National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) Chief Executive, Sal Petroccitto, and recently elected President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Mayor Troy Pickard, are committed to supporting local governments in their role as road managers for nearly 80 percent of Australia's road network.
Speaking at the ALGA National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Tamworth earlier this month, Mr Petroccitto said local government is a critical stakeholder for the NHVR and the Regulator was working closely with ALGA to better understand what support local governments need.
"I recognise that for many local governments considering whether to open up their road networks to heavy vehicles is a balancing act," said Mr Petroccitto.
"Councils have a responsibility to protect road infrastructure assets, but also know that the 'first and last' mile of many heavy vehicle journeys is vital for local productivity and to keep the country moving.
Mayor Pickard highlighted that local government invests an estimated $7.5 billion per annum in the local road network.
"It is important to protect local government's most important asset, while managing road access to maximise benefits to our community" Mayor Pickard said.
Mr Petroccitto said that since the challenges experienced at the commencement of the national law, the NHVR has listened to local government and is working to map the demand for permits across the country, in order to identify hot spots and help with regional issues.
"The NHVR now has a deliberate demand-management approach and is driving down the initial need for permits by securing local government pre-approval for agreed routes," said Mr Petroccitto.
"Through partnerships with governments and industry associations, more than 500 routes are already pre-approved, mostly in Victoria and Tasmania, drastically reducing the number of access requests sent to local government road managers," he said.
The NHVR was also working with ALGA to better understand local government’s technical capabilities and capacity to assess routes.
"We are developing tools with industry partners to streamline this process for local government, with the Performance-based Standards (PBS) Route Assessment Tool being a good example.
"All these measures are concrete demonstrations of the NHVR’s commitment to supporting local government," said Mr Petroccitto.
"ALGA will continue to work with the NHVR on behalf of local government to ensure road and transport reforms work for the benefit of our communities, protect our local road assets and ensure appropriate access regimes are adopted across the local road network," said Mayor Pickard.
For more information and resources for local government, visit: www.nhvr.gov.au/local-government.