ATA proposes two-stage approach to national regs

ATA wants governments to adopt new approach to national regulations, amid criticism of NTC

June 24, 2011

The Australian Trucking Association wants governments to adopt a new approach to uniform regulations and has singled out the National Transport Commission for criticism over its drafting of the reforms.

Following up its submission earlier this year to the NTC citing 245 issues with the draft national law proposal, ATA CEO Stuart St Clair says a two-stage approach is necessary to address the association’s concerns.

Describing the current drafting process as being "in disarray", the ATA says a draft Bill should be introduced into Queensland Parliament later this year as long as it addresses most of the industry’s concerns, is redrafted and broadly comparable with model work health and safety law.

Queensland Parliament is responsible for introducing the Bill to establish national regulations because the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator will be based in the state.

"When Australia’s transport ministers sign off the Bill, they should also commit to preparing a package of amendments to the Bill – the second stage of the process," St Clair says.

"These amendments would need to be introduced into the Queensland Parliament before 30 June 2012, and would need to commence at the same time as the original Bill."

He says the amendments must address the unresolved policy issues raised by the ATA and its member associations.

He says the two-stage approach recognises the need to get legislation passed before the concept of national law stalls and will also ensure the reform delivers results for industry.

St Clair panned the NTC for its efforts in drafting the legislation and wants governments to scale back the agency’s responsibilities.

"The National Transport Commission has shown it does not have the capacity to draft complex legislation like the national truck laws, despite its new strategic plan," he says.

"As a result, the responsibility for drafting the amendments and future changes to the law should be transferred to the NHVR Project Board and the project director."

St Clair wants a roundtable advisory group made up of federal and state government representatives and the ATA and member associations.

"The Government representatives on the advisory group must not outnumber the industry delegates," he has demanded.

St Clair also hinted that some state road departments are trying to scuttle the move to a single national model in favour of retaining the status quo.

He says the ATA and its member groups have been advocating uniform regulations for 20 years.

"If the trucking industry walks away from the process because of our frustration and anger about poor quality of the draft laws, it will simply play into the hands of some officials in the road agencies who want to remain in the past," St Clair says.

The ATA proposal was approved during the group’s council meeting this week, but was opposed by the West Australian Road Transport Association.

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