its ‘Inquiry into impediments to business investment’.

The ATA submission calls for digital, time sensitive and responsive solutions to road access. 

Payment terms must also be addressed as small trucking businesses are vulnerable to adverse changes in their payment terms, often with little capacity to negotiate with large customers, it says. 

The ATA submission recommends:

  • innovative reform of permits and the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL)
  • a mandatory payments code to address payment terms issues facing small trucking businesses
  • independent regulation of toll road, landside port, and local government access charges for heavy vehicles
  • refunds of higher truck tolls when toll roads fail to deliver time savings
  • independent road funding decisions
  • accelerated depreciation and the removal of stamp duty for heavy vehicle trucks and trailers.

On permits, the ATN notes that the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities is considering the need to review the permit system with a view to establishing a national standard and reducing the approval period to 24 hours on key freight routes, in line with national best practice.

But, while non-HVNL regions are granting approval in 48 hours, significant delays are encountered in the HVNL jurisdictions.

The ATA says an "innovative, agile and disruptive review" should consider:

  • digital, time sensitive and responsive solutions for road access, including the use of blockchain
  • removing the role for issuing road access permits from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), so it can focus on its overarching safety regulatory role
  • providing for a new entity or entities to issue road access approvals.

It also wants a stronger focus on improving access to gazetted road, to reduce the need for individual permits..

In so doing the government should deliver:

  • a targeted funding round additional to existing commitments for the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program, where successful projects will be based on opening up new routes for gazetted heavy vehicle access
  • a High Productivity Vehicle (HPV) network program, where successful projects will be required to open up routes for gazetted, A-double road access.

The ATA sees the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail (ADG Code) as ripe for harmonisation.

The present situation "has led to unfortunate inconsistencies both in the legislative implementation of the ADG Code as well as its interpretation on the ground.

The ATA, in conjunction with the Australian Logistics Council (ALC), has requested that the next review of the ADG Code, scheduled for 2020, should consider whether:

the ADG Code should be adopted into Australian law using the 'applied legislation’ model. This is the same model used by jurisdictions to adopt amendments to HVNL made by the Queensland Parliament

a common operations manual should be developed to be adopted by all jurisdictions to encourage a more uniform interpretation of the ADG.

Meanwhile, it calls for the Governments Fuel Security Review must consider the impact on trucking operators during a shortage.

The full ATA submission can be found here while others can be found here.


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