National regs should be delayed if necessary: ATA

ATA calls on transport ministers to order the NTC to completely rework proposed national trucking regulations

Mat 19, 2011

The Australian Trucking Association (ATA) has made a direct request to transport ministers to urge a complete rework of proposed national trucking regulations, including delaying their introduction if necessary.

As ministers prepare to meet this Friday as part of the Australian Transport Council (ATC), ATA Chairman David Simon says the association is concerned about the quality of the draft proposal on the regulations released in February.

He wants ministers to order the National Transport Commission (NTC) to conduct a clause-by-clause overhaul of the draft followed by a new round of industry consultation.

"The draft should not be submitted to ministers for final approval until the rework occurs and the issues we have raised are fully debated, even if this delays the start date for the laws," Simon says.

National regulations are due to begin in 2013 to improve productivity and efficiency. They will be overseen by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

Simon says progress has been made on developing policies to underpin national regulations, such as reducing the administrative burden on trucking operators by not requiring them to carry multiple copies of government notices in their vehicles.

"The Australian Trucking Association has argued for consistent national truck laws for twenty years, because they have the potential to increase the industry’s productivity and improve safety," he says.

The ATA submitted a response to the draft proposal, raising 245 issues it argues needs to be resolved. The ATA expects to receive legal advice next week on further issues.

Simon wants transport ministers to consider a host of policy issues, such as the NTC recommendation not to allow external review of access decisions by road managers.

The ATA believes TruckSafe-accredited companies should receive the same benefits as operators enrolled in the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS).

The ATA also wants an assurance that the regulator will be responsible for significant chain of responsibility investigations and have oversight over enforcement agencies.

The ATA is not the only group seeking guarantees on the role of enforcement agencies under national regulations.

The Australian Logistics Council wants strict controls put in place to keep police agencies and government departments in line if the regulator delegates responsibilities to jurisdictions to act on its behalf.

In his response to the draft proposal, trucking advocate Rod Hannifey cited a need to address heavy-handed enforcement techniques and to give drivers one set of clear rules to comply with.

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