Industry groups welcome national regulators

Major transport groups back announcement of national regulator but warn there is much to do to ensure scheme succeeds

Major transport industry groups have welcomed the recommendation by the Australian Transport Council (ATC) to adopt single national regulators for all sectors of the transport industry but have warned there is still much to be done to ensure such a scheme operates successfully.

Australian Trucking Association (ATA) Chairman Trevor Martyn says while national regulations have the potential to be an essential safety initiative, trucking stakeholders need to be able to move forward without losing existing productivity, access arrangements and other benefits.

"It needs to be remembered that most of the trucking industry does not operate across state borders and will not directly benefit from national heavy vehicle regulations," Martyn says.

"These companies will only benefit if the uniform regulations are easier to understand and follow.

"Any change must not disadvantage their operations while promoting similar positive outcomes for interstate operators and national companies who operate on intrastate routes.

NatRoad has been accredited with pushing the hardest for a national regulation by commissioning an independent report into the issue and holdings meetings with governments across the country.

NatRoad President Rob McIntosh says the decision is a "significant step forward" in developing a safer and more productive heavy vehicle sector.

"For Interstate and long distance operators in particular this can mean a substantial reduction in ‘red-tape’ currently generated through having to comply with up to eight different sets of State and Territory regulations," McIntosh says.

"This is a crucial decision for Australia as we deal with the worst economic crisis in decades. It means we as operators can better focus on the real job of safely servicing the Australian freight task."

The rail industry, which will receive a national safety regulator and a national safety investigator through the scheme, believes the proposed date for new regulations to come into place is too far away.

"The ATC’s decision is a major milestone towards the final anticipated decision by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to adopt this important national reform," Australian Railways Association CEO Brian Nye says.

"[The ARA is] concerned that the announced timetable [for implementation] is too long, giving States until 2013 to fully implement the National Rail Safety Regulator arrangements.

"Industry is ready now for the National Regulator and Investigator and we believe full implementation can be achieved by the latest date of January 1 2012."

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