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National regulations back on Queensland’s agenda

Queensland Government re-introduces the bill to establish national heavy vehicle regulations

July 31, 2012

The Queensland Government has re-introduced a bill to establish national heavy vehicle regulations more than five months after legislation faltered due to the state’s election.

Transport Minister Scott Emerson today re-introduced the Heavy Vehicle National Law Bill into State Parliament to begin the process of dismantling the multitude of cross-border inconsistencies plaguing the trucking industry.

The Bill will need to pass before the other states and territories introduce similar laws to ensure national consistency.

“This important reform replaces the confusing array of eight separate regulators and nine pieces of state, territory and Commonwealth legislation with a national regulator and a single national law,” federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese says.

“Complying with multiple jurisdictions when travelling from one state to the next will become a thing of the past under the new regulator.”

The Bill was first introduced late last year but Parliament dissolved for the March 24 election before legislation could pass. It meant the new government had to begin the process again.

Once passed, the Bill will establish the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator in Brisbane and allow for the appointment of the board and the CEO.

The NHVR will begin on January 1 in Brisbane but will have offices throughout the country. Its role includes looking after heavy vehicle registration, permit applications, performance based standards (PBS), fatigue management and chain of responsibility laws.

“The regulations will make it easier for business to operate as there will be a one-stop shop for registration renewals, log book queries, access permits and a host of other services,” Emerson says.

“As part of the NHVR a national safety monitoring and reporting system for heavy vehicles will also be introduced to improve safety across the board for truckies.”

National regulations will apply to all heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonne but will not cover the transportation of dangerous goods, heavy vehicle driver licensing and bus industry accreditation, which are covered under other acts.

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC), which has lobbied hard for governments to implement national regulations, congratulated Emerson for re-introducing the Bill.

“ALC now looks forward to the Bill’s timely consideration by the Transport, Housing and Local Government Committee so it can be voted upon by the House as quickly as practically possible,” ALC Managing Director Michael Kilgariff says.

“We also look forward to subsequent legislation being introduced to the Queensland Parliament which is required to provide the full legislative framework for the national regulator. ALC hopes this will establish a regulator with teeth to ensure the full economic benefits of this reform are realised.”

Kilgariff says a single regulator will streamline the regulatory burden on business and do away with many of the cross-border inconsistencies which have hampered supply chain efficiency.

“The heavy vehicle laws are part of a broader transport reform package that involves establishing single national regulators for maritime safety, rail safety and heavy vehicles,” he says.

“The efficiencies that can be generated from reducing the number of regulators from 23 to 3 will deliver not only more efficient supply chains – they will bring about cost savings that can be passed on to the consumer.”

Although the NHVR will be running from January next year, jurisdictions are expected to take at least another six months to implement national regulations.

NHVR Project Director Richard Hancock says New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria have indicated they will enact national regulations in July next year.

Hancock expects the regulator will look after PBS and the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) when it begins, with its responsibilities increasing when all jurisdictions enact national regulations.

Hancock is also planning to run a national chain of responsibility education campaign and to trial the new advanced fatigue management (AFM) scheme.
Under national regulations, the NHVR will act as a one-stop-shop for permits, access applications and registration.

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