NatRoad urges heavy vehicle access overhaul

Pre-approved route network and road condition database in Clark's sights

NatRoad urges heavy vehicle access overhaul
The current heavy vehicle access system is seen as a productivity hindrance


The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has advocated for a complete overhaul of Australia’s heavy vehicle access system, labelling it an area of industry inefficiency that desperately requires reform.

It says it provided the National Transport Commission (NTC) a comprehensive submission to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) review proposing a different approach – with a connected network of pre-approved routes at its core.

"An efficient freight supply chain should be able to operate 24 hours, 7 days a week," NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says.

"Requiring heavy vehicles to travel only during daylight hours or in certain specified time periods over less-than-optimal routes impedes productivity, increases operating costs and adds to road congestion.

"The current system needs a radical overhaul because it delivers inefficient outcomes.

"The key is for governments at all levels to put in place an extensive pre-approved road network for heavy vehicles.

"This network should be mapped out so as to make the task of planning heavy vehicle routes simpler and more consistent."

NatRoad also made a submission condemning 'absurd' fatigue laws

To facilitate this process, and increase the quality of Australian roads, road funding needs to be linked with levels of service provided to heavy vehicles, Clark says.

"Nationally consistent service standards for roads, to categorise roads by their functions and set customer-focussed service levels is the foundation of the Government’s current work in the Heavy Vehicle Road Reform programme.

"The establishment of service levels should be accelerated in order to frame other reform measures."

Having a proper database of roads and their condition should be a precursor for local government funding of infrastructure, Clark adds.

"To increase transparency around road funding decisions, governments should set up road funds separate from their general budgets for both heavy and light vehicle revenues.

"Roads should be built to particular service standards to facilitate the movement of freight.

NatRoad believes that the linking of road funding to proper asset management with the ultimate outcome of assessing all roads as appropriate for particular heavy vehicle classes/combinations is needed.

"This policy would address the issue of resource constraints that local governments say is a major constraint to improve access for heavy vehicles," Clark says.

"NatRoad looks forward to continuing to assist the NTC in this vital review." 

The full submission can be found here.


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