NSW and SA say they will get to grips with HVNL review

By: Rob McKay

Some states’ approach sparks concern as RFNSW welcomes tardy department’s pledge

NSW and SA say they will get to grips with HVNL review
Transport for NSW, which has subsumed Roads and Maritime Services, says it will be involved


Clarity on how the majority of affected states’ are to address the National Transport Commission’s (NTC’s) Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) review issues papers may be emerging.

The position of New South Wales has been teased out, with the relevant department indicating to enter its position on risk-based regulation weeks after the deadline for submissions passed, at the end of May.

"Transport for NSW [TfNSW] is in frequent discussion with the National Transport Commission regarding its review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law," a departmental spokesperson tells ATN.

"Due to the scope of the response and consultation involved, Transport for NSW has not yet made a formal response to the Issues paper.

"NTC are anticipating a formal response from Transport for NSW and will accept this submission after the published deadline."

The state’s trucking industry body reacted positively to NSW’s stated intention, emphasising the need for clear public engagement in the process to ensure its success.

"Road Freight NSW recently participated in a TfNSW/NTC day long forum on this issue of the fatigue and HVNL submissions," Road Freight NSW chief executive Simon O’Hara says.

"The day was worthwhile in teasing out industry response to a complex piece of legislation.

"Road Freight welcomes the NSW state government’s forthcoming submission and seek to work with it in developing appropriate recommendations for the heavy vehicle industry.

"Our core belief is that government should serve an essential part of the economic framework of this country as transparently as possible.

"In that way, we can have constructive dialogue with industry over the future of the economic lifeblood of Australia; trucking."

Read about how the states have approached the HVNL review so far

Concern is said to be mounting that the states have sought to solidify their positions before engaging in the review, thereby pre-empting debate – a perception strengthened by the language state transport departments use when explaining their positions.

This comes as some departments complain about the time allowed to analyse and respond, arguing that two months after the risk-based regulation issues paper was released was not enough for proper consultation, while others argue it is too early in the process for a government position to be struck – a position that appeared to hold no impediment to Queensland.

Asked why it had been unable to make its submission public, nor to provide it to its minister for approval, a South Australian Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) spokesperson tells ATN in a written response: "At this early stage in the review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (i.e. commenting on issues papers), it is the role of department officers to provide direct input to the NTC to assist the NTC in developing policy options for consideration by all state governments, including the South Australian Government.

"Once the NTC has set out the policy options, DPTI will provide analysis and advice to South Australian Government for its consideration. 

"This will be informed by appropriate stakeholder consultation to ensure we understand the industry’s views and perspectives on NTC proposals.

"The South Australian Government and the Transport and Infrastructure Council will be engaged with the reform process as policy formulation matures beyond its current stage."

Victoria’s transport department is yet to explain clearly how it intends to engage in the process.

As of time of writing: the last submission on risk-based regulation is dated June 18 and four submissions have been published on effective fatigue management, three from individuals.


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