DELAYS: The 100 day permit wait
DRIVERS claim they have had to wait up to 100 days to receive permits to travel with oversize loads in some states, putting contracts and businesses at risk.
The delays which have impacted on transport operators within WA has sparked action from the newly founded action group Western Roads Federation.
But for Western Australian operator Neville Higgs of Higgs Haulage the damage has already been done.
When in July his business was contracted to move specialised mining side tipper trailers from the Pilbara WA to Weipa in far north Queensland.
"We have been doing for quite a few years, the big off-road trailers,” Neville said.
"They are tow-able on the road but you need a special permit.
This wasn't new for the company who had applied and moved the exact same trailers a few years earlier.
A bureaucratic task that had previously only taken days to process.
"All we wanted to do was tow them from the Queensland/Northern Territory border, across the top end to Weipa and we got to 90 days and they were asking for more information,” he said.
According to the transport operator, the information provided on the new application was far more substantial than that provided previously, it also included weight checks undertaken by Main Roads WA. "But we were delayed this time, yet all the shires had already approved the move, you can check it on the portal,” he said.
As of October 30 still no decision had been issued by TMR Qld.
After over a 100 day delay, the company had to look at other options.
"We ultimately had to put it on a barge, we got the WA and NT permits to do that in days,” he said.
When asked if the delays were ever fully explained, Neville simply replied, "I think they just don't have a clue”.
"The clients number one, if his machine breaks down on the mine site, he can't plan for that.
"It is making it very hard and very costly to run a business.
"Say you are looking at $500 buck a day for a driver, then pilots on top, but who do we charge because the they can't do their job?”
"We have a counterpart in Queensland and they were having the same troubles getting permits.
"Yet Queensland is starting to come good work wise, the economy is on the rise and yet the system in place is going to halt it,”
"If you want to catch the wave you need to sort this out,” he said.
But Queensland isn't alone, it was reported by a Western Australian operator that a similar situations have taken place in South Australia.
While the NHVR could not comment on specific delays in the pipeline, the regulator suggests it is a shared issue.
"The decision to grant heavy vehicle access relates to the ownership of the infrastructure for which the road manager is responsible,” Executive Director of Access Peter Caprioli said.
"Each state road authority operates under existing policies and assessment guidelines as part of the access request,”
Mr Caprioli said the online portal launched in October this year will provide "further transparency as part of the application process”.
However, as Neville experienced, the notifications don't address the question of why the delays happen in the first place.
Similarly Queensland's Transport and Main Roads could not speak to a specific situation.
"We receive the consent request from the NHVR and conduct assessments to ensure the vehicle can be operated safely and it is compatible with road infrastructure,” a spokesperson for Transport and Main Roads said.
"Following the assessments, we respond to the NHVR with a decision,” they said.
"We are aware of some cases where applications have taken more than 28 days to assess and we are working to resolve these delays.”