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Reform agenda must boost trucking safety and productivity

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11 July 2019

Boosted safety and productivity for the trucking industry must be a priority in the national transport regulatory reforms, Australian Trucking Association (ATA) Chief of Staff, Bill McKinley, said today. 

The ATA represents the 50,000 businesses and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry. 

Mr McKinley was releasing the ATA’s submission to the Productivity Commission National Transport Regulatory Reform issues paper, highlighting the need for measures to improve industry productivity and safety. 

“Fundamental reform is required for road access decisions under the national truck laws, to recognise that local roads are part of a wider network and that decisions to refuse access have significant impact on the economy,” Mr McKinley said. 

“The national truck laws and regulatory reforms have failed to boost trucking industry sector-wide productivity and there must be reform. 

“The laws were predicted to deliver up to $12.4 billion in economic benefits, but since their introduction in 2014, productivity has gone backward. 

“This is made clear in the independent report from Deloitte Access Economics that the ATA released in May this year,” he said. 

The ATA has called for the introduction of enforceable standards for access decision-makers, external reviews of decisions, reduced processing times and the expansion of as-of-right access. 

“Governments should also adopt supply side road funding reforms that set clear and measurable service level standards when building roads,” Mr McKinley said. 

Mr McKinley also highlighted the need to protect the productivity of Western Australian and Northern Territory trucking businesses. These businesses operate under their own state laws and not the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). 

“There is much to be learned from the successful truck laws in Western Australia and the Northern Territory,” he said. 

“There is no case for extending the HVNL to these states.” 

The ATA submission to the issues paper has called for improved safety measures, highlighting the need for governments to better understand why crashes occur. 

“The ATA believes an important step in improving industry safety is to see the introduction of independent, no-blame safety investigations for heavy vehicle crashes,” Mr McKinley said. 

Mr McKinley said the ATA was also calling for governments to act to increase the use of advanced safety technologies. 

“All new rigid trucks should be included in the Australian Government’s decision to mandate stability control, and autonomous emergency braking should be mandated for all new trucks,” he said. 

Mr McKinley said governments should also incentivise the purchase and use of new, safer heavy vehicles by removing stamp duty. 

“These measures will play a key role improving the safety of hardworking truck drivers and productivity across the industry,” he said. 

View the submission