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National regs in WA? Over our dead body: WARTA

Western Australia trucking lobby declares no support for NHVR in the wake of the heavy vehicle permit debacle.


The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) blunders on processing permit applications may have killed off any hope the agency had of convincing Western Australian transport operators to support uniform trucking regulations.

Western Australian Road Transport Association (WARTA) CEO Ian King has cited the NHVR’s permit stuff-ups to justify the State’s decision to retain its own heavy vehicle regulations.

Trucks have been left stranded on roads, businesses have lost thousands of dollars and three state governments have intervened because of the NHVR’s inability to process applications.

The regulator has been working behind the scenes for a number of years to convince WA to join its eastern state colleagues, but when asked if the State should sign up now, King replied: “Over our dead body.”

“The eastern states’ mayhem validates WARTA’s stance,” he says.

WA copped heat from sections of the industry and government for deciding to retain existing state-based regulations in favour of national uniformity.

Queensland MP Alex Douglas claimed WA was being “irrational” and “out of step” for not following the lead of eastern states, while a Victorian MP accused WA of snubbing its nose at the rest of the nation.

“We took a lot of flak and thankfully we were listened to by government, and the government I think took a gutsy decision. Thankfully, we have got probably the best transport minister in Australia with Troy Buswell,” King says.

Since the regulator began on February 10, King says feedback from his members has been overwhelmingly supportive of WARTA and Buswell.

He says members have contacted him to detail horror stories about dealing with the NHVR, from its computer systems crashing when submitting permit applications to trucks being left at the WA border because permits have not been approved.

One contacted WARTA’s office with the message: “It’s turning into a total disaster.”

Unlike what he has witnessed happening along the eastern seaboard, King says  permit approval process is running efficiently and effectively in WA.

“The average permit is taking about four hours. Anything that requires [a] bridge can take up to 24 hours work time, so in other words two work days. That’s it, and they are the complicated ones where there’s bridges and structures and everything else. That’s the worst case scenario.”

He has also shrugged off the criticism from those who got stuck into WA for not supporting national regulations.

“We’ve got thick skins. They criticise us all the time,” he says.





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