UNIFIED: The new NHVR policy aims to make enforcement across borders more streamlined.
UNIFIED: The new NHVR policy aims to make enforcement across borders more streamlined. Mark Horsburgh

Policy helps relieve burden

AUSTRALIA'S transport enforcement agencies play a critically important role in heavy vehicle safety.

Authorised officers, whether they are directly employed by the NHVR in South Australia and Tasmania, or through the NHVR by state transport agencies in participating jurisdictions, directly interact with heavy vehicle drivers and operators at the roadside more than 320,000 times a year.

When I'm talking to operators and drivers, concerns about the number of intercepts are rarely raised.

However, drivers will often question the consistency of those intercepts, particularly as they move across borders.

Australia's heavy vehicle enforcement landscape consists of safety compliance officers, transport inspectors, police and other government agency officers in each state.

It's not surprising then that inconsistencies within and between organisations occur.

This week I believe we are taking an important step to reduce the regulatory burden across state borders by releasing the NHVR's National Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

Some of the key areas addressed within the policy are the roles of intelligence and technology and how better information will lead to improved targeted enforcement activities.

For example, there will be a greater emphasis on the value of data before determining how, where and when targeted compliance and enforcement activities take place.

This approach also relies on a number of national safety standards, procedures and operational guidance measures to support compliance activities, invest- igations and enforcement on a national scale.

Overall the policy is outcomes-focused and encourages proportionate responses to safety risks.

It's an approach adopted by the NHVR and a model for partner agencies to consider when planning and undertaking heavy vehicle related compliance and enforcement activities.

Our goal is to make compliance across the heavy vehicle industry more consistent and targeted, and this will improve as we increase our ability to better identify and monitor trends in high risk and unsafe behaviours and non-compliance from a national perspective.

This policy also encourages officers to take a greater role in providing information and educating operators, drivers and parties in the supply chain about their safety obligations.

The policy has been under development since February, and included several rounds of consultation with industry and partner agencies.

It aligns with the NHVR's Strategic Directions and Setting the Agenda documents and will lead to more consistency around targeted compliance and enforcement activities.

It's important for heavy vehicle safety and productivity outcomes that the law is being applied consistently no matter which agency or which state is responsible.

The policy seeks to ensure compliance and enforcement activities are undertaken in a nationally consistent, proportionate, fair and risk-based manner, in line with best-practice regulatory standards to encourage and facilitate increased safety and compliance across industry.

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