National operator standard rebuffed by transport ministers

operator standard

Trucking businesses will not need to hold a special business licence or meet a mandatory national operator standard under planned changes to the national truck laws, the ATA understands.

Australia’s transport ministers made the decision last week when they met to decide how to complete the review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

The ATA argued strongly against trucking business licencing or proposals for a national operator standard,” ATA CEO Andrew McKellar said.

“An independent report we commissioned with NatRoad showed that trucking business licensing could involve licensing 131,580 businesses at a total cost of $3.2 billion over ten years.

“And yet the National Transport Commission was unable to identify any clear safety benefits from the option.

“We are very pleased that transport ministers have listened to the views of the ATA and our members. We are looking forward to working with governments to complete the review and deliver a new version of the law that will increase safety and productivity.”

The Australian Logistics Council believes the ministers missed an opportunity to advance the safe operation of heavy vehicles by failing to fully endorse inclusion of its proposed operator standard.

The ALC said it was also disappointed with what it described as the slow pace of reform to the Heavy Vehicle Road Reform (HVRR), which is designed to reform the method of determining the road user charges to be imposed on heavy vehicles.

The current timetable suggests there will be a cascading, and not concurrent commencement to any reform, and that governments may decide at any time whether to continue on the pathway, and whether to ultimately participate in the reformed system.

In what was described as a mixed bag for the industry, the ALC did say it was pleased the ministers endorsed the proposed National Urban Freight Planning Principles, which form an integral part of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

The ALC said it would like commitment that these planning principles are kept under constant review so they capture the changes needed as industry and community needs change.

“For example, the next iteration of the principles should include planning instruments to facilitate the operation and refuelling requirements of electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles,” it said in a recent statement.

The official communique from the transport ministers’ meeting added that final legislation for the HVNL review will be presented to ministers in mid-2023.

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