ALC differentiates NOS from operator licensing

By: Rob McKay

Peak body emphasises less-proscriptive aspects of the newer concept

ALC  differentiates NOS from operator licensing
ALC says the NOS will be scalable to operator size


The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) seeks to add clarity to its National Operator Standard (NOS) proposal, emphasising the difference between it and operator licensing (OL).

The ALC underlines that NOS, which it wants to be included in the reformed Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), is about risk management rather than compliance and setting baseline standard across the industry. 

ALC reinforces that the operational requirements of the NOS are scalable to the size of the business, rather than being a one-size-fits-all approach.

It argues the Australian Government Guide to Regulation describes licensing as a ‘pre-market assessment scheme’, while NOS differs from it in that:

  • NOS can immediately commence to operate, so long as compliance with the NOS can be demonstrated, if called on, while, under OL, there must be proof to a regulator that all licensing conditions are satisfied before being allowed to operate
  • There is no ‘fit and proper person’ requirement
  • There are no registration fees.

Read how the National Operator Standard debate has evolved so far, here

Much of the recent criticism of NOS since the ALC unveiled the concept has centred on its likely prescriptive nature and the cost involved in compliance.

"What the National Operating Standard does do is to make clear to operators what is necessary to ensure the safe operation of vehicles in much the same way as an operator must comply with regulations prescribing the standards for compliance on road or driving hours limits," the ALC argues.

Along with proof of capital to undertake necessary maintenance, one NOS aspect the ALC is definitely keen on is the inclusion of safety management systems (SMSs).

"Having the NHVR develop a common set of SMS standards would also lead to productivity gains through a reduction in audit duplication – an audit of an operator’s safety systems conducted by a qualified auditor using the common SMS standards should be able to be relied on by all parties in the supply chain," it says.

"This also means that the development of an auditing framework which establishes appropriate auditor qualifications and practices should form an integral part of the HVNL reform."

Regarding applicable vehicle class and the approach to rolling in legislation, the ALC suggests that a simple and effective way to introduce this requirement would be to a phased application over three years from the day of legislation.

This would involve:

  • Fatigue-regulated heavy vehicles, as per the National Telematics Framework, to carry telemetric equipment compatible with standards recognised by the National Telematics Framework 12 months from the day legislation imposing the requirement begins
  • Vehicles between 8 and 12 gross vehicle mass (GVM) two years from the day the legislation imposing the requirement begins
  • Vehicles between 4.5 and 8 GVM three years from the day the legislation imposing the requirement begins.


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