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Trucking industry welcomes red tape review

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21 January 2019

The Australian Trucking Association welcomes today’s announcement of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) review. 

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) represents the 50,000 businesses and 211,500 people in the Australian trucking industry. 

The Heavy Vehicle National Law regulates trucking operations in every state except Western Australia and the Northern Territory. 

ATA Chair Geoff Crouch said the law was far too long, prescriptive and complicated. 

“At 633 pages, the national truck law is more than three times the length of the Civil Aviation Act, which governs air travel, and more than four times the length of the Rail Safety National Law, which regulates train safety,” Mr Crouch said. 

“Last year, the ATA and its member associations secured major changes to the chain of responsibility provisions in the law, which made them more straightforward and fair. 

“The rest of the national truck law needs to be looked at again from first principles, and the review announced today will deliver the back to basics approach that we so desperately need. 

“Australia has the fifth largest freight task in the world. Road freight is essential to the Australian economy. It is vital that we have clear and modern legislation in place,” he said. 

The ATA believes the review must carefully consider key issues including: 

  • the prescriptive work and rest hours, including work and rest hour tolerances for electronic work diaries
  • heavy vehicle access approvals
  • removing red tape
  • performance based standards
  • the use of technology and data for regulatory purposes and
  • heavy vehicle accreditation, with the independent Medlock Review calling for dramatic changes. 

“In our discussions with government about the review last year, the trucking industry said that the NTC would need to be guided by an Expert Reference Panel with wide-ranging expertise and direct access to ministers,” Mr Crouch said. 

“As a result of our discussions with the NTC and the alternative terms of reference that we drafted, the review will include the reference panel that we need, the right chair and the right members. 

“Our council was determined to see the panel chaired by an eminent Australian with wide-ranging productivity expertise. Our councillors said they wanted a chair who would bring insights from other areas of the economy to road transport regulation. 

“Governments have delivered on our approach with the appointment of panel chair Peter Harris AO. Peter was the Chair of the Productivity Commission until last September. He will bring his vast expertise to the role and help inject new thinking into the discussion about how to regulate our industry. 

“We also welcome the review panel members, which include SARTA President and ATA Director Sharon Middleton, Queensland Trucking Association CEO Gary Mahon, and NT Road Transport Association Executive Officer Louise Bilato.   

“The expert panel members have immense practical experience. Their common sense and dedication will keep the review on the right road,” he said. 

Members of the trucking industry will be given a chance to have their say on the HVNL review at the ATA’s Trucking Australia conference in Perth on 3-5 April. 

“We will include sessions and workshops in the event program that provide a platform for positive discussion and debate,” Mr Crouch said. 

“This is a chance for industry professionals to come together and share their opinion on what the law should look like,” he said. 

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