National heavy vehicle reforms
The Department of Transport and Main Roads is working with the Commonwealth and all other jurisdictions on two major reforms on how heavy vehicles are regulated. These national reforms aim to increase productivity in the freight sector by applying a single set of regulations through a single regulator across Australia.
National Heavy Vehicle Regulator
The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) will administer a national body of law to govern the regulation of all vehicles over 4.5 tonnes. The establishment of the NHVR aims to improve productivity and international competitiveness, and reduce the regulatory burden for industry, making it easier for businesses and workers to operate across state borders. The NHVR will be a single contact point, providing centralised services and information to heavy vehicle operators across Australia on matters such as registration, mass and loading, fatigue management, and compliance and enforcement.
On 13 November 2012, the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) Amendment Bill 2012 (the Amendment Bill) was introduced into Queensland Parliament. Subject to the Queensland Government’s parliamentary priorities, this Amendment Bill will be passed in early 2013 and will replace the Heavy Vehicle National Law Act 2012. Passage of the Amendment Bill paves the way for the other states and territories to enact the legislation in their parliaments, aiming for a consistent regulatory framework administered by the NHVR later in 2013.
On 21 January 2013, the NHVR will open for business, initially offering National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) and Performance-Based Standards (PBS) services on a national basis. From July 2013, once the HVNL is in place in the majority of states and territories, the NHVR will deliver a comprehensive range of services under a consistent regulatory framework. Until then, Australia’s heavy vehicle owners and operators will continue to do all remaining heavy vehicle road transport business with state and territory road transport authorities.
Visit the NHVR website for more information on how the NHVR will operate and the services provided.
Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment Reform
Following an inquiry by the Productivity Commission into road and rail infrastructure pricing, in April 2007, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) established the COAG Road Reform Plan to assess the feasibility of introducing more direct pricing for heavy vehicles and to examine the future funding arrangements for roads.
In November 2011, the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure (SCOTI) submitted the feasibility study to COAG and in July 2012, COAG noted the feasibility study and its recommendations. The name of the project was changed to the Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment Reform to reflect the now broader scope of the project.
The next phase of the project is the development of a package of reforms which includes the mechanisms to transparently link charges revenue to road funding, economic incentives and accountabilities for road providers, transparently funding services that promote social objectives and new arrangements for price setting.
In November 2012, SCOTI endorsed 3 reform options to be developed further and included in a draft Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) for consultation. A Transport Consultative Forum (TCF) has been established by the HVCI Board to provide advice on stakeholder issues. Representatives of the TCF include peak bodies, national and state transport associations, primary industries, transport companies and local government.
The next steps of the project are:
- December 2012 - May 2013 - carry out stakeholder focus groups on the reform options and industry briefings in the lead up to the release of the draft RIS
- June to July 2013 - release of the draft RIS for public consultation including industry forums
- November 2013 - consideration of decision RIS by SCOTI
- December 2013 - forward to COAG for consideration with recommendation.