An independent, agile and wide-ranging review of Australia’s Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) is needed urgently and must gain the support of transport ministers, Australian Trucking Association CEO Ben Maguire said today.
Mr Maguire said this critical review of the HVNL must be a high priority when the ministerial Transport and Infrastructure Council meets in Darwin on Friday.
“The review should focus on road access approvals and the prescriptive work and rest hours, including work and rest hour tolerances for electronic work diaries,” Mr Maguire said.
“The heavy vehicle permit approval system for road access within the HVNL states is a barrier to productivity and investment, particularly for oversize/overmass operators.
“It’s estimated 4.5 million days are lost waiting for approvals to move freight.
“For example, one specialist mining equipment transporter had trucks waiting beside the road in the height of summer awaiting journey approvals, with these delays resulting in massive additional costs,” he said.
The ATA recommends the review be chaired by an independent and eminent Australian from outside the transport sector. The review should consider digital, time sensitive and responsive solutions for road access, including the use of blockchain.
“Access permits are a problem that needs to be fixed urgently, but the ATA’s understanding is that ministers won’t be asked to approve the terms of reference of the review till November,” Mr Maguire said.
“We cannot wait until November while loads are stuck beside roads across Australia.
“The terms of reference should be prototyped this week, before the meeting, so the review can get started. If the terms of reference need to be changed later, they can be changed later. That’s the heart of the agile approach that so desperately needs to be adopted by government,” he said.
The HVNL applies in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.