The trucking industry and other heavy vehicle users pay 93 per cent of the cost of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), Australian Trucking Association Chief of Staff Bill McKinley said today.
Mr McKinley was giving evidence before a Productivity Commission hearing into national transport regulatory reform. He was defending the industry against suggestions that it only paid a very limited part of the NHVR’s costs.
“In fact, the industry pays 93 per cent of NHVR’s costs, through the regulatory component of truck and bus registration charges ($144 million in 2017-18) and fees, fines and charges ($5 million in 2017-18),” Mr McKinley said.
“The regulatory component is calculated by the NTC to cover the NHVR’s budget and then added to registration charges. It is not a trivial amount. For example, the regulatory component for a prime mover rated to tow B-doubles is $912 per year.
“The Productivity Commission should revise its draft finding and recommendation related to cost recovery. We pay the right amount for the NHVR: we certainly shouldn’t have to pay more,” he said.
Mr McKinley emphasised the importance of independent, no-blame safety investigation and accreditation reform.
“The ATA supports the Productivity Commission’s recommendations to extend the role of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau so it can investigate crashes involving heavy vehicles and autonomous vehicles. It’s something we have been arguing for since 2013,” Mr McKinley said.
“Extending the role of the ATSB would improve industry safety by looking beyond the immediate causes of crashes to systemic factors, including the operation of regulators.”
Mr McKinley defended the ATA’s TruckSafe accreditation program, noting that while TruckSafe has been identified as a stronger and more robust system than the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation System, the current alternative compliance arrangements do not reflect this.
“The NHVAS modules do not reflect the current provisions of the law, such as fatigue management under standard hours, load restraint and speed limiter tampering,” Mr McKinley said.
“The role of the NHVR should be changed so it regulates accreditation scheme providers, such as TruckSafe, and auditors but does not run one itself. TruckSafe accredited operators should be able to access the same alternative compliance arrangements as operators in any other scheme
“The ATA’s approach would expand the safety benefits of accreditation and reduce the compliance burden on accredited businesses,” he said.
The ATA and its member associations collectively represent the 50,000 businesses and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry. Together, the ATA and its members are committed to safety, professionalism and viability.