Australia, Transport News

NatRoad calls for federal government to improve heavy vehicle access

NatRoad says these improvements could lead to an increase in efficiency and a reduction in emissions

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) is calling on the federal government to make improving heavy vehicle access its number-one priority for the transport industry. 

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says federal transport ministers decided in December last year to extend the deadline for legislating changes to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) into 2025. 

NatRoad says access targets outlined in the 2022 Kanofski review of HVNL reform is the best-case scenario for improved heavy vehicle access. 

“The Kanofski recommendations called for an automated access system within three years and a reduction in the number of permits by 50 per cent in the same period,” Clark says. 

“While we welcome the work that is underway, it’s clear the current pace of reform means we will fail to meet those targets.” 

Clark says improving heavy vehicle road access can not only increase efficiency, but also cut emissions. 

“Moving more freight with fewer vehicle movements makes for safer roads while at the same time reducing diesel use and carbon emissions,” Clark says. 

“Automated access is a critical economic reform and must be treated as such. 

“Governments should back this reform agenda with enough resourcing to make it happen according to the Kanofski timeline.” 

In its recent budget submission to the federal government, NatRoad says the government must increase resourcing to scale up and deliver the introduction of the national automated access system 

NatRoad says it is also looking for the government to deploy rapid economic appraisals to unlock as-of-right access on key national highways and extend funding for the NHVR’s Strategic Local Government Asset Assessment Project. 

“We are only two months into 2024 and NatRoad already has a collection of member cases where some road managers seem like they are just trying to find ways of saying ‘no’ to better access, improved productivity and lower emissions,” Clark says. 

“There is a lot of talk about reducing emissions, but these words are empty unless they are backed by more productive road networks across state borders. 

“Improving energy efficiency by running more productive heavy vehicles is one of the most cost-effective decarbonisation strategies which can be deployed today.” 

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