HNVL reform needs 21st century thinking
Mahon calls for total revamp in conception and approach if it is to work well
“If we don’t challenge it, we won’t get anywhere. We’ve got to start the conversation somewhere.”
THE HEAVY VEHICLE NATIONAL LAW (HVNL) must be subject to a total revamp in conception and approach if it is to fulfil its promise, according to Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) CEO Gary Mahon. Hard on the heels of giving evidence to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) amendments inquiry, along with other industry bodies, Mahon tells ATN the handling of heavy vehicle regulation is mired in a mindset of the previous century — and the first-half of it at that.
“In the world of apps and mobile devices and goodness knows what else, there’s a whole lot of different ways of thinking about giving imprimatur to difference, and just deal with the absolute exceptions at the margin,” he says.
He points out that, even by conservative estimates, at least 150,000 permits are issued in this country every year, adding that they took “at least 30 days” to be processed.
“So there are 4.5 million lost days before you can blink. What other industry is prepared to put up with that?” he said.
Mahon pointed to the QTA’s earlier submission to the inquiry, which called for a comprehensive HVNL review to help it become safer and more productive and efficient.
“We are an industry, along with the general business sector, all levels of government and academia, that ought be charged with the broadest terms of reference in a review to challenge this orthodoxy and bring forward to our lawmakers new thinking, lateral thinking, for efficient regulatory industry oversight.”
Insisting that the industry does not have the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator ( NHVR) in its sights on this, Mahon accepts that such a view butts into bureaucratic and political inertia and resultant action must occur if the industry is to avoid remaining mired.
“If we don’t challenge it, we won’t get anywhere,” he says. “We’ve got to start the conversation somewhere.”