Frequently asked questions about local government.
Can a council approve an access application subject to stated conditions?
Yes, the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) allows road managers to consent to access with conditions to minimise or avoid the following, or the likelihood of the following:
- Significant risk to public safety.
- Damage to road infrastructure.
- Adverse effects on community amenity (specifically noise, emissions, congestion or dust).
Conditions fall into three categories
- 1. Road conditions
- 2. Travel conditions
- 3. Vehicle conditions
Vehicle conditions are the responsibility of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), while road and travel conditions are primarily the responsibility of road managers. Road and travel conditions requested by the road manager must be imposed by the NHVR, whereas vehicle conditions are imposed at the discretion of the NHVR.
Can a council charge for a Route Assessment before road access consent is granted?
Yes, the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) provides that where a route assessment is required, the applicant may be requested to pay for it. This should be for assessments specific to the particular vehicle and route for which access is being requested. The high-level process is:
- 1. Road manager notifies NHVR that a route assessment is required, and an estimate (or actual) cost.
- 2. If necessary, the road manager may also request an extension of time up to 6 months to provide a decision on consent.
- 3. NHVR notifies applicant.
- 4. If applicant agrees to pay, the road manager and applicant liaise to finalise direct payment (the NHVR does not play a part here).
- 5. Once payment is received, the road manager undertakes the route assessment and provides a decision on whether or not to consent.
Note that the time taken between notifying the applicant and the payment being received by the road manager is not counted towards the statutory time limits.
Can a council get a copy of conditions that were on a previously issued permit?
With permits that are subject to renewal under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), councils will be provided with a copy of the permit being considered for renewal. Where councils may not have knowledge about previously issued permits, you can contact the
National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) escalation team to seek assistance for any further information. The NHVR is also working with jurisdictions to standardise conditions and to make these available to councils to inform the conditions that local government seek to apply.
NHVR road manager hotline
Local government road managers can contact the NHVR for assistance with permit processing by emailing accessenquiries@NHVR.gov.au
Once your email has been received and reviewed a NHVR staff member will call you as soon as possible to assist you with your enquiry. Should you deem your request to be urgent please contact us on 1300 696 487 to speak to a NHVR call centre representative.
Can a council refuse an access application?
In accordance with the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), a road manager can only refuse an access application if the heavy vehicle journey will, or is likely to:
- cause damage to road infrastructure
- impose adverse effects on the community arising from noise, emissions or traffic congestion or from other matters stated in approved guidelines
- pose a significant risk to public safety arising from heavy vehicle use that is incompatible with road infrastructure or traffic conditions.
Before a road manager can refuse, consideration must be given to imposing conditions to minimise or avoid the above. When conditions are imposed on an access request or when a council declines to grant access, a statement of reasons must be provided to the applicant.
Can a council request a heavy vehicle route within councils derestriction to be gazetted or pre-approved?
Yes the council can send a request by emailing to accessenquiries@NHVR.gov.au or call 1300 880 493. A Route Update Request form will then be sent to the council for approval.
Can a council request to cancel a current permit with access to councils roads?
Yes, the road manager may request the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to amend or cancel a permit if there is, or likely to be:
- significant risk to public safety
- damage to road infrastructure
- adverse effects on community amenity (specifically noise, emissions, congestion or dust).
How are permits managed or enforced?
Permits are enforced through the same jurisdictional enforcement agencies that were in place prior to the Heavy Vehicle National Law.
How are road names confirmed?
A national GIS database and mapping capability has been set up by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. As part of the access consent process, road managers are able to feed back any errors that are discovered to the NHVR by calling 1300 880 493 or emailing accessenquiries@NHVR.gov.au
How long does a road manager have to make an access permit decision?
In order to respond to the needs of the heavy vehicle industry the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) seeks to finalise permits as quickly as possible. It is understood though that different applications can take greater or lesser amounts of time to assess. Legally, a road manager has up to 28 days to respond to a request from the NHVR to consent to the use of a restricted access vehicle on its roads. The NHVR expects that most heavy vehicle access applications are responded to well within this timeframe.
The NHVR may grant an extension of up to 6 months, if requested by the road manager, in order to undertake a route assessment.
What happens to council permits that were issued before 10 February 2014?
Any permits in place when Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) commenced on 10 February 2014, remain valid until the earliest of:
- their natural expiry date
- the NHVR amends or cancels the permit
- 9 February 2017 (this is 3 years from the commencement of the HVNL)
The renewal of these permits is managed by the NHVR.
What is the role of a road manager under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL)?
The Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) expressly identifies a road manager as having particular responsibilities regarding decision-making for heavy vehicle access to the road network. As a road manager, local councils work directly with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to determine which vehicles operate on their roads and the conditions under which they operate. See Local Government under the HVNL for more information.
What sort of oversight is there to ensure heavy vehicles are operating within the conditions of the access permit?
When a contravention of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) is detected, Authorised Officers have a range of enforcement options which may be applied, including issuing on-the-spot infringement notices.
What support has NHVR made available to councils?
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has staff to assist local councils, including highly skilled engineers with expertise in vehicle dynamics and performance, and can assist councils in understanding different vehicle classes’ interaction with infrastructure. See Local government road manager resources for more information.
What technical support does the NHVR provide for council to make route assessments (such as turning paths for innovative truck configurations) or structural assessments?
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is working with jurisdictional road authorities to provide assistance and support in some cases. Detailed technical input and assessments may also be sourced from third party consultants (potentially at the applicant’s expense if this is for a route assessment for a particular permit).
The NHVR is also working to develop nationally consistent guidelines and decision-support tools to assist road managers.