GIVE US A BREAK: Truckie advocate and driver Rod Hannifey believes the NTC-led review of the HVNL needs to be simplified.
GIVE US A BREAK: Truckie advocate and driver Rod Hannifey believes the NTC-led review of the HVNL needs to be simplified. Tom Gillespie

Rod says HVNL review process unfair to drivers

TRUCKIE advocate Rod Hannifey fears an overly complicated Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) review process is penalising the very people it's aiming to help.

A little more than a week before the May 31 deadline for the first issues paper, the tireless rest area and road safety campaigner had already spent 3.5 hours wading through the 76-page supporting document for the review opener, A risk-based approach to regulating heavy vehicles, and had still only answered nine of the 12accompanying questions.

The National Transport Commission, the body charged with leading the review, is rolling out seven more similar papers in the next few months inviting industry feedback to help shape a 'back to basics' overhaul of a law it describes as outdated, complex and too long.

"I'm really concerned drivers are going to look at the first one and go 'Well if this is how they're going to ask us to reply simply, it's never going to happen',” Mr Hannifey said.

"Most blokes are going to look at that and go 'What? I haven't got time to read this shit'.

"Obviously the ATA and NatRoad have got people paid an hourly rate to sit there and write letters, and other people might have a bit more time, but your average truck driver is not going to sit there and read 70 pages and answer 12 questions on one document, let alone eight.”

When Mr Hannifey rang the NTC to voice his concerns and offer to help make subsequent papers more driver-friendly, he was told his complaints would be taken under advisement.

"If you were a cynical bastard you'd say they said they wanted our input but they've virtually made it impossible for me to contribute with the way they're formatted, therefore I don't think they want me to contribute, so bugger them anyway,” he said.

"My fear then is that after all this we won't be any further ahead than we were in the past.

"The associations may well get something across, but I can guarantee you it's not going to be for the bloody drivers.”

At issue deadline, there were just six review submissions for the foundation paper posted on the NTC site, but chief planning officer Paul Davies told Big Rigs he was unfazed by the low number.

"It is common that we receive a range of submissions late in the consultation period. We have indications from government, industry representatives and individuals that they are preparing comments for this paper,” Mr Davies said.

He added that truck drivers, operators and industry in general were critical stakeholders in this review and was satisfied the NTC was taking the necessary steps to have their input.

Mr Davies added that the NTC had expanded on its existing consultation process by establishing a dedicated microsite - hvnlreview.ntc.gov.au - that includes a message board for sharing and liking ideas, quick polls and surveys.

"We're holding workshops around the country and keep in close contact with industry bodies so that we get as broad a reach as possible,” he said.

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