OSOM inquiry implemented
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT has caved into pressure from companies and industry organisations, launching an independent review into the delays heavy vehicle operators incur in getting special road access permits.
The Oversize Overmass (OSOM) inquiry will be carried out by WSP Australia and led by Pascal Felix, who was executive director of Heavy Vehicle Services for Main Roads Western Australia before starting with the consultancy firm last year. Felix’s participation has been welcomed by Western Roads Federation CEO Cam Dumesny, who told ATN that Felix had helped to build a workable oversize, overmass system for the state at the height of the mining boom.
“From our perspective he was the right bloke for the job,” he says. “We pushed for it to be independent, outside of government.”
The review follows concerns about operators of oversize and overmass vehicles being required to wait for up to several months for permits allowing them to access the road network.
Australian Trucking Association (ATA) chair Geoff Crouch estimates that the trucking industry wastes 4.5 million days per year waiting for approvals.
“For example, it can take more than 80 days to get a permit to transport OSOM steel products on the Transurban tollways in Melbourne, because the Transurban and NHVR processes do not work in parallel,” he says, adding that he is “a great appointment” to the rolen
Felix will consult industry, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and road managers – including local councils and state and territory road authorities – in preparing the report.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack says the review will need to come up with both immediate and long-term responses to the issues.
“The Oversize Overmass Review will therefore consider what changes to the regulatory framework and processes are required to ensure OSOM vehicle permits can be issued within a reasonable timeframe, without compromising safety.”
Scheduled to start immediately, a draft report is expected to be ready by August and the final report completed by October 2018, with a report to later be provided to federal, state and territory transport ministers for their consideration.
In a separate announcement, NHVR chief executive Sal Petroccitto welcomed the review, saying it would ensure the industry would get full visibility of the permit process and help it identify future improvements for heavy vehicle access.
“It’s important that the permit process be timely and strike the right balance between safety, protecting roads and bridges and ensuring the productive movement of freight,” he says.