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NHVR releases PBS discussion paper

The NHVR is calling for industry input into shaping the future of the PBS scheme

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has released a Discussion Paper seeking industry input to help shape the future of the Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme – ensuring it continues to lead and promote innovation in the Australian heavy vehicle industry.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says the Performance Based Standards 2.0 Discussion Paper primarily focuses on opportunities to reduce regulatory, administrative and cost barriers for industry and promote innovative approaches to heavy vehicle safety and productivity.

“The PBS scheme, which now has more than 15,400 combinations operating across the country, has played a significant role in transforming road freight transport in Australia,” Petroccitto says.

“The scheme puts safer, more productive vehicles on our roads – allowing more freight to be moved in a safe way with fewer truck movements.

“As the freight task keeps growing and we continue to be challenged by driver shortages, it is essential that we do everything we can to improve accessibility to safer and more productive heavy vehicles and encourage innovative approaches to move goods.

“The Discussion Paper has a strong focus on working with road managers to open up increased access for PBS vehicles, so they can operate on the same networks as their conventional equivalents, provide certainty of access for these vehicles, and eliminate the need for permits.

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“It also provides a pathway for PBS vehicles to exit the PBS scheme into the ‘as-of-right’ fleet, as we have recently delivered through the National Class 3 20m Long 3-axle Truck and 4-axle Dog Trailer Mass and Dimension Exemption Notice.”

The NHVR’s preferred option presented in the PBS 2.0 Discussion Paper comprises three key components that will:

  • ensure PBS vehicles remain at the forefront of innovation through the dynamic management of PBS Standards
  • create a ‘lifecycle’ for a PBS vehicle from initial concept through to exit from the PBS scheme for common and mature design concepts
  • expedite end-to-end approval processes through opportunities for third parties – such as, assessors, certifiers and manufacturers – to support delivery of regulatory functions.

“The Discussion Paper provides a comprehensive review of the PBS scheme and is designed to be a consultative process. We know there is a lot to consider, so we’ll be holding a series of webinars in early 2023 to provide the chance to discuss your views and provide feedback,” Petroccitto says.

“The work undertaken through PBS 2.0 will inform the Review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law.”

To read the Discussion Paper, register for a webinar or find out how to submit your views, visit and submit a written submission before February 17, 2023.

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