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National regs legislation by early June, says Mrdak

Transport secretary says Queensland will re-introduce national regulations legislation next month, while transport ministers will vote on amendments in July

By Brad Gardner | May 25, 2012

Legislation to kick-start the process towards national heavy vehicle regulations will begin working its way through Queensland’s parliament as early as next month.

The Secretary of the federal Department of Infrastructure and Transport, Mike Mrdak, told Senate estimates this week the Queensland Government is planning to re-introduce the Heavy Vehicle National Law Bill within a matter of weeks.

The Bill was introduced in February this year, but it lapsed when the state election was called on March 24. National regulations are due to begin on January 1, 2013 and will be overseen by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

“It is now planned that it be reintroduced in very early June, then referred to committee, then back and passed. Then bill number two will be introduced,” Mrdak says.

The second bill is an amendment package to address outstanding concerns. Mrdak says transport ministers will vote on the second bill in July when they meet as part of the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure (SCOTI).

Queensland is vital to getting regulations off the ground because it must pass the bills before other jurisdictions introduce similar legislation before next year.

“There is a lot of work to do, but I think everyone involved has done a tremendous job to get it to this point,” Mrdak says.

“On January 1 there will be still a range of issues to work through, but we will have made an important step forward on getting rid of a lot of inconsistencies and trying to go to a much better system.”

Nationals Senator John Williams wants all jurisdictions to adopt Queensland’s volumetric livestock loading scheme.

The Executive Director of Surface Transport Policy within the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, Karen Gosling, says the matter “is still a work in progress” and one the NHVR will need to work through to develop nationally consistent standards.

“There is no suggestion that Queensland will change their system. What we are trying to do…is get other jurisdictions to be more consistent with Queensland. That is our intention,” Mrdak says.

NSW is already taking steps to introducing a volumetric loading scheme for the livestock sector.

In a speech at the Australian Trucking Convention last week, NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay told attendees arrangements were being finalised to introduce a scheme “in NSW in the coming months”.

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