NTC ad­dresses PBS bar­ri­ers

Min­is­ters’ ap­proval clears way for scheme growth

Big Rigs - - NEWS -

AUS­TRALIA’S transport min­is­ters have ap­proved Na­tional Transport Com­mis­sion rec­om­men­da­tions to im­prove the Per­for­mance-Based Stan­dards scheme and en­cour­age in­vest­ment in a greater num­ber of safer, ef­fi­cient heavy ve­hi­cles on Aus­tralian roads.

“PBS scheme ve­hi­cles of­fer be­tween 15 and 30 per cent more pro­duc­tiv­ity than con­ven­tional heavy ve­hi­cles, de­pend­ing on the freight be­ing car­ried,” NTC chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Ret­ter said.

“This means the same freight task can be de­liv­ered with fewer ve­hi­cles on our roads and the flow-on ef­fects in­clude re­duc­tions in fuel con­sump­tion, car­bon emis­sions and road main­te­nance costs.

“How­ever, our re­view of the PBS scheme has re­vealed that the take-up of the scheme has not been as strong as it could be be­cause of is­sues such as bar­ri­ers to ac­cess, lead­ing to a re­luc­tance from in­dus­try to par­tic­i­pate.”

Mr Ret­ter said the NTC had made sev­eral rec­om­men­da­tions to ad­dress these bar­ri­ers and, as a re­sult, en­cour­age fur­ther adop­tion of the scheme to en­sure the orig­i­nal safety, pro­duc­tiv­ity and en­vi­ron­men­tal ob­jec­tives could be reached.

The key rec­om­men­da­tion from the re­view was for states and ter­ri­to­ries to al­low as-of-right ac­cess for PBS cer­ti­fied ve­hi­cles to op­er­ate on PBS de­clared road net­works.

This will ad­dress one of the main bar­ri­ers to the scheme by sub­stan­tially im­prov­ing the in­fra­struc­ture ac­cess ap­proval process for PBS ap­proved ve­hi­cles.

Other rec­om­men­da­tions ap­proved by min­is­ters in­clude:

■ Aus­troads to de­sign na­tion­ally con­sis­tent guide­lines for road man­agers to as­sess in­fra­struc­ture, in­clud­ing pave­ment and bridges.

■ Na­tional Heavy Ve­hi­cle Reg­u­la­tor to re­view and re­vise the PBS stan­dards (the re­quire­ments for a ve­hi­cle to par­tic­i­pate in the PBS scheme) to en­sure they re­flect the lat­est in ve­hi­cle tech­nol­ogy and de­sign and as a re­sult im­prove the safety per­for­mance of the PBS fleet.

■ The cur­rent PBS stan­dards were de­vel­oped in the late 1990s and tech­nol­ogy has im­proved to a level where com­pli­ance against a num­ber of these stan­dards can now be achieved through al­ter­na­tive so­lu­tions such as anti-lock brak­ing sys­tem/elec­tronic brak­ing sys­tem and roll-over pro­tec­tion that meets the sta­bil­ity and brak­ing re­quire­ments.

■ NHVR to de­velop and lead the development of a com­mu­ni­ca­tions plan to fur­ther pro­mote the ben­e­fits of the PBS.

“De­spite the cur­rent scheme’s lim­i­ta­tions, the re­view found ev­i­dence that it has still de­liv­ered sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing sav­ings of an es­ti­mated 94 mil­lion litres of fuel in 2016, which in turn re­duced car­bon emis­sions by about 250,000 tonnes,” Mr Ret­ter said.

“There are cur­rently around 16,000 sep­a­rate PBS reg­is­tered trucks, trail­ers and buses which ad­dress some of the unique freight and en­vi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges we face in Aus­tralia, and we hope that these changes will al­low the scheme to con­tinue to grow.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

BREAK­THROUGH: Chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Ret­ter said the NTC has made sev­eral rec­om­men­da­tions to break­down PBS bar­ri­ers.

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