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Truckers unhappy with new national laws

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Australia’s national truck laws must be substantially redrafted, the Australian Trucking Association said in response to the first issues paper of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) review.

The ATA represents the 50,000 businesses and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry.

The issues paper seeks views on ways to make the law more risk based and less prescriptive.

Chairman of the ATA Geoff Crouch said the ATA’s vision for the new HVNL was a law that had:

  • Primary safety duties and executive officer due diligence obligations for all regulated parties.
  • Simplified and more flexible prescriptive rules, particularly on fatigue.
  • A separate, voluntary, safety-based system for operators that need even more flexibility. Operators in this system would need to be accredited under an approved accreditation scheme. Operators in any approved accreditation scheme would be entitled to appropriate concessions from the prescriptive rules.
  • A new approach to enforcement. There is a perceived lack of action by road agencies and the regulator on serious breaches of the law, including by off-road parties. There is too much focus on work diary errors and low risks that cannot be controlled.
  • A more streamlined and integrated approach to truck access and productivity to deliver the productivity gains the industry and customers need.

“The current HVNL would need to be substantially redrafted to deliver this vision, although some key elements – most notably chapter 1A of the current law – would be retained with amendments,” Mr Crouch said.

“The submission also puts forward changes to the law that would bring the NHVR’s corporate governance, oversight and accountability arrangements into line with other safety regulators.

“The ATA worked closely with our members to develop this submission, and received valuable input, including from truck drivers, in the collaboration sessions at Trucking Australia in April.

“Our drivers experience the truck laws on the road every day. Our job is to make sure their voices are heard, loud and clear,” he said.

You can view the submission here.

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