Vic Labor says national regs don't go far enough

Victorian Opposition backs national regulations, but says the NHVR should be involved in registration and licensing issues

By Brad Gardner | May 9, 2013

The Victorian Opposition has backed legislation to enact national trucking laws in the State, but believes the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) should be given more powers.

Labor’s spokeswoman on ports, freight and logistics Natalie Hutchins pledged the party’s support for the Heavy Vehicle National Law Application Bill, saying she hopes it will cut red tape and reduce the regulatory burden on the trucking industry.

While the regulator will take control of key items such as permit applications, chain of responsibility and fatigue management, transport operators will still need to deal with state and territory road departments on registration and licensing.

"Unfortunately – I think due to time constraints and a lack of willingness from a number of states involved in negotiating the operations of the national regulator – those issues are not going to be addressed immediately," Hutchins says.

"The reasons it is important to have a national perspective on these matters from an industry point of view is that there are currently operators out there that try to take advantage of the ability to register their vehicles in other states to avoid certain obligations. This also applies to driver licensing, with operators trying to get their drivers licensed in other states rather than in the state of origin or where they predominantly operate their business."

Hutchins also wants the regulator to take an active role in the regulation of dangerous goods, which will remain with the states and territories, and to cast its eye over the regulation of B-triples.

"Certainly the regulation of B-triples on Australian roads is a very ad hoc situation at the moment and I would welcome the regulator having a good look at that issue once they are up and running," she says.

Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Gary Blackwood says the State Government has provided $11.3 million in funding to help VicRoads, the Department of Justice and Victoria Police transition to national regulations.

He says VicRoads will sign service level agreements with the regulator to act on its behalf in Victoria.

"Victoria still very much has control of the major aspects of compliance and regulation here in Victoria," Blackwood says.

The NHVR is scheduled to take over the regulation of all heavy vehicles from July 1, except for those operating within Western Australia.

"Currently a trip from Brisbane to Melbourne requires three different permits with three sets of paperwork," Hutchins says.

"This can be reduced to one with the new regulator being put in place. Long-distance truck drivers will no longer need to worry about their vehicles or their loads according to state and territory boundaries."

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