NSW the state of entitlement

By: Ken Wilkie*

OPINION: Is NSW following NHVR guidelines or is it hell bent on continuing to run its own race?

NSW the state of entitlement
Arriving at another an inspection station on the Pacific.


The road safety ‘industry’ – "No sir, it’s all about safety; it is definitely not about the revenue." So why is it that New South Wales’ Highway Patrol management has gone to such lengths to camouflage their vehicles? One would need the eyes of a hawk to recognise the approaching vehicle as law enforcement transport. It’s not until one can see the flank or rear that the decals highlight its purpose.

And of course all of our many governments need every scrap of income they can possibly get. One reason that has brought this desperate need for cash is the total absence of any effort by the public sector to be frugal or even responsible about the costs it imposes on the public purse. Of course, being the lucky country, money is of no consequence and the transport industry will be taxed higher to cover increased need for revenue.

I had the good fortune to be doing over dimensional loading through Sydney the other week. Started on the north side – well came down from Brisbane actually and had to deliver to Ingleburn.

On approach to the Hawkesbury Bridge, we were informed that a street sweeper was at work and we’d need the right two lanes. No issue at all and the cleaning crew were very supportive via dialogue on the UHF radio. But did safety really demand three collision screening vehicles prior to the cleaning machine? Is the truck driving community so irresponsible that three mobile collision avoidance barriers are required?

Plus the detailed maximum speed was 40km/h. And if we are so irresponsible, should one consider the advisability of placing so many Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) employees at risk?

There is a bureaucratic group around called the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR). Now, one would expect this group to be instrumental in having national heavy vehicle regulations promulgated.

Well, actually, we do have national heavy regulations but, as in the past, each state has perceived different issues to have different safety or other implications.

One of my colleagues involved in the over-dimensional lift to Sydney was directed into the checking station at Halfway Creek. I can easily picture his perplexed look when the scalie asked what OSOM system he was operating under. And, as they so often are, the scalie was quite scathing because the driver could not name the required system.

I was under the impression that NSW had been brought under the NHVR’s umbrella. Someone said to me recently that only the letterheads had changed. Seems like that person hit the nail on the head.

It’s difficult enough now for out-of-state operators to know and find details of curfews – such as the curfew for Hexham Bridge for instance. Now the RMS expects truckies to know which oversize regulation they are operating under when the NHVR is supposed to have unified the national laws. Can’t we have a national set of regulations that govern the weights and measures of heavy vehicles?

Weights and measures: no bulldust about industries to confuse operators – and scalies for that matter; just weights and measures. It can’t possibly make any difference what one belts his or her head on. If it’s ‘X’ metres wide it’s ‘X’ metres wide – Australia-wide!


*KEN WILKIE has been an owner-driver since 1974, after first getting behind the wheel at 11. He’s on his eighth truck, and is a long-time Owner//Driver contributor. He covers Rockhampton to Adelaide and any point in between. His current ambition is to see the world, and to see more respect for the nation’s truckies. Contact Ken at ken@rwstransport.com.au

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