HVIA offers stern critique on PBS handling
Organisation registers concern on approach of road managers, government arms
MANUFACTURERS AND SUPPLIERS of heavy vehicles and their components have raised significant concerns on the performance-based standards (PBS) scheme.
Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA), their representative body, believes PBS benefits must be more broadly understood by policy makers, road managers and the general community. The comments are included in HVIA’s response to the National Transport Commission’s (NTC) discussion paper, Assessing the effectiveness of the PBS Scheme.
According to HVIA national manager policy and government relations Greg Forbes, the NTC’s review provides “compelling evidence” of the type and magnitude of benefits the PBS scheme has delivered to the community and to road managers.
“It is clear, however that the understanding of these benefits is poor,” Forbes says. “PBS has driven a considerable amount of innovation in the heavy vehicle sector, however, the rate of reform on many important issues has been slow. HVIA is hoping that the publication of this report will act as a catalyst for reform.”
Despite its efforts, HVIA is finding progress stuck in the slow lane, with the national regulator yet to take any reform steps, including on certification, its submission states. Issues raised include: • Those related to static rollover thresholds • Variations on designs • Documentary requirements • Component substitution, modifications of designs after approvals • Interaction between PBS, vehicle modifications and roadworthiness and auditing.
HVIA is also concerned about auditing of the PBS process.
“The auditing should focus on both ensuring that the various scheme participants, such as assessors and certifiers, are doing their job correctly, but, also address the issues over consistency of advice from regulators,” it says.
But perhaps the greatest concern HVIA has, one that the NTC report fails to address, is the attitude of some road managers.
“The central reason that PBS access has not worked is that road managers have not accepted that the compliance with the asset protection components of the PBS standards will indeed result in the PBS vehicles causing no more damage than the equivalent prescriptive vehicles,” the submission states.