Another truck begins the long journey North on Western Australia's Great Northern Highway.
Another truck begins the long journey North on Western Australia's Great Northern Highway. Kirstin Payne

We're not joining unless it suits us: WRF on the HVNL

WESTERN Australia isn't going to become a signatory to a revamped Heavy Vehicle National Law unless it suits the industry there.

That was the clear-cut message from Western Roads Federation CEO Cam Dumesny after Peter Harris, the head of the expert HVNL review panel told a gather- ing the success or failure of the review is dependent on WA and NT signing on.

Although invited, Mr Dumesny wasn't at the Brisbane meeting to hear the panel update industry groups and government representatives on progress because of the time and cost factors in flying to the east from Perth.

But he fielded several calls from those who were and felt the comments were out of line.

"I was very disappointed to hear that and thought it was a bit rude," said Mr Dumesny, who has gone out of his way to foster a close relationship with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

"I understand that if you want a national law, having Western Australia and NT on board is a fair point.

"But if you want us to join, make a bit of an effort to come here and listen to what the issues are and actually understand us.

"My key point is, if we can't get their attention while they're trying to court us, what's going to happen when we're married?"

Mr Dumesny said he wouldn't discount Western Australia agreeing to become part of the new HVNL after the National Transport Commission has finished with its long review process.

But there are still a number of issues to consider before he's convinced it will be in WA's best interest.

"The dominant conversation over east is usually around retail supply chains. I've been here four years now and I've probably heard it once. It's all about facilitating trade. That's the cultural difference (between the regions).

"At the moment in WA, 95% of the freight task is an intra-state one. Our cross border freight now is 5% and most of that moves by rail.

"Our economy drives the Australian economy; 45-50% of the nation's export income is earned out of WA, so if we are going to come up with a solution it has to be one that doesn't undermine the productive efficiency of WA because that will affect the Australian economy."

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