NHVR wants to bring in operator licensing

By: Steve Skinner


National regulator says it is talking with peak industry bodies about an operator accreditation system

NHVR wants to bring in operator licensing
NHVR’s executive director for productivity and safety Geoff Casey.

 

It looks like an operator licensing system is on the cards for the Australian trucking industry.

Operator licensing is common in other advanced countries including the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

The concept can involve proving to the authorities that a trucking business is run by people who don’t have a serious criminal record; who have enough financial backing; who know how to cost a job and run a set of accounting books, or employ someone who does; who understand trucking industry rules and regulations; and who can prove they run a safe operation with properly maintained equipment.

At present you don’t have to hold a truck driving license – or even have a truck – to run a trucking business in Australia.

The operator licensing idea has been around in Australia for decades but has had a strong push-along recently from the Australian Logistics Council.

The issue arose during a session on heavy vehicles at the recent Australasian Road Safety Conference in Canberra.

The NHVR’s executive director for productivity and safety, Geoff Casey, was one of the keynote speakers on stage.

"We’ve actually thrown the concept out to some of the peak bodies around (an) operator licensing system," Casey said.

"If you read the strategies document that we’ve put out, we refer to setting standards for entry and moving people out of the industry. That is the discussion we will be having.

"You would know that that is a complex discussion, going through a RIS (regulatory impact statement) probably, and the NTC (National Transport Commission) and everything that goes with that. But fundamentally I agree (with the need for an operator licensing system).

"We don’t even know who is in the industry. We want to educate and inform – how do you do that when you’ve got no way to contact them? Put things on websites – that doesn’t do it.

"So I completely agree, it’s just the methodology (that) we go about it."

The strategies document Casey referred to is presumably the following five-year blueprint released by the NHVR last month (August).

"Setting the Agenda - Strategies for a Safer, Productive and more Compliant Heavy Vehicle Industry 2016-2020" says under the heading "Safety standards" that the NHVR will:

  • "Develop appropriate standards for entry and continued operation in the heavy vehicle industry."
  • "Review and maintain policies and standards including the development of policy and exit criteria for non-compliant entities identified through an effective assurance program."

 

Owner//Driver has requested an interview with the NHVR on this issue.

 

 

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