The National Transport Commission (NTC) has announced that the existing Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) is set to be amended after a comprehensive review. The amendment will take into effect on October 1, 2018.
As stated by Paul Retter, the NTC Chief Executive, the review will result in an amendment of the existing laws and the inception of a stronger, more performance-based Heavy Vehicle National Law.
In 2012, six states agreed to combine 13 model laws into a single national law. The result is the Heavy Vehicle National Law of 2012. Although this national law was able to address different areas of concern, such as what constitutes a heavy vehicle, heavy vehicle standards, modifications, fatigue management, safety requirements, and more, the national law is far from perfect. Retter conceded, “that while the HVNL was better than what preceded it, it was subject to a fair amount of compromise.”
According to Mr. Retter, “Since May 2018, we have heard a lot from industry about the government not being prepared to make wholesale change to the law. Based on our discussions with governments, I am firmly of the view that this is not correct.” Furthermore, he stated that, “The HVNL, in its current form, does not reflect best practice. We understand that it is onerous for industry and the regulator, falls short of being truly national and is overly prescriptive and complicated,” he said.”
The NTC, Mr. Retter asserted, is the best agency to review and amend the Heavy Vehicle National Law of 2012 because of the need for impartiality. NTC will collaborate with transportation experts, industry stakeholders, and the governments of all concerned states and territories during the review process. “We will establish an expert review panel to help develop new policy settings and legislation that reflects best practice,” Mr. Retter has stated. Changes in the Heavy Vehicle National Law of 2012 will focus on better fatigue management, safe and efficient access, improved and more efficient accreditation, technology, and telematics. All stakeholders, whether they are located in rural or urban areas, will be consulted during the review process.
Mr. Retter further stated that, “The 2018 review and subsequent proposed legislation will acknowledge that one size doesn’t fit all across this vast country. Taking a performance-based approach to the HVNL, rather than a prescriptive approach, will deliver streamlined legislation without compromising on safety.”
According to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, major changes on the Heavy Vehicle National Law will take effect on October 1, 2018.