Industrial Relations, Transport Industry News

NatRoad calls on federal government to improve heavy vehicle access


Industry association NatRoad is calling on the federal government to remove roadblocks preventing heavy vehicles from accessing national highways as safely and efficiently as possible.

In a December meeting, Australia’s transport ministers decided to extend the deadline for bringing in changes to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) until 2025. NatRoad believes this is still too far away.

It wants to see the introduction of an online automated national access system to give heavy vehicles as-of-right access on national highways, dropping the need for permits and approvals significantly.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says access targets laid out by the 2022 Kanofski Review of HVNL reform are a best-case scenario for changes.

“The Kanofski recommendations called for an automated access system within three years and a reduction in the number of permits by 50 per cent in the same period,” he says.

“While we welcome the work that is underway, it’s clear the current pace of reform means we will fail to meet those targets.

“Moving more freight with fewer vehicle movements makes for safer roads while at the same time reducing diesel use and carbon emissions.

“Automated access is a critical economic reform and must be treated as such.

“Governments should back this reform agenda with enough resourcing to make it happen according to the Kanofski timeline.”

Increasing road access was one of NatRoad’s primary asks of the federal government in its recent 2024-25 Budget submissions.

In addition to improving access to key national highways and extending funding for the NHVR’s Strategic Local Government Asset Assessment Project, it has also asked for reforms to increase the mass, height and length of general access vehicles.

“We are only two months into 2024 and NatRoad already has a collection of member cases where some road managers seem like they are just trying to find ways of saying ‘no’ to better access, ‘no’ to improved productivity and ‘no’ to lower emissions,” Clark says.

“There is a lot of talk about reducing emissions, but these words are empty unless they are backed by more productive road networks across state borders.

“Improving energy efficiency by running more productive heavy vehicles is one of the most cost-effective decarbonisation strategies which can be deployed today.”

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