TRUCK­ING’S TURN­ING POINT

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The NHVR chief ex­ec­u­tive tells the RFNSW na­tional con­fer­ence that COR changes will shift the onus of blame

The NHVR chief ex­ec­u­tive tells the RFNSW na­tional con­fer­ence that its data­base will cut wait times as COR changes shift onus of blame. Cobey Bar­tels re­ports

THE NA­TIONAL HEAVY VE­HI­CLE REG­U­LA­TOR (NHVR) will cut in­spec­tion wait times for com­pli­ant heavy ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tors when a new na­tional data­base is in­tro­duced, chief ex­ec­u­tive Sal Petroc­citto says. Speak­ing at the Road Freight New South Wales (RFNSW) 2018 con­fer­ence, Petroc­citto says the data­base will help re­duce down­time dur­ing com­pli­ance checks. “By this time next year, we’re ex­pect­ing to be able to have avail­able in real time on the side of the road, na­tional in­for­ma­tion for our of­fi­cers,” Petroc­citto ex­plains. “The abil­ity to have the in­for­ma­tion means we know the type of op­er­a­tor that we’re deal­ing with – where a com­pli­ant op­er­a­tor is gen­er­ally kept on the side of the road for 10 to 12 min­utes and a non-com­pli­ant one some­where from 30 to 45.

“You can see some re­ally big com­pli­ance ben­e­fits if you’re a com­pli­ant op­er­a­tor and you get pulled over three to four times a week. But more im­por­tantly, this al­lows us to tar­get who we want to look at as op­posed to tar­get­ing ev­ery­one who’s try­ing to do the right thing.

“Our view is ed­u­ca­tion not strict en­force­ment, to en­sure we can de­liver and con­tinue to change the cul­ture and per­cep­tions of how things are done.”

Petroc­citto says the NHVR was con­fi­dent that a good por­tion of the in­dus­try had been able to reach a train­ing pro­gram about the changes to chain of re­spon­si­bil­ity (COR) laws, set to come into ef­fect on Oc­to­ber 1.

“In the last six weeks, we have ac­tu­ally briefed over 3,000 busi­nesses, and by the end of this pro­gram we will have held over 550 ses­sions across the coun­try and reached 12,000 in­dus­try par­tic­i­pants across the sup­ply chain,” Petroc­citto says. “While we an­swer ques­tions at each ses­sion, it’s im­por­tant that those re­sponses are avail­able for other heavy ve­hi­cle sup­ply chain busi­nesses pre­par­ing for the law changes.”

As­sumed in­no­cent

Petroc­citto makes it clear these COR changes are a ma­jor turn­ing point for trans­port op­er­a­tors, who for too long have been as­sumed guilty un­til proven in­no­cent. “Be­fore 1995, all heavy ve­hi­cle of­fences were at­trib­uted to the driver, so ba­si­cally the guy was guilty no mat­ter what,” he says.

Petroc­citto says the new changes will be the most sig­nif­i­cant on COR more than at any time over the past 20 years. “So, in ef­fect, now you’re in­no­cent as op­posed to be­ing guilty. That has to be a pos­i­tive.”

Hold­ing Redlich part­ner Nathan Ce­cil re­it­er­ates Petroc­citto’s state­ment, ex­plain­ing that op­er­a­tors will now walk into court in­no­cent. “So, when you do go to court, you will ac­tu­ally walk in, for a change, in­no­cent un­til the reg­u­la­tor proves that you’re guilty,” Ce­cil says. “As op­posed to now when you walk in the door and you are guilty and you’ve got to dig your­self out of a hole.”

HVNL re­view

How­ever, that won’t be the end of changes to the laws, with Petroc­citto telling RFNSW con­fer­ence at­ten­dees that the push to re­view the Heavy Ve­hi­cle Na­tional Law (HVNL) is pro­ceed­ing well: “Min­is­ters will hope­fully sign off on the terms of ref­er­ence in Novem­ber this year, and we’ve been on the pub­lic record stat­ing the law needs to be fun­da­men­tally re­viewed from the ground up,” he says.

The freight in­dus­try in­jects $23 bil­lion into the Aus­tralian econ­omy ev­ery year, Petroc­citto says, adding that he ex­pected that num­ber would con­tinue to grow.

“I think we need to be aware of the fact that we do work in an en­vi­ron­ment which gen­er­ates some sig­nif­i­cant rev­enue, which deals with 810,000km of pub­lic road, where in­ter­ac­tion across some of those net­works is be­com­ing longer, and sup­ply chains aren’t nec­es­sar­ily get­ting sim­pler,” he says.

“At the end of the day we need to en­sure that what we col­lec­tively all do is make it sim­pler; and if we can in the process re­duce red tape, re­move some of that bur­den and make the whole agenda sim­pler, that’s a pos­i­tive out­come for all.”

It is a sen­ti­ment shared by RFNSW CEO Si­mon O’Hara, who says the com­ing year spells a fo­cus on putting op­er­a­tors first and fix­ing long­stand­ing trans­port short­falls.

“Vi­sion is im­por­tant and we will main­tain the fo­cus on op­er­a­tors in en­sur­ing that we achieve, with the help of gov­ern­ment as­sis­tance, greater pro­duc­tiv­ity on our roads,” O’Hara says. “We need to work more closely with RMS and the NHVR. We must know what is go­ing on. We’ve got to own it.”

“You will ac­tu­ally walk in … in­no­cent un­til the reg­u­la­tor proves that you’re guilty.”

Above: RFNSW chief ex­ec­u­tive Si­mon O’Hara ad­dresses a room full of eager trans­port del­e­gates ahead of the day’s pre­sen­ta­tions. Photo Cam­era Cre­ationsOp­po­site be­low: NHVR chief ex­ec­u­tive Sal Petroc­citto lays down the law in an in­sight­ful look at the re­al­i­ties of the 1 Oc­to­ber CoR changes. Photo Cam­era Cre­ations

Be­low left: ATA chief ex­ec­u­tive Ben Maguire fires a ques­tion back dur­ing the con­fer­ence. Photo Cam­era Cre­ations

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