State reticence on HVNL reform input queried

By: Rob McKay

Queensland bucks trend as others withhold submission publication

State reticence on HVNL reform input queried
The issues paper cover


The National Transport Commission’s (NTC) National Heavy Vehicle Law (HVNL) review has failed to elicit formal responses from most states that signed up for it, though that may be set to change.

The first issues paper, examining on the risk-based regulations, elicits 42 submissions following its release in March.

At the time of writing, of the states, only Queensland has responded officially, while South Australia and Victoria have had their responses marked "withheld from publication".

The lack of state engagement is a matter of concern for the South Australian Road Transport Association (SARTA), which directs ATN to its position as stated in a newsletter.

"There is nothing more important for the future of the economy than the capacity of the HV industry to provide productive and efficient road transport safely and unencumbered by mindless non-safety-related operational, administrative and clerical burdens and fines," SARTA tells members.

"There are two major players in achieving this; the industry and government agencies, including police. All of whom need to contribute with an open mind and a common purpose (safety) to the Review of the HVNL now underway.

"That process will inevitably fail to deliver the best overall outcomes if those contributions and submissions are not open and transparent and underpinned by extensive and genuine interchange of views between the industry and its multitude of sectoral interests, and the government agencies.

"It is therefore both counter-productive and unacceptable that any government agency should make its submissions to the review confidential.

"A quick look at the list of submissions published on the NTC website . . . will establish however that the necessary openness is NOT being adopted by some government agencies, including the Victorian and SA Transport departments and undoubtedly more will follow suit.

"This is intolerable and SARTA calls on all responsible Ministers to direct their respective agencies to make their submissions to the HVNL Review public."

Read some critical analysis on the question of risk-based regulations, here

The reasons for lack of official input amongst the state governments is less the entirely explained by their relevant departments.

"The Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) has not authorised publication of its submission because the comments are from the department officer assigned to the working group," the South Australian department tells ATN.

"They have not been provided to the State Government for approval, and do not represent either the government’s or the department’s policy position. 

"Although the submission has not been published, DPTI is working with the NTC, other states and territories and the Commonwealth, and also looks forward to working with industry representatives to ensure the reform is a success."

In New South Wales, Transport for NSW looks on the cusp of bringing its full analysis to bear on the issue, with a spokesperson telling ATN it "intends to respond to all NTC Issues Papers as part of its approach to participating in Heavy Vehicle National Law reforms.

"This includes conducting workshops to get feedback from industry and government stakeholders.

"The NSW Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023 also has numerous initiatives focused on simplifying and harmonising freight regulation by supporting national regulatory reforms."

A Victorian Department of Transport response has been promised and was awaited at deadline today

The deadline for submissions on risk-based regulations was May 31.


You can also follow our updates by joining our LinkedIn group or liking us on Facebook