Call for regulator to support changes to PBS scheme

It’s time to address high Performance Based Standards (PBS) regulatory costs and expand the as-of-right access to agreed networks, the National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has told the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR).

NatRoad calls the NHVR’s Performance Based Standards 2.0 discussion paper “a mixed bag”, conceding that many of its proposed reforms are improvements.

But it says that reducing charges and expanding as-of-right access to agreed networks need to be higher priorities as the current arrangements stifle innovation.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark says there’s no clear path for PBS vehicles to exit the PBS scheme into the ‘as-of-right’ fleet.

“We know that these are issues that the NHVR has to refer to the National Transport Commission (NTC) under current legislation,” Clark said.

“So let’s get on with that and change the scheme so it’s based on performance requirements and not prescriptive ones.”

Clark said NatRoad has members who have spent large amounts to have PBS vehicles designed and approved, only to mothball them because route access has not been granted.

“That does nobody any good,” he said.

“We support the immediate development of a fast-tracked PBS approval for heavy vehicles that are built with safety features that allow a maximum vehicle width of up to 2.6 metres as-of-right access to the road network.

“Anything that allows manufacturers to take on assessor and/or certifier functions to minimise time and cost barriers to industry without compromising safety has to be a good thing.”

Clark said NatRoad also backs the NHVR proposal for a High Performance Fleet as a separate, quasi-prescriptive category of heavy vehicle, allowing older PBS vehicles to transition out of the scheme.

“Having a designated High Performance Fleet can achieve this, but allowing further access without requiring a permit remains our preferred option,” Clark said.

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