National Heavy Vehicle Regulator  a step closer

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National Heavy Vehicle Regulator a step closer

Australia’s transport ministers have agreed to amend the proposed national truck laws, to address 849 issues identified by the heavy vehicle industry and state road agencies.

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Australia’s transport ministers have agreed to amend the proposed national truck laws, to address 849 issues identified by the heavy vehicle industry and state road agencies.

The ministers took the decision at the inaugural meeting of the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure, under their plan to set up a National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and the Heavy Vehicle National Law from 1 January 2013.

Industry representatives such as the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) were also in attendance, and were able to put their views directly to the ministers.

Legislation

ATA chairman David Simon, who described the decision as a ‘victory’, was an observer at the meeting, where he urged the ministers to endorse an initial Bill to set up the national regulator and laws, with an amendment Bill to follow next year.

‘The ministers agreed to this approach, which will give us the chance to argue for amendments to fix the many serious issues with the draft,’ said Simon.

‘One of the ATA’s priorities is to make sure that directors, corporate officers, sole traders and partners in trucking businesses are innocent until proven guilty of road transport offences. Under the current Bill, they are presumed to be guilty — which goes against everything Australians believe is fair and just.’

‘In addition, road asset managers like local governments need to be more accountable for their decisions about the trucks that can use their roads.’

Baird — chair

Also during the meeting, the ministers:
  • approved the draft national Rail Safety Law
  • assigned the responsibility for finalising the national laws to the NHVR project board and project office
  • appointed Bruce Baird, the former NSW Transport Minister, as the inaugural chair of the NHVR Board.
Simon welcomed the appointment of Baird, whom he said had been NSW transport minister from 1988–1995, ‘at a time when a series of accidents involving trucks led to significant reforms and the creation of the ATA to promote safety, professionalism and viability’.

‘I look forward to showing Mr Baird how the industry has markedly improved its safety since the 1980s and early 1990s, with safer trucks, safer roads, safer drivers and safer trucking businesses,’ he said.
 
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