HVNL reset is a rare chance to iron out legacy issues

The National Transport Commission (NTC) has released a Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) to give stakeholders a preview of a proposed reworking of Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

The NTC was tasked by the Transport and Infrastructure Council (State and Federal Transport Ministers) to undertake the review to produce a performance-based and outcomes-focused regulation that will:

  • improve safety for all road users
  • support increased economic productivity and innovation
  • simplify administration and enforcement of the law
  • support the use of new technologies and methods of operation, and
  • provide flexible, outcome-focused compliance options.

Federal Transport Minister the Hon Michael McCormack MP said the Government recognises the importance of simplifying the legislation.

“The Australian government will monitor the progress of the NTC review and how we can best enhance road safety and productivity for our heavy vehicle sector through a new and improved HVNL.”

HVIA Chief Executive Todd Hacking joined with the Minister in congratulating the NTC for bringing this document to industry for review and discussion.

“A review of legislation on this scale is a very rare opportunity to iron out legacy issues and we believe the law needs to be less prescriptive and more outcome focused to harness to industry’s innovation,” Mr Hacking said.

He says the new HVNL needs to actively encourage the uptake of newer vehicles and new technology and systems as the most effective mechanism for achieving improved safety and productivity.

“HVIA has been pressing for the new HVNL to embrace the safe systems methodology outlined in the National Road Safety Strategy.

“Rather than focus on sanctions and enforcement the law needs to focus on preventing the problems in the first place.”

“HVIA members will also be interested in commentary surrounding improved access of the network under longer, heavier vehicles as a means of improving productivity. 

“A more efficient, streamlined Performance Based Standards (PBS) regime and a new capacity for manufacturers to self-certify compliance within an approved PBS design is interesting discussion worth having.

“When regulation shifts from being prescriptive to more risk based, then industry can get about creating solutions and technologies that improve safety and productivity as has been shown time and time again in Australia.

There is a recurrent theme in the RIS which identifies the rigidity of the current legislation and its inability to quickly respond in a fast paced technological environment.

“The RIS recommends a new technology and data certifier that can ensure a faster, simpler adoption process for new technologies.

The NTC has said they recognise the RIS is long and technical and have committed to releasing a complementary short-form document to outline how a future HVNL could work.

“It is an important and very detailed document so will take some time to provide a comprehensive analysis and response.

“HVIA will set about doing that in consultation with our State Committees and HVNL Working Group,” Mr Hacking said.


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