Today I am pleased to announce that Bruce Baird will be the Chair of the new National Heavy Vehicle Regulator Board.
The appointment was agreed to by Transport Ministers at today’s inaugural Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure in Canberra.
Mr Baird has extensive knowledge of the transport industry and brings high level leadership qualities to this important role.
Ministers also agreed to undertake an international search for a Chief Executive Officer for the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and for the position of National Rail Regulator.
The meeting also approved new legislation which will see the introduction of national laws to regulate Australia’s heavy vehicle and rail industries, delivering the most important productivity reforms since Federation.
The agreement means there will be one regulator for maritime, rail and heavy vehicles, cutting the number of transport regulators across Australia from 23 to 3.
For the first time in our history, long haul freight operators will no longer need to meet different laws and rules for log books, driving hours and maximum loads as they cross state borders.
They will have the freedom to drive across eight Australian states and territories under the one rule book, ending a huge compliance burden for the nation’s truck drivers.
These reforms will support the growth of the transport sector, creating a safer and more efficient system with flow-on benefits for the nation of $30 billion over the next 20 years.
The new heavy vehicle law will cover registration, fatigue management, mass and loading limits and compliance requirements for all heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonnes.
Under the new rail safety law, rail operators will be able to get national accreditation instead of having to apply for accreditation in each state and territory. Only one set of rules will apply to their safety management systems.
The maritime regulator will be the Australian Maritime and Safety Authority which will replace seven state and territory regulators and 50 pieces of maritime legislation.
The Heavy Vehicle National Law Bill will be introduced into the Queensland Parliament shortly and the Rail Safety National Law Bill will be introduced into the South Australian Parliament later this year. Other states and territories will pass laws during 2012 to apply the national laws.
The National Maritime Law Bill will be finalised after further consultation in 2012 and introduced in the National Parliament in March 2012.
The national laws will begin operating from January 2013.
These reforms will see an end to 110 years of duplication and confusion and provide long term benefits for business, workers and the economy.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.