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NatRoad optimistic about restart of heavy vehicle law reform process

NatRoad says the return of the steering committee into the HVNL is a positive sign

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) says it is quietly optimistic that the reform process will resume soon following the first meeting of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) Steering Committee.

The high-powered committee of senior Commonwealth and state bureaucrats overseeing the implementation of legislative and non-legislative reform agreed to by the Infrastructure and Transport Ministers earlier this year met recently.

The Steering Committee is considered critical in the process. It will report to the Infrastructure and Transport Senior Officials’ Committee and through it, to Australian transport ministers.

“NatRoad understands there’s a long way to go, but at least this is a start,” says NatRoad CEO Warren Clark.

“The National Transport Commission (NTC) is set to deliver a Decision Regulatory Impact Statement on the new HVNL in the first quarter of 2023.

“From there, it will provide a draft bill for new HVNL primary law for ministers’ consideration in late 2023 that is expected to be in line with the agreed reform package.

“That’s only part of the story, and there will be a range of reforms that don’t require law changes being taken to the Steering Committee.

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“We hope that many of the regulatory handbrakes on productivity will come off, and we’ll have an enforcement regime based on common sense and not revenue raising.”

Clark says it’s significant that Ken Kanofski, who led consultations with the road freight industry in 2022, remained an adviser to the Steering Committee.

“In this time of ever-increasing operating costs, wage growth demand, inflation, compliance charges and stubbornly high diesel prices, the need for sensible and timely reform cannot be overstated,” Clark says.

“As industry participants, agencies and regulators alike, we must all put the usual politicking aside, avoid process delays, and focus on the low-hanging fruit of real productivity gains for road freight operators, which will ultimately benefit the community.

“We welcome the fortnightly progress updates commencing in February 2023 and intend to hold the Steering Committee accountable for achieving the change our industry so desperately requires.”

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