GET TO THE POINT: ATA chairman Geoff Crouch (left) and Eamon McGinn talk numbers with delegates at TA2019 in Perth.
GET TO THE POINT: ATA chairman Geoff Crouch (left) and Eamon McGinn talk numbers with delegates at TA2019 in Perth. James Graham

$13.6b savings over 30 years

THERE is now a number on the cost of the many heavy vehicle national law foibles that should ensure an expedited review process.

Eamon McGinn, director at Deloitte Access Economics, told delegates at the recent Trucking Australia conference in Perth that detailed modelling had revealed the industry stands to save $13.billion in costs during the next 30 years.

"So there is a lot of money on the table here that the industry should be looking to pursue through good policy,” Mr McGinn said.

Commissioned by the ATA as part of its campaign for better truck regulation, Mr McGinn and his team identified three key areas where the biggest improvements would be felt: Road Access Vehicles, Intelligent Access Programs and Higher Mass Limit, and Over Size, Over Mass.

At present they all entail a highly detailed rules-based decision-making process that takes a long time to play out and is quite uncertain and unclear as it's going on, concluded Mr McGinn.

There are a few technologies out there already that try to help - namely the NHVR's access portal and journey planner, and the RAVRAT - but they are separate and don't integrate with each other.

"We did some consultation internally within our tech- consulting team and we mapped out that these tools can be relatively efficiently integrated and we should look at building some modern decision-making rules into the tools to automate the decision- making process as much as possible,” he said.

"The tools should have the data in there so standard decisions can just be run through relatively automatically and a seamless process from the user's point of view.”

With sufficient funding, Mr McGinn believes this technology could go a long way to delivering the savings predicted when the HVNL came into effect five years ago.

While those changes are under way, the Deloitte report also makes 16 policy recommendations that should provide incremental improvements to the issues identified, Mr McGinn said.

They include:

Mandate the use of the NHVR's Approved Guidelines for Granting Access by all HVNL road managers.

Encourage, where reasonable, the use of industry pilot vehicles or traffic warden-operated escort vehicles over police escort vehicles for OSOM vehicles.

Prevent road manager use of the IAP for purposes other than heavy vehicle access and compliance management. In turn, make available new low-cost, low-assurance telematics applications to road managers to address their needs in relation to road asset management and planning.

In line with the HVRR, a funding arrangement should be established in which road managers receive a percentage of access permit fees received by the NHVR in return for processing applications in a timely manner. In cases where road manager consent is untimely, the fee should be returned to the applicant.

"These should be on the agenda for the next few years and now we're entering this period of a number of reviews, all these items should be up for grabs,” Mr McGinn said.

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