National regulator to rely on state funding

It is "highly unlikely" federal government will give any funds to national heavy vehicle and rail regulators

By Brad Gardner | May 31, 2010

National heavy vehicle and rail regulators will need to rely on funding from state and territory governments to function.

The Executive Director of Infrastructure and Surface Transport Policy, Leslie Riggs, says "it is highly unlikely that there will be significant commonwealth input" into the running of the regulators because they will not be federal bodies.

The heavy vehicle regulator will be established in Queensland with offices scattered across Australia.

Queensland will enact laws and other jurisdictions will be responsible for passing the same legislation to end cross-border inconsistencies.

"At the moment all of those functions [of the regulators] are carried out by the states and territories. So it will be a combination of the states and territories that will provide the funding in those two areas," Riggs says.

The heavy vehicle regulator will put in place national laws for inspection standards, safe driving hours, mass limits and registration. It is proposed all reforms will be fully implemented by 2013, with the laws applying to all vehicles over 4.5 tonnes.

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese says the move from state-based to national regulations will improve safety and productivity, particularly for trucking operators.

"Even small differences can create extra costs, red tape and confusion for the trucking industry, particularly for the many ‘mum and dad’ operators," he says.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority – based in Canberra – will regulate all commercial vessels operating in Australian waters.

South Australia will be the host jurisdiction for the national rail safety regulator.

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