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NHVR vows to restart only when ready

Halton refuses to name a date but highlights bolstered management team


“We are not going to do that again,” National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) General Manager, Strategy and Business Development Philip Halton, fresh from losing his boss, assured a high-powered audience in Sydney.

Hilton was speaking during a chain of responsibility (COR) of panel discussion at the Australian Logistics Council Forum six weeks after a disastrous start to regulatory operations and days after CEO Richard Hancock resigned for personal reasons.

“The message we are giving is that we should restart when we are ready, not simply to meet a deadline,” Halton says.

He would not be drawn on a date for the regulator’s resumption of its national role, not least because given that the computer system “not working” and three or four “other things” that needed to be fixed.

He continues: “One of the messages we give to drivers is ‘don’t die for a deadline’, we should not restart those activities until we are absolutely confident they will work because, quite frankly, for a regulator, your job is to find problems and fix them, not cause them.”

Asked about the support from the States, he responded positively, noting that two agencies had sent some of their best senior officers to the organisation.

“Candidly, I lost a colleague but the management team that, in my opinion, he should have had is now in place,” Halton says.

On COR-related developments, Halton notes that with universal responsibility and enforcement officials getting better at what they do: “That means that everybody in this room is sitting in my chair.”

When formerly regulators wondered who they could trust to properly comply, that burden had subsequently fallen on supply chain participants, he points out.

But while there were “no safe harbours in the law”, the national regulator was keen to use a legal framework, as set out under sections 75 and 76 of its Act, for it to aid companies struggling with compliance.

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