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Clause by clause rework of draft truck laws needed

18 May 2011

When they meet on Friday, Australia’s transport ministers should order the National Transport Commission to undertake a clause by clause rework of the draft national truck laws, the Chairman of the Australian Trucking Association, David Simon, said today.

Australia’s governments are working to set up a national regulator for the trucking industry and national truck laws.

“The Australian Trucking Association has argued for consistent national truck laws for twenty years, because they have the potential to increase the industry’s productivity and improve safety,” Mr Simon said.

“Australia’s transport ministers have made important progress on developing the policies that will underpin the laws. Some of these will significantly reduce the administrative burden on trucking operators, such as the decision that truck drivers will not be required to carry copies of government notices in their vehicles.

“But the ATA is extremely concerned about the quality of the draft heavy vehicle national laws prepared by the NTC.

“Our policy team and legal counsel have already identified 245 issues with the draft that need to be resolved. We expect to receive legal advice identifying further issues next week.

“The draft is not fit for purpose in its current state. We have urged transport ministers to task the NTC with conducting a clause-by-clause rework of the draft in consultation with the ATA, followed by a second round of industry consultation.

“The draft should not be submitted to ministers for final approval until the rework occurs and the issues we have raised are fully debated, even if this delays the start date for the laws,” David said.

Mr Simon urged ministers to consider a number of policy issues further, including:

• the NTC recommendation not to allow external review of access decisions by road managers;
• the recommendation not to provide operators in TruckSafe with the same regulatory benefits as operators in NHVAS, even though TruckSafe delivers comparable or better safety outcomes;
• the inconsistent approach in the draft to chain of responsibility and the need for the national regulator to be responsible for significant CoR investigations; and
• the need for the national regulator to have oversight of enforcement agencies.