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NSW starts move toward national regulations

State's transport minister introduces bills to consolidate laws and lay the groundwork for the shift to national regulations

By Brad Gardner | February 20, 2013

New South Wales has started laying the groundwork for the shift to national heavy vehicle regulations by introducing bills to consolidate a number of transport laws.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) yesterday introduced three bills in Parliament to remove anomalies and inconsistencies afflicting the state’s transport regime.

Berejiklian says road users currently need to grapple with five acts and 10 regulations, each with different definitions for heavy motor vehicle, traffic, drive and driver. She says provisions relating to demerit points are scattered throughout different laws, making it hard for drivers to understand what applies to them.

“Moreover, there are areas of duplication, repetition and extensive cross-referencing,” Berejiklian says.

“These bills consolidate NSW road transport legislation and prepare for the eventual adoption of the Heavy Vehicle National Law [HVNL] in this state.”

The Road Transport Legislation (Repeal and Amendment) Bill will rename the Road Transport (General) Act as the Road Transport (Vehicle and Driver Management) Act.

Berejiklian says the new Act will be confined to covering mass, dimension and load-restraint requirements for heavy vehicles and govern heavy vehicle-specific regulations such as fatigue management.

“The separation of heavy vehicle road transport provisions in the Road Transport (Driver and Vehicle Management) Act paves the way for the application of Heavy Vehicle National Law in NSW,” she says.

“This Act and its two regulations will be repealed later in 2013. There will be no major amendments to the new Road Transport Act.”

The remaining two bills introduced yesterday for make minor amendments to the structure of transport laws.

Berejiklian says the Road Transport Bill amalgamates three separate laws and the general transport compliance and enforcement provisions of the Road Transport (General) Act into one piece of legislation.

She says the consolidation is designed to improve road users’ understanding of their rights and responsibilities.

“The chances include the removal of inconsistency, repetition, anomalies and redundancy,” Berejiklian says.

The third bill, the Road Transport (Statutory Rules) Bill, amends regulations under existing transport legislation that will continue when the new Road Transport Act takes effect.

Debate on the three bills has been adjourned.

Queensland is the only jurisdiction to have passed the relevant legislation governing national heavy vehicle regulations.

Except for Western Australia, the other states and territories are due to pass the HVNL early this year so national regulations begin fully on July 1.

The Brisbane-based National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is currently restricted to looking after Performance Based Standards and the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme.

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