JOINT ANNOUNCEMENT: Master Code Drives Heavy Vehicle Safety


A new set of national standards and procedures has been approved by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) for industry to follow, to help drive better safety outcomes.

Development of the new Industry Master Code of Practice resulted from a $433,000 investment through the NHVR’s Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative, which is supported by the Federal Liberal and Nationals’ Government.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Michael McCormack welcomed release of the new Industry Master Code of Practice which was developed by the Australian Trucking Association and the Australian Logistics Council.

Mr McCormack said the new initiative will provide clear directions and guidelines for all operators to follow, to improve safety outcomes and help meet their obligations under the national Heavy Vehicle National Law.

“Australia’s heavy vehicle industry is taking a voluntary lead to further boost safety by developing this Master Code which establishes national standards to manage heavy vehicle compliance,” Mr McCormack said.

“The NHVR has assessed this Code against its guidelines and approved it for industry-wide adoption.

“The Master Code is the culmination of almost 15 months of work beginning at a workshop attended by 20 industry leaders in August last year.”

Mr McCormack said the Master Code was an important step in providing additional guidance required by heavy vehicle operators, to boost safety.

“There were 191 fatalities involving heavy vehicles and buses across Australia last financial year and while this number is trending downward, there is much more work to do,” he said.

“The Master Code will provide the guidance and examples to assist supply chain parties and Executive Officers in managing their safety duty and due diligence obligations.

This is all part of the Federal Government’s work investing in the future – through our $75 billion 10-year infrastructure plan – to ensure Australians can get home sooner and safer.”

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the Master Code was comprised of four chapters to identify risks and control measures for key areas of 1) speed 2) fatigue 3) vehicle standards and 4) mass, dimension and loading.

“The code incorporates technical standards and other guidance material such as the load restraint guide and provides examples of risk controls, while making it clear that adopters must develop and adhere to business practices unique to their operations,” Mr Petroccitto said.

ATA CEO Ben Maguire said the Master Code could also be used as evidence of what is known about risks and control methods associated with Heavy Vehicle National Law compliance. 

“The court can use the same document to determine what was reasonably practicable in a given circumstance,” Mr Maguire said.

“The code was developed by the industry itself through extensive consultation and I particularly want to thank our project manager, Peter Elliot, for his exceptional work on this vital safety initiative.”

ALC Interim CEO Lachlan Benson said the Master Code would provide all parties in the heavy vehicle supply chain with the tools they need to conduct a risk assessment on their business.

“It gives businesses another level of certainty by equipping them with tools that help to identify transport risks, assess those risks, and install reasonably practicable control methods to meet the requirements of the law.

“The development of the Master Code is a powerful demonstration of this industry’s determination to improve safety for all road users.”

The Master Code of Practice is available on the NHVR website at