For many in industry, 2022 was another very challenging year. While Covid-19 border restrictions lifted, the industry still faced unique pressures and challenges including supply chain issues, increasing fuel costs, driver shortages and impacts of flood events not to mention supply of new vehicles and accessing spare parts.
But, as always, the industry was able to navigate these challenges and keep trucks moving safely.
We were proud to support these efforts and work with industry and regulatory partners to find practical solutions while still delivering on our commitment to pursue a modern regulatory strategy that is focused on informing, educating, and enforcing.
Our safety and compliance officers had open conversations with drivers about safety practices and to help establish positive and long-lasting safety behaviours. We continued to work closely with policing agencies to build stronger relationships and ensure consistency in the way compliance and enforcement activities are undertaken.
We also ramped up our focus on key decision makers under Chain of Responsibility which we know is key to driving improved safety cultures and a key area industry has been advocating. This saw an increase in primary duties prosecutions over the year. Twenty-seven Executives, off road parties, operators and other parties in the chain were before the court for primary duty matters.
But prosecutions aren’t our key driver, we value working with businesses to improve their own operations, which is why where appropriate, we will use alternatives to prosecution for industry. This year we accepted 15 Enforceable Undertakings and close to 30 court imposed Supervisory Intervention Orders (SIOs), as well as a number of improvement notices. Rather than issuing a fine, these tools enable companies to invest in improving safety practices or developing safety tools that will benefit the entire industry and other road users.
As our roads became busy again, we made a dedicated investment to improve awareness of the broader community on improving their interactions with trucks. Our young driver initiative Don’t #uck With A Truck drove home an important safety message to our L and P platers in a purposely provocative way. We continued our We Need Space campaign and partnered with Queensland Police Service to launch the Sharing our Roads with Oversize Loads campaign.
After two years of virtual meetings and cancelled physical events, one of the major highlights of the year for me was the ability to reconnect with many of you in person. This interaction is something I truly enjoy and value as it gives me the opportunity to hear first-hand your concerns, issues or even just the opportunity to have a chat.
There were robust discussions and information sharing at numerous conferences throughout the year and while I know there is still a lot of work to do, overall, I am confident that by working together we are starting to make a meaningful and positive difference. We have appreciated your honest feedback during the year, and I look forward to continuing to engage with you in the new year.
We have spent a lot of time internally to continue to improve our approaches and I’m really pleased to see that we were recognised for these efforts and being named the 2022 Service Champion for the Customer Service Organisation of the Year – Government/Not for Profit category at the CSIA Australian Service Excellence Awards. This achievement is at the core of our values, to provide a consistent, accountable and transparent customer experience.
I look forward to continuing to work together in 2023 as we strive to keep delivering a safe and highly efficient road freight transport sector. Next year we will continue our journey to finalise the transition of heavy vehicles services from the states to the NHVR, which will go a long way to delivering a consistent and efficient regulatory service across the country.
We recently released a Performance Based Standards (PBS) 2.0 Discussion Paper seeking industry involvement to shape the future of the scheme so we can get these safer and more productive vehicles on our road networks sooner.
Our key priorities are focused on expanding access, moving mature combinations into the “as-of-right” fleet and reducing end-to-end approval times. We are holding a series of webinars early in the new year to ensure industry has a chance to provide input.
Continued improvements to the NHVR Portal being the single-entry point for industry, government and road managers to manage access and other heavy vehicle regulatory services will see the release of the first national network map. This will save time and effort by removing the need for industry to access multiple state-based maps to plan and manage journeys and will start to provide dedicated heavy vehicle routing options.
Our commitment to improving the management of fatigue and helping drivers rest when they are tired and drive when they are fit will be a priority. We are focused on breaking down the barriers to help operators get into Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM). New resources and tools will be made available, including pre-approved AFM work and rest examples and a new streamlined online AFM application process.
There are a lot of exciting and innovative projects in the pipeline over the next twelve months, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with everyone across the heavy vehicle industry and supply chain to ensure safe, more productive and efficient 2023.