Trucking reforms take a step closer

Ministers back state-based national regulator as Lindsay Fox gains a new gig as a road safety ambassador

Trucking reforms take a step closer
Trucking reforms take a step closer
By Brad Gardner | November 6, 2009

Australia’s transport ministers have backed the introduction of a state-based national trucking regulator, naming three jurisdictions as possible hosts.

Meeting today, the Australian Transport Council (ATC) agreed to a system where the regulator will be hosted by one state. That state will make a ruling and then other jurisdictions will pass laws to ensure national uniformity.

The ATC says New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria have all expressed interest in taking the lead role under a scheme that Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Anthony Albanese says will benefit the industry.

"The regulator will be responsible for aligning the rules and regulations applying to vehicles over 4.5 tonnes, helping to improve the safety and productivity of the trucking industry," he says.

A decision will now be made by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) after the ATC agreed to recommend to the nation’s leaders they support a state-based scheme.

Ministers also used the meeting to name South Australia the host jurisdiction for a national rail safety regulator. The proposal will also go before COAG.

"Offices of the national regulator will be established in each state and territory to manage the day-to-day regulation of local urban systems and interstate freight operations," Albanese says.

Industry group NatRoad earlier this week said it had no preference as to which state hosts the regulator but it wants assurances.

"We would like a state that is effective and can bring other states along with it and has a good track record of working with the industry," NatRoad Chief Executive Bernie Belacic says.

During the meeting, the ATC also named the Canberra-based Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) will be the national maritime regulator.

The ATC also used the meeting to appoint trucking magnate Lindsay Fox as a road safety ambassador to assist the National Road Safety Council.

Fox will join three other ambassadors – former AFL star David Wirrpanda, Sunrise host Melissa Doyle and radio presenter Neil Mitchell.

Ministers appointed seven road safety experts to the Council, which will be chaired by Roger Cook, the current chair of the South Australian Motor Accident Commission.

He will be joined by Ann Bunnell of the Australian Foundation of the Alliance for Healthy Cities and the President of the Australian Automobile Association, Freda Crucitti.

Emeritus Professor Maryann Bin-Sallik of Charles Darwin University has also been appointed, as has former motorcycle racing champion Wayne Gardner.

Dr Soames Job from the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) and Professor Ian Johnston from the National Transport Commission have also been named.

"The Council’s immediate task will be to advise governments on the development of the next 10-year National Road Safety Strategy, a long-term vision for road safety improvements," the communiqué reads.

The new strategy will be designed to tackle road safety for the period 2011 to 2020 and adopt national targets to reduce death and serious injury.

Coinciding with the announcement is a commitment to continue a new railway level crossing strategy for the next decade.

Under the strategy, governments will consider introducing warning devices, camera-based enforcement and nationally consistent speed notices.

During the meeting, the ATC also agreed to a national framework for land transport security and also considered progress on moves to integrate decision-making on urban congestion.

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