PBS re­view needed in 2019: NTC

Australian Transport News - - CONTENTS -

The Na­tional Trans­port Com­mis­sion has rec­om­mended Aus­tralia’s Per­for­mance­Based Stan­dards be re­vised by July next year

THE NA­TIONAL TRANS­PORT

COM­MIS­SION (NTC) has rec­om­mended Aus­tralia’s Per­for­mance-Based Stan­dards (PBS) be re­vised by July next year in a bid to at­tract more in­dus­try in­ter­est in the scheme.

The rec­om­men­da­tion is one of four made by the group in a re­port into the scheme which was ap­proved by state and ter­ri­tory trans­port min­is­ters in a meet­ing held last month.

First de­vel­oped in 2007, the PBS scheme was de­signed to help de­liver fur­ther pro­duc­tiv­ity with­out de­vel­op­ing fur­ther in­fra­struc­ture – en­cour­ag­ing in­dus­try to de­velop in­no­va­tive ve­hi­cles that could carry a greater vol­ume of prod­ucts safely.

NTC chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Retter says is­sues such as bar­ri­ers to ac­cess have meant the in­dus­try has been re­luc­tant to par­tic­i­pate in the scheme.

Specif­i­cally, in­dus­try un­cer­tainty as to whether a ve­hi­cle will be ap­proved to ac­cess a par­tic­u­lar route was iden­ti­fied as the “sin­gle big­gest bar­rier to the take-up of the PBS Scheme”, the re­port says.

“Re­spon­dents also re­ported that they can eas­ily man­age pop­u­lar ve­hi­cle types through the PBS process, but truly in­no­va­tive ideas are put in the ‘too-hard bas­ket’.”

The stan­dards were also in­flex­i­ble – and did not take into ac­count mod­ern so­lu­tions, such as anti-lock brak­ing sys­tems – to old prob­lems.

The NTC says that a change to the stan­dards rec­om­mend­ing that they be re­viewed and re­vised by the Na­tional Heavy Ve­hi­cle Reg­u­la­tor (NHVR) by July 2019, and that they con­tinue to be re­vised ev­ery seven years.

An NHVR spokesman tells ATN the reg­u­la­tor is keen to see a re­view, and is “rea­son­ably con­fi­dent” that it would be able to meet the tar­get.

Retter says a 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, rather than hav­ing to con­stantly seek ap­proval.

“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,” he says.

The re­port also rec­om­mended state and ter­ri­tory gov­ern­ments for­mally iden­tify which roads were open to which type of ve­hi­cle – sin­gle ar­tic­u­lated trucks, B-dou­bles and dou­ble and triple road trains, by July 2021 to help save time in the ap­pli­ca­tion process.

The NTC also rec­om­mended that the NHVR work with Aus­troads to com­pare the method­olo­gies used to assess in­fra­struc­ture across Aus­tralia in order to build a na­tion­ally con­sis­tent as­sess­ment method­ol­ogy by July 2020.

The NTC will now work with road man­agers, the NHVR and Aus­troads to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions of the re­view.

Paul Retter

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