WORK TO DO: NHVR CEO Richard Hancock said there was still work to do before the regulator had a national presence. Photo: Contributed
WORK TO DO: NHVR CEO Richard Hancock said there was still work to do before the regulator had a national presence. Photo: Contributed

A new road for heavy vehicles

THE National Heavy Vehicle Regulator may have started business last week but there is still a lot of work to do.

NHVR CEO Richard Hancock provided a frank and open conversation about what was yet to happen.

"We're still waiting for the states and territories," he said about the national system.

One piece of legislation to establish the regulator has been passed by Queensland politicians, now a second bill to improve the first one will need to be passed.

Mr Hancock said that should happen in February and then all the states and territories that had agreed to be part of the system would have to pass the bill.

"It will take until about July," Mr Hancock said.

"If it works, in July the regulator will be responsible for all aspects of the heavy vehicle national law."

All except Western Australia, which is yet to come on board.

We asked Mr Hancock if WA did not want to change their fatigue laws, could the rest of the country incorporate some of the west's system?

"The majority of states and territories in Australia manage their fatigue through law and not through health and safety," he said.

"They have already decided not to adopt the Western Australian approach."

But Mr Hancock said the national law would have a new approach to fatigue.

"We'll provide some flexibility that Western Australia does have.

"The new approach requires extremely robust safety and risk management if an operator is looking to extend hours.

"I understand their (the WA) point of view.

"They haven't signed the intergovernmental agreement.

"That statement of intent to co-operate with the new national scheme has been signed by every other state and territory."

Since most truck movements in WA are in their state, they have their own systems in place, Mr Hancock said.

"We're going to have to work with Western Australia to make crossing the border more workable."

In the meantime the regulator has opened at its Brisbane location with 26 staff.

Another 25 or so staff members are working on IT systems for the national permitting system and there are plans to increase to about 90 staff by July.

Mr Hancock maintains that the regulator will result in savings.

The NTC is preparing a new determination for heavy vehicle charges that will take this into account.

For further information, phone the NHVR on 1300 696 487.

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