Australia, Transport News

NatRoad calls for acceleration of HVNL reform

Warren Clark wants the industry to “push the accelerator” when it comes to implementing HVNL reform

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has drawn a line in the sand over its calls for Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) reform, saying that small steps in the right direction are better than no change at all.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says the association is concerned that there’s opinions in the industry that extending consultation on reform will deliver the best result.

Instead, he wants the sector to not “apply the air brakes” but instead “push the accelerator instead”.

“NatRoad’s strong view is that governments should increase resources for the review, not extend deadlines,” Clark says.

“That will only further slow the pace of reform and increase the chances that other policy priorities will push heavy vehicle law down the priority list for governments.

“After five years of talking, all governments must get serious so we see substantive progress in 2024.”

Clark says the industry is facing huge pressure to remain viable, to keep freight moving despite escalating costs and to prepare for future challenges like decarbonisation.

“All of these depend on our ability to invest in new technology and practices – that can’t happen if we see more delays to reforming enforcement, fatigue management and access,” he says.

Clark says there’s a view that passing new legislation will be the end of the reform journey.

“Governments and their officials must be able to walk and chew gum at the same time – pushing ahead with regulatory change can occur while legislation is being drafted,” Clark says.

“NatRoad wants governments to keep backing non-legislative reform – for example, the creation of a new automated access system with enough resources to pilot and scale the project as quickly as possible.

“Industry constantly has to meet deadlines – it is time for governments to meet one as well.”

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