Call for states to have no say in PBS

State and local governments labelled impediments to an effective PBS scheme, with calls for it to circumvent jurisdictions

By Brad Gardner

State and local governments continue to be labelled impediments to an effective Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme, with calls for the program to circumvent jurisdictions.

Responding to the April 2009 review of PBS, the Australian Trucking Association has recommended a single decision making point be established with no additional state-based conditions.

In a letter to the National Transport Commission, ATA Chief Executive St Clair says states must not play a role in PBS if the scheme is to be successful.

He also accused local governments of granting access based on perception rather than infrastructure dimensions.

"We believe PBS has more potential than is being realised, compounded by the failure of state jurisdictions to map access," St Clair writes.

"Some feedback to us suggests that the pricing and other specific agendas of some road agencies are unhelpful in this respect."

Unless a single decision making point is established, the ATA claims PBS will remain a niche policy rather than an influential access management tool.

The ATA is also pushing for changes to the PBS permit system, advocating a gazette notice system rather than the current method of granting permits on a case-by-case basis.

The peak lobby group has also urged the NTC to scrap a proposal to include B-triples in the PBS review, saying they have already been certified as safe for use.

"When the PBS ruler was run over B-triples they met the relevant standards by either equalling or out-performing the performance of B-doubles against their relative standards," St Clair says.

Citing what it claims are "unreasonable hurdles" in Victoria and NSW, the ATA wants the NTC to focus on protecting existing operational arrangements in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

The NTC has been asked to establish "sensible workable B-triple descriptions and access conditions", which the ATA argues will progress a government directive to achieve greater vehicle access outside road train areas.

The next PBS review is scheduled to take place on July 23, and the ATA says it is committed to improving the scheme.

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