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Review the Heavy Vehicle National Law says committee

Trucking industry gains progress on some points sought, bar FIRS change


Queensland Parliament’s Transport and Public Works Committee has urged a Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) assessment be undertaken, in its report on proposed amendments.

But there appears to some possible hurdles in the advice.

“The committee also notes that any review of the national legislation would need to be considered and agreed to by the Transport and Infrastructure Council,” it says in its Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 report.

“While the committee notes that this is a matter for the Minister, it considers that it would be prudent that the Minister consult with his interstate colleagues on whether there is a need for a comprehensive review of the HVNL as suggested by stakeholders.”

Stakeholders support a “timely review” of HVNL, committee chair Shane King states in the report’s foreword.

It is a position the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) also backs.

But the push for the reforms to be enacted as soon as practicable, rather than delayed to year’s end as proposed by the farming lobby, looks like falling in between the positions.

The Queensland transport department (TMR) advised that the start date for the three phases of Chain Of Responsibility (COR) in executive officer liability provisions within the HVNL is to yet to be confirmed but is expected to start this calendar year.

This, however, must follow the passage of a further HVNL amendment Bill in the second half of the year, “subject to parliamentary processes”.

The committee says its task was to consider whether the Bill had “sufficient regard to the rights and liberties of individuals, and to the institution of Parliament”.

“With regard to the issue of the timing of the commencement of the proposed amendments, the committee is satisfied that sufficient effort is being expended by the NHVR and other industry bodies to ensure that affected stakeholders will be aware of their obligations prior to commencement,” the committee says.

“With regard to the issue of voluntary directors’ responsibilities, the committee is satisfied that the proposed amendment is consistent with other provisions within the Act.”

The committee also considers that existing provisions the WHS legislation and the proposed provisions in the HVNL result in the same outcomes for voluntary directors.

The possibilities of loopholes was a point of contention for the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) and the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad).

However, it states this issue should be the subject of discussion in any future review of the Act.

The industry could make no headway on the closure of the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS).

The committee merely notes that the decision is within the federal government’s jurisdiction and that the proposed amendments “provide registration relief for those heavy vehicles transitioning to the Queensland registration system from FIRS”.

Regarding the advantages and disadvantages of the registration being state and territory based, with only the database maintained by the NHVR, the committee merely pointed to the department’s position that “this was a decision made by the Transport and Infrastructure Council in reviewing the legislation and policies.

“The advantages of course are simplicity around providing the information quickly and being able to provide it to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator simply out of a central repository,” the department says.

“There is already a central repository that exists for all vehicles, which is NEVDIS [National Exchange of Vehicle and Driver Information System] run by Austroads, and they are effectively pulling the information out of that system so that the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator can manage the heavy vehicle fleet.

“The difficulty of course with full transition to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator would be customers being able to pay for their registration, go to customer service centres et cetera. They can still do that with the state based systems. Obviously this is a point in time. These things may be reviewed in the future.”

The point on vehicle owners being alerted by road authorities about driver infractions in their trucks was supported.

The committee considers that the benefits of these provisions outweigh the privacy issues outlined by legal and civil liberties bodies.


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