NatRoad fumes over rising HVNL fines

NatRoad says the recent penalty increase is a revenue raising exercise for the NHVR

NatRoad fumes over rising HVNL fines
NatRoad CEO Warren Clark

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) says rising penalties for minor issues has become a major reason why road transport operators are leaving the industry.

Following the Australian Bureau of Statistics releasing figures that show an annual decline in transport sector pre-tax profits of 0.7 per cent, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) announced it would increase its penalties across the board in line with inflation from July 1 onwards.

NatRoad has criticised the NHVR’s move and says it will only cripple more transport businesses.

"Even minor fatigue mistakes will cost $177 from Friday-week," NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says.

"Enough is enough. This is another straw breaking the camel’s back for many people and it doesn’t attract anyone to join the industry either.

"The fines must be proportionate to the offence – and that’s certainly not the case with minor administrative issues."

Clark says the ABS figures for transport sector profits were impacted by COVID-19 and what it did to the aviation sector and stressed that had to remain in mind when viewing the numbers.

"My own members have reported working on a profit margin of about 2.5 per cent and costs have risen sharply since then," Clark says.

NatRoad says it will continue to advocate for the introduction of a warning system for HVNL administrative offences.

"This has become urgent given the economic pressures operators are under and is based on tying prior wrongdoing to a range of penalties," Clark says.

"On that basis, a first offence for an administrative breach would attract a warning, a second offence a fine and so on, with repeated transgression resulting in mandatory training.

"Instead, this is a revenue raising exercise where penalties rise with inflation."

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