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PBS approvals in crisis: NHVR must do better, says peak body

The Heavy Vehicle Industry Association (HVIA) says the Performance Based Standards (PBS) approvals process is now in crisis, and is calling for urgent action from the regulator to fix it.

HVIA Chief Executive Todd Hacking said the demand follows six months of private and cooperative negotiations by phone, email and face-to-face meetings to try and assist the NHVR to overcome what he calls operational issues.

“The situation is now dire,” Hacking said. “HVIA has been trying to help the NHVR behind the scenes but the time has come to make our concerns public.

“Vehicle standards related functions like PBS are under-resourced across all levels of Government but the PBS situation is out of control.

“Applications go missing, consultation is limited, response timeframes are not being met and when our members try and find out what is going on, they are lucky to get a reply.

“Personally, I am grateful to the NHVR for the ongoing service I have received, but sadly this is not the reality for HVIA members.

“Whether they are trailer manufacturers, assessors or certifiers, their pleas are all too often ignored, or given the run-around; the lack of empathy and communication is beyond frustrating.”

Hacking said the chain reaction is creating tension with HVIA members’ own customers.

“Everyone is hurting; operators tell me the cost is about $50,000 a month,” he said.

“Some trailer manufacturers are not getting paid, so they are withholding payments to their service providers – it hurts the entire PBS supply chain.

“Had the NHVR acted and applied additional resources when we told them last November, we would not be in this disastrous situation now.

“The industry is busy – blind Freddy could tell you that – we all want PBS to work; we are invested in the system, but this will quickly kill off the scheme if a solution is not found now, and implemented tomorrow – six to twelve months time is simply unacceptable.

Hacking said the NHVR needs to respond better to industry.

“Our members need accurate, detailed, empathetic communication on when they will get their vehicle approval and any issues that need to be resolved,” he said.

“This would help manage expectations, but this needs to start today.”

A spokesperson tells us that the NHVR is aware of concerns relating to the PBS approvals process.

“The NHVR is meeting with stakeholders this week to address the concerns raised,” they said.

“The NHVR is committed to the success of the PBS scheme and will continue to work with all stakeholders to improve service delivery and reduce turnaround times.”

  • If you’ve been frustrated by the approvals process, let us know about your experience in the comments below, or by emailing us at editor@bigrigs.com.au.
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