Competitive neutrality should be applied to the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS), the ATA has recommended in its submission to the Australian Government’s competitive neutrality review. The NHVAS is a government owned business that enjoys a net competitive advantage as a result of its public ownership, as NHVAS accredited operators can access regulatory concessions that are not available to operators accredited under other schemes, including TruckSafe.
TruckSafe includes additional safety requirements under its maintenance standard compared to the NHVAS, requires operators to meet all five mandatory standards, uses a more rigorous audit approach, and utilises an independent expert panel to approve applications, audits, and to review the TruckSafe standards. Despite these additional safety and best practice requirements, regulatory concessions such as vehicle inspection exemptions that are available to NHVAS accredited operators are not available to TruckSafe accredited operators.
The Australian Government should amend legislation and work with the other Heavy Vehicle National Law jurisdictions to make the regulatory concessions available to operators under the NHVAS to also be available to private sector competitors, including TruckSafe.
Additionally, the Australian Government policy on competitive neutrality should be amended to seek to minimise the impact of government businesses competing against small businesses with competitive advantages, and to ensure the Australian Government policy is applied to government businesses that fall under the jurisdiction of intergovernmental agreements and the Council of Australian Governments.