Feb 15, 2013

One rule book for all truck drivers

Historic reforms creating Australia’s first National Heavy Vehicle Regular passed the Queensland Parliament overnight.

This is a watershed moment for Australia’s transport sector and caps off more than five years of intensive negotiations between the Federal and State and Territory Governments.

The heavy vehicle regulator is a key part of the Federal Labor Government’s transport reform program, to reduce 23 state-based maritime, rail and heavy vehicle regulators to just three.

Together, these national transport reforms are expected to add $30 billion to our economy over the next 20 years.

The Brisbane based regulator now has responsibility for registration and regulations covering all heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonnes.

Once that process is complete, many practical benefits will begin to flow, including:

Long distance truck drivers will no longer need worry about whether their vehicle or load is still legal as they cross state and territory borders, or whether they have met the multitude of requirements which vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction;

Greater uniformity in road access arrangements, making it easier for drivers to find a suitable rest stop or negotiate minor roads to reach refuelling points;

A national approach to heavy vehicle configuration which will improve access for road trains to key roads linking the States and reduce the need for multiple or inefficient trips; and

A universal interpretation of when drivers should start counting driving hours from rest breaks within a 24 hour period, eliminating the confusion around existing fatigue laws.

More than a century after Federation, Australia will finally have a truly national transport system.

The heavy vehicle sector is the lifeblood of our economy and streamlining the laws and regulations that govern this sector will cut red tape, reduce costs, improve safety and enhance efficiency.