ATA backs reform to PBS

ATA likes idea of PBS reform and tells industry to speak up on how to improve the scheme

March 29, 2010

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) is urging the nation’s transport ministers to support proposed changes to the maligned Performance Based Standards.

The National Transport Commission last week recommended changes to PBS on the basis it was inefficient, costly and poorly run.

In its policy proposal, the NTC highlighted cases of trucks being hit with prescriptive standards beyond what the PBS Review Panel imposed, while jurisdictions were not implementing the scheme consistently.

As well as recommending a national assessment scheme to be controlled by the national heavy vehicle regulator, the NTC also advocated allowing manufacturers to market PBS-approved vehicles.

The NTC also supported ending restrictions on PBS combinations. Currently, operators cannot mix and match prime movers and trailers even if they have been approved.

ATA Chief Executive Stuart St Clair says the NTC proposal will benefit the industry, with a move to component certification making the use of the scheme more appealing to trucking operators.

"This would help reduce the cost of PBS, as currently each application is relevant to an individual combination, not component," he says.

He says while PBS is potentially useful as a parallel path for innovation for niche vehicles, it must not replace prescriptive access arrangements.

"The current prescriptive arrangements work very well for common vehicles such as B-doubles, road trains and modular combinations [but] at the same time, PBS offers niche solutions a sensible access model, as well as enhancement opportunities for prescriptive standards," he says.

Echoing comments from the NTC, St Clair says the industry needs to respond to the NTC’s proposal.

"The NTC has tried to respond but the industry needs to speak up on what it likes and does not like about PBS," Stuart says.

The report is open for public consultation this month.

The ATA is currently reviewing the report before it determines what its submission will contain.

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