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Sterle lambasts push to extend fatigue limits west

Labor senator echoes state trucking body in opposing NHVR's reach being lengthened


A federal MP of the party that championed the establishment of a national heavy vehicle regulatory regime says he does not want it introduced in his home state of Western Australia.

Labor senator Glenn Sterle, himself a former truck driver, used a recent Senate estimates hearing to take a dig at the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), including the fatigue management scheme that is a part of it.

The law currently operates in all jurisdictions except WA and the Northern Territory, and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has spoken of the need for the entire country to switch to the same system.

But when the topic of regulatory harmonisation arose during the estimates hearing, Sterle responded: “God hope it does not happen. We do not want that happening over here.”

Sterle then went on to criticise the fatigue management system used in the eastern states, which differs to the model in WA.

“We do not want in the west that nonsense fatigue regime you have here, I can tell you. I thought I would get that out,” he says.

“I have never been any different on that, although we want our truckies and other road users very safe on the road.”

Sterle was part of the government that clinched a deal in 2011 with state and territory ministers to introduce the HVNL and establish the NHVR.

Former federal transport minister Anthony Albanese labelled a national system “absolutely vital” for removing cross-border anomalies and an “important reform” that was “100 years too late”.

WA and the NT have expressed concern about adopting the HVNL, with both saying their existing heavy vehicle laws best suit their needs.

WA Transport Association (WARTA) CEO Ian King recently said the state’s position had not changed.

“We’re looking at what is happening over there [in the eastern states]. Do we need it in WA since 97 or 98 per cent of the business is intrastate?” King says.

Photography: Brad Gardner

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