NHVR eager to secure work diary exemption in Victoria

By: Brad Gardner

Fatigue experts are working with VicRoads to address its concerns about a 160km work diary exemption.

NHVR eager to secure work diary exemption in Victoria


The agency regulating the trucking industry across most of Australia is hopeful of clinching a deal soon with Victoria to introduce a generous work diary exemption in the state.

Discussions between the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and VicRoads on exempting some primary production workers from filling out a work diary are ongoing, as the NHVR tries to ease the department’s concerns about the safety of the measure (see Owner//Driver issue #266, March 2015).

The exemption, which Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory all support, means those carrying out primary production journeys within 160km of their base do not need to maintain a work diary.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto says the group’s fatigue management experts are working with VicRoads to address its concerns and that he is "still remaining positive" about getting the exemption in place.

"I think it is just a little more dialogue with Victoria," Petroccitto says.

"Industry is very keen to see it introduced so hopefully it will [be]."

Petroccitto says jurisdictions that have introduced the exemption accepted the NHVR’s findings that it did not represent a safety risk.  

"We rolled it out across the other jurisdictions, we’ve made an assessment that there wasn’t a safety implication otherwise we wouldn’t have rolled it out," he says.

"But we respected Victoria’s position and said we would work with them to get them across the line and we’re doing that now."

The 160km exemption is now operating in NSW, Queensland, SA and the ACT. Tasmania will introduce it on March 30 when it begins life under the fatigue management provisions of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

VicRoads director Andrew Wall last month told Owner//Driver the exemption could increase the risk of driver fatigue.

Victoria currently has in place a 100km exemption, similar to what exists for drivers in other jurisdictions who are not eligible to operate under the 160km exemption.

Petroccitto says introducing the exemption in Victoria could have some positive productivity benefits, namely a reduction in paperwork.

"We’re not saying that the operator doesn’t have to keep a record, we’re just saying they are removed from having to use the work diary," he says.

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