Ministers backing one rule book for heavy vehicles from 1 September 2013
Australia’s transport ministers are backing the most significant heavy vehicle road transport reform the nation’s ever seen to reach another critical milestone on 1 September 2013.
Ministers recently agreed that the new Heavy Vehicle National Law will commence in all states and territories (except Western Australia) in September, effectively replacing up to eight different sets of legislation with one national rule book.
Once in place, the new national law will be administered by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), which opened for business in January 2013.
NHVR CEO, Richard Hancock, welcomed the decision and thanked the Ministers for their continued support of this historic reform, which has established a single national authority to oversee heavy vehicle access to the Australian road system.
Once the new rule book is adopted nationally, the NHVR will deliver a significantly wider range of services in a one-stop-shop for heavy vehicle road transport business with government.
"One rule book under one regulator will cut costs and red tape for more than 50,000 specialised road freight businesses, as well as bus transport operators, across the country," Mr Hancock said.
"Operators will see streamlined and practical operations and regulation for heavy vehicle access, accreditation and fatigue management, all matters that impact on the day-to-day business of heavy vehicle operators, large and small.
"We are particularly committed to more flexible, practical fatigue management arrangements and with Minister’s backing last week, we are now moving to introduce a national pilot later this year," said Mr Hancock.
Ministers also approved the NHVR’s annual budget for 2013/2014, supporting the Regulator to continue to recruit and scale-up to a significantly wider range of services in September and further into 2014.
The NHVR has also been directed to examine the feasibility and benefits of a heavy vehicle rating system.
"The NHVR’s approach to this task will involve partnership and consultation with industry over the next year to understand the feasibility for the proposed rating system, including its relationship to existing accreditation schemes and Chain of Responsibility requirements, " said Mr Hancock.
Ministers asked the NHVR to prepare a detailed implementation plan for Ministers’ consideration later in 2013, for a national electronic work diary, as an alternative to the current paper-based work diary.
Any law reform for the electronic work diary will be led by the National Transport Commission to ensure drivers and operators are not treated unfairly for adopting new technology.
Over the next 12 months, Australia’s heavy vehicle industry will see the NHVR’s increasing activity in compliance and enforcement and chain of responsibility.
"We want to be sure we’re allowing for the industry’s smooth transition to these aspects of the new regulatory regime," Mr Hancock said.
As host state for the Regulator, Queensland already passed the national law in February 2013. Other participating states and territories are currently replacing their heavy vehicle legislation to give effect to the new rule book.
Based in Brisbane, the NHVR currently manages National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) services and Performance-Based Standards (PBS) design and vehicle approvals.
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