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Victoria to get national regulations – with some variations

State roads minister says "minor variations" to national regulations in Victoria will not undermine the intent of the new framework

By Brad Gardner | April 19, 2013

The Victorian Government is planning to make some slight alterations to the model Heavy Vehicle National Law but it insists the changes will not undermine the intention of the new framework.

Roads Minister Terry Mulder (pictured) introduced the Heavy Vehicle National Law Application Bill in Parliament this week to start the process toward the adoption of national regulations.

If passed, the Bill will hand over the regulation of heavy vehicles to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), which is currently operating in Queensland and is due to assume full responsibilities by July 1.

“I am pleased to announce that Victoria will adopt the Heavy Vehicle National Law with only minor variations to provide for fatigue exemptions for emergency and rail replacement buses, thus protecting the status quo in Victoria, and to address issues of justice, fairness and equity in the areas of seizure and forfeiture and challenging an evidentiary certificate,” Mulder says.

“These minor variations will not undermine the intent of the Heavy Vehicle National Law and Victoria will continue to work at the national level to resolve these minor variations.”

Mulder says the passage of the Bill will represent a key step toward reducing red tape and improving the productivity and efficiency of Victorian transport operators.

“The [National Heavy Vehicle] Regulator will ensure the consistent applications of the national law across all participating jurisdictions, resulting in the same outcome in the same circumstances across Australia,” he says.

Queensland is the only state to have enacted the relevant legislation so far, while New South Wales has started the process of moving away from state-based regulation.

Mulder has emphasised that Victoria, like other jurisdictions adopting national regulations, will retain the power to decide road access conditions. The clause has divided industry and government, with the former unsuccessfully seeking an external review process for access applications that are denied.

“Victoria will continue to be responsible for the management of its road network,” Mulder says.

He says local productivity initiatives specific to Victoria will remain in place. All jurisdictions will retain their own initiatives, and the NHVR has previously said it would look at opportunities to expand state or territory-based initiatives across borders.

Mulder says the passage of heavy vehicle-specific legislation has lacked consistency over the years, with states and territories making variations to cater for their own needs.

“By contrast this Heavy Vehicle National Law delivers a single, national law that combines nine different sets of heavy vehicle laws into one. This will cut red tape and greatly improve productivity in the heavy vehicle industry and the Australian economy,” he says.

Debate on Bill has been adjourned until May 2.

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