LBCA 2015: Permit approval times improving

By: Brad Gardner

Average time taken to process heavy vehicle permit applications improves significantly.

LBCA 2015: Permit approval times improving
Significant improvement: NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says the average time taken to approve heavy vehicle permits has dropped considerably.


State and local road agencies across the country have slashed the average time taken to process heavy vehicle permit applications, marking a significant improvement since late last year. 

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) CEO Sal Petroccitto says the average time taken to approve permits across the country has fallen to around 11 days.

He made the announcement at this year’s Livestock and Bulk Carriers Association’s (LBCA) annual conference.

"Nationally, in terms of performance at the moment we’re seeing an average of around that 10-11 days across the country, be it local government or be it state government," Petroccitto says.

As ATN reported last year, the average permit processing time nationally had blown out to 21 days, while some governments were taking longer than the legal requirement of 28 days.

"There actually has been a significant improvement. We are still aware of particular bottlenecks but we now have got a dedicated local government team on board which is starting to do the rounds with local government," Petroccitto says.

He says councils are still outperforming state governments when it comes to approving permit applications.

"Across the board, local government on the whole is slightly a bit better and I think that has got to do with the number of permits they’re dealing with," Petroccitto says. 

His appearance at last year’s Local Roads and Transport Congress to implore councils to improve permit processing timeframes appears to have paid off. 

"We’re seeing a concerted effort from local governments to actually improve their performance. So they’re engaging, which is really good," Petroccitto says. 

"Jurisdictions, overall, we’re seeing some good performance. Victoria is doing some really good stuff with local governments and across the board the other states are starting to improve their response time to us, which means the industry is getting better responses."

Under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), road managers are allowed to take up to 28 days to process a permit application. 

Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters (ALRTA) executive director Mathew Munro, who took part in the LBCA’s 2015 conference, says some road agencies are using the 28-day limit as a guide instead of focusing on processing permits as quickly as possible. 

"I think the idea behind that [28 day limit] was previously there was no timeframe, so having a timeframe seemed to be a step in the right direction. We’ve certainly heard that some road managers are using that timeframe to the full extent and perhaps slowing down what used to be a quicker process," he says.

"As long as they meet that 28-day timeframe, from their perspective they’re adhering to the law."

Petroccitto supports changes to the outer limit, but believes a one-size-fits-all timeframe is not the solution. 

"I think we need to assess it on each of the permit classes. I firmly believe that certain classes will get a faster response time to others," he says. 

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