Down the re­form road

Look­ing back at just some of the reg­u­la­tory mile­stones, so much has changed in 25 years and too much has stayed much the same

Australian Transport News - - Contents - WORDS ROB MCKAY

So much has changed in 25 years and too much has stayed much the same. We look at just some of the reg­u­la­tory mile­stones of the past

His­tory is the story of evo­lu­tion, which makes re­view­ing a par­tic­u­lar times­pan quite ar­bi­trary. Back 25 years ago, the Grafton bus crash was still a re­cent mem­ory and the Na­tional Heavy Ve­hi­cle Road Safety Sum­mit even more re­cent.

More re­cent still was the In­ter- Govern­men­tal Agree­ment for Reg­u­la­tory and Op­er­a­tional Re­form in Road, Rail and In­ter­modal Trans­port, which was to see the Na­tional Road Trans­port Com­mis­sion, formed in 1991, be­come the Na­tional Trans­port Com­mis­sion (NTC) in 1992.

They were some of the driv­ing forces that pushed into the last quar­ter- cen­tury the im­pact of which the in­dus­try feels still. What might be said of that lat­ter year is it marked a con­certed push in gov­ern­ment and in­dus­try, separately and to­gether, to­wards na­tional ap­proaches to truck­ing and lo­gis­tics is­sues.

Few de­vel­op­ments in­volv­ing the truck­ing in­dus­try in the past quar­ter of a cen­tury have avoided the NTC’s ex­am­i­na­tion. It was to push re­form

of the heavy ve­hi­cle road use charges, a hot-but­ton item that re­tains its fire to­day. Since 1991, the Na­tional Trans­port Com­mis­sion (NTC) has rec­om­mended sev­eral “Charges De­ter­mi­na­tions” to Gov­ern­ment, with the decade see­ing the pay-as-you-go (PayGo) model start.

Among de­vel­op­ments, in 2004, the NTC said the ad­vent of new tech­nolo­gies for au­to­mated de­tec­tion, track­ing and record­ing of heavy ve­hi­cle move­ments makes such pric­ing sys­tems much more fea­si­ble than hitherto. In 2006, the Pro­duc­tiv­ity Com­mis­sion found there was a lack of cost re­cov­ery by ve­hi­cle class which was leading to higher road costs for Gov­ern­ment.

The Coun­cil of Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ments (COAG) di­rected the NTC to rec­om­mend a charg­ing regime in 2007 that elim­i­nated cross sub­si­dies be­tween heavy ve­hi­cle classes to en­sure to­tal cost re­cov­ery.

The NTC also sought a mod­u­lar ap­proach to heavy ve­hi­cle charges that cre­ated a stan­dard charge for prime movers, but shifted cost re­cov­ery onto the trailer axles. A road train dis­count for un­sealed roads was also in­tro­duced. At ev­ery turn, the Aus­tralian Truck­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (ATA) – then the Road Trans­port Fo­rum, its mod­ern guise in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked to the in­au­gu­ral April 1992 Na­tional Road Trans­port Con­ven­tion – and its af­fil­i­ated bod­ies have sought to ward off tax­a­tion over­reach, whether it be eas­ing im­pend­ing Goods and Ser­vices Tax bur­dens in 1999 or push­ing for an in­de­pen­dent price reg­u­la­tor this year.

Its ar­gu­ments have been aided by stud­ies and ad­mis­sions, not least from the NTC it­self, point­ing to over-re­cov­ery in reg­is­tra­tion and road user charges.

That it has a point ap­pears borne out by on­go­ing freeze on in­creases, though trucks and buses are es­ti­mated to still be over­charged more than $250 mil­lion a year. The next part of the 25- year strug­gle to get this right is the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s Heavy Ve­hi­cle Charg­ing and In­vest­ment Re­form (HVCI) effort that be­gan last year.

Be­yond the tax take and as­so­ci­ated ac­tions are a plethora of re­forms that have helped cre­ate the reg­u­la­tory cli­mate the in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ences to­day and to which the in­dus­try contributed might­ily.

We asked the NTC and the Na­tional Heavy Ve­hi­cle Reg­u­la­tor (NHVR), as the peak gov­ern­ment trans­port bod­ies re­spon­si­ble for pol­icy and im­ple­men­ta­tion, to nom­i­nate their top de­vel­op­ments.


Aus­tralian Road Rules – The Na­tional Road Trans­port Com­mis­sion (now NTC) de­vel­oped the first set of the Aus­tralian Road Rules which com­menced op­er­a­tion on De­cem­ber 1, 1999.

“This was the first time in the his­tory of our fed­er­a­tion that a com­mon set of road rules were in place across Australia, mak­ing it eas­ier for in­ter­state truck­ing com­pa­nies and driv­ers to com­ply,” the NTC says. C&E Bill (chain of re­spon­si­bil­ity) – The in­tro­duc­tion of the NTC’s Com­pli­ance and

En­force­ment model Bill in 2003 es­tab­lished some key re­forms to im­prove the safety of the heavy ve­hi­cle in­dus­try. “Among these was the ‘chain of re­spon­si­bil­ity’ [COR] prin­ci­ple – that all who ex­er­cise con­trol in a road trans­port ac­tiv­ity should be made legally ac­count­able if they don’t do the right thing,” the NTC says.

Ini­tially this made those re­spon­si­ble for con­sign­ing, load­ing, car­ry­ing, driv­ing and re­ceiv­ing goods re­spon­si­ble for tak­ing all rea­son­able steps to com­ply with heavy ve­hi­cle mass, di­men­sion and load re­straint reg­u­la­tions. It has now been ex­tended to cover speed­ing, fa­tigue com­pli­ance and main­te­nance as well, and to im­pose a gen­eral duty on off-road par­ties to en­sure the safety

“This was the first time in the his­tory of our fed­er­a­tion that a com­mon set of road rules were in place across Australia”

of their trans­port op­er­a­tion as far as is rea­son­ably prac­ti­ca­ble.

This re­form also in­tro­duced risk-based cat­e­gori­sa­tion of of­fences, and a hi­er­ar­chy of of­fences, from im­prove­ment no­tices and for­mal warn­ings to pro­hi­bi­tion or­ders. “This pro­vided reg­u­la­tors with the tools to re­spond pro­por­tion­ately to the sever­ity of any of­fence,” the com­mis­sion adds.

Driv­ing hours re­form – The heavy ve­hi­cle driver fa­tigue re­forms, in­tro­duced in Septem­ber 2008, “have not only helped re­duce the road toll, but also give more flex­i­bil­ity for in­dus­try seek­ing to ef­fec­tively man­age fa­tigue while still meet­ing com­mer­cial re­quire­ments, through mech­a­nisms such as the Ad­vanced Fa­tigue Man­age­ment pro­cesses. These re­forms were based on the best avail­able sci­en­tific ev­i­dence on fa­tigue man­age­ment.” They con­tinue to ap­ply through the

Heavy Ve­hi­cle Na­tional Law (HVNL), which started in Fe­bru­ary 2013. The NTC notes that, since their in­tro­duc­tion, the NTI Na­tional Truck Ac­ci­dent Re­search Cen­tre’s Ma­jor Ac­ci­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tion

Report has shown a sub­stan­tial re­duc­tion in fa­tigue re­lated heavy ve­hi­cle crashes.

HVNL and NHVR – The NTC was in­stru­men­tal in leading the de­vel­op­ment of the HVNL and the es­tab­lish­ment of the NHVR.

“The com­mence­ment of the HVNL and the es­tab­lish­ment of the reg­u­la­tor in 2013 meant, for the first time since fed­er­a­tion, Australia had a sin­gle set of heavy ve­hi­cle laws de­signed to ap­ply to the whole coun­try, and a sin­gle reg­u­la­tor cre­ated to ad­min­is­ter them,” it says.

“While there re­mains more work to be done to achieve a sin­gle set of reg­u­la­tions to cover the en­tire coun­try, this re­mains a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone in na­tional heavy ve­hi­cle reg­u­la­tory re­form.” Per­for­mance-based stan­dards (PBS) – The then Na­tional Road Trans­port Com­mis­sion de­vel­oped the PBS scheme to en­cour­age in­no­va­tion to de­velop safer, more-pro­duc­tive heavy ve­hi­cles. This world-first scheme was in­tro­duced in 2007. There are now about 5000 PBS-ap­proved ve­hi­cles on Australia roads. PBS ve­hi­cles are in­volved in 46 per cent fewer ma­jor crashes than non-PBS ve­hi­cles for the same dis­tance trav­elled.

Be­tween 2014 and 2016, PBS op­er­a­tions have re­duced truck travel by 440 mil­lion kilo­me­tres, com­pared to us­ing con­ven­tional ve­hi­cles to carry the same freight. The pro­duc­tiv­ity improvements av­er­age 24.8 per cent across all com­modi­ties car­ried by var­i­ous PBS ve­hi­cles. This ranges from 11 per cent through to 42 per cent, de­pend­ing on the ve­hi­cle and com­mod­ity types.

In 2016, the use of PBS ve­hi­cles is es­ti­mated to have saved 94 mil­lion litres

of fuel, thereby re­duc­ing CO2 emis­sions by about 250,000 tonnes.


The body it­self – The agree­ment by the Coun­cil of Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ments in 2009 to es­tab­lish the NHVR, the de­vel­op­ment of a HVNL and the es­tab­lish­ment of an in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal agree­ment on heavy ve­hi­cle reg­u­la­tory re­form “has been an over­ar­ch­ing change to the way heavy ve­hi­cles op­er­ate from a safety and pro­duc­tiv­ity per­spec­tive”, NHVR CEO Sal Petroc­citto says. “The NHVR is work­ing to de­liver on the ben­e­fits to the econ­omy and to road safety through our projects and pro­grams – ben­e­fits that will con­tinue to be re­alised in the years ahead, such as last year’s first ever na­tional sur­vey on the state of the na­tional heavy ve­hi­cle fleet.”

Speed lim­iters – The re­quire­ment to in­stall speed lim­iters in trucks in 1991 “is prob­a­bly the sin­gle most sig­nif­i­cant mea­sure taken by gov­ern­ments around Australia to im­prove road safety re­lated to heavy ve­hi­cles,”

“The up­com­ing changes to [COR] reg­u­la­tion go a long way to sup­port safe prac­tices”

Petroc­citto in­sists. “This mea­sure has seen a re­duc­tion in the road toll, par­tic­u­larly among heavy ve­hi­cle driv­ers.”

Chain of re­spon­si­bil­ity – “Im­prov­ing safety in our in­dus­try is an on­go­ing en­deav­our,” Petroc­citto says. “The up­com­ing changes to [COR] reg­u­la­tion go a long way to sup­port safe prac­tices and we are com­mit­ted to work­ing with in­dus­try and gov­ern­ment to­wards a zero fa­tal­ity goal. The strength­en­ing of chain of re­spon­si­bil­ity laws will de­liver sig­nif­i­cant safety ben­e­fits across the supply chain. These changes align COR laws more closely with work­place health and safety laws to make safety ev­ery­one’s re­spon­si­bil­ity along the supply chain – not just the driver.”

Au­to­ma­tion re­forms – “There is an in­creas­ing recog­ni­tion within reg­u­la­tion and pol­icy be­ing de­vel­oped by gov­ern­ment of the role of au­to­ma­tion in heavy ve­hi­cles. Au­to­ma­tion and the ‘uberi­sa­tion’ of freight present a sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge for reg­u­la­tion for the NHVR and our ju­ris­dic­tional part­ners into the fu­ture. We are work­ing with in­dus­try and gov­ern­ment to stay ahead of the game in this space.”

Reg­is­tra­tion data – “The on­go­ing com­mit­ment by min­is­ters of the Trans­port and In­fra­struc­ture Coun­cil to move to a na­tional reg­is­tra­tion sys­tem for heavy ve­hi­cles will bring ef­fi­cien­cies to op­er­a­tors and to en­force­ment. The work be­ing un­der­taken by the NHVR and ju­ris­dic­tions on the Reg­is­tra­tion Data Ac­qui­si­tion project is the first step in a process that will help us un­der­stand what is hap­pen­ing on our roads across borders for the first time and in­form na­tional ap­proach to bet­ter tar­get­ing safety and com­pli­ance ef­forts.

Above: NHVR CEO Sal Petroc­citto

Be­low: Chain of re­spon­si­bil­ity now also com­prises fa­tigue com­pli­ance

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.