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HVIA: Roadmap to guide the way

Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) has identified a range of policy issues it believes are crucial to the heavy vehicle industry and, by extension, that affect every Australian.

The issues outlined in the HVIA’s detailed federal election roadmap all fall under the theme, A strong heavy vehicle industry – vital for a resilient Australia.

They address skills shortages, support for Australian manufacturing and productivity, safety, and sustainability.

The HVIA said both major parties have expressed the need for increased support for Australian manufacturing. 

It will be seeking more concrete detail on how that support will apply to our industry.

“HVIA has called for supply chains to be streamlined to avoid local production, delivery and support bottlenecks,” said HVIA CEO Todd Hacking.

“The government can do that by adding heavy vehicle manufacturing to Australia’s national manufacturing priorities including explicit support in the Australian Government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy.

“We have asked the government to prevent cheap overseas imports from flooding the market – that is, vehicles not suitable for our unique transport challenges, that could displace Australia’s innovative heavy trailer designers and builders. 

“By speeding up regulatory approvals, reducing red tape and lowering compliance costs, the government can be an effective partner to Australian industry.”

HVIA believes that allowing high productivity vehicles on more routes will take the burden off Australia’s growing freight task. 

“To do that the government needs to prioritise improvements to bridges and other parts of the road network to facilitate access for more innovative and productive vehicles.”

Here are more details on exactly what the HVIA is asking for in its federal election policy roadmap.

SAFETY

The National Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 identifies safer vehicles as one of the key pillars of the strategy.

The Productivity Commission’s recent report into National Transport Regulatory Reform concluded that, rather than the regulatory reforms, most gains in heavy vehicle road safety and efficiency are likely to be the result of:

• improvements to road infrastructure and;

• increasing the uptake of new safety technologies.

Safety Policy Statement: Improve the uptake of road safety related technologies

How

• Prioritise updates to Australian Design Rules to include the mandatory fitment of available safety technologies to new vehicles.

• Government contract tenders should preference services based on use of safer vehicles.

• Government should encourage all organisations to preference safer vehicles in awarding contracts.

• Phase in requirements for safety technologies to be fitted to new PBS vehicles.

SUSTAINABILITY

Energy security and the environment

Over the last 40 years emission standards for new vehicles in the Australian Fleet have improved resulting in substantially less pollutants entering the atmosphere (particularly in major cities).

In parallel there has also been significant increases in:

• fuel efficiency of vehicles in the heavy vehicle fleet.

• more productive vehicle combinations.

• improvements to road infrastructure.

While emissions per tonne/km of freight have greatly improved, global commitments to addressing climate change have increased the focus towards low and zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) such as battery and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.

In Australia the variety and capability of models available will increase rapidly in the next few years. 

Proactive government policy can influence the rate these vehicles are taken up by heavy vehicle operators.

Statement 1:

Immediate steps to support the transition to low and zero emissions heavy vehicles.

How

Bring in exclusive depreciation incentives for new low or zero emissions vehicles (ADR80/04 or better).

Statement 2:

Channel investment into targeted energy supply and infrastructure – not consultants and feasibility projects.

How

Prioritise funding to projects that evaluate the business case for electric vehicles in real world scenarios.

Statement 3:

Remove obstacles to ZEHV uptake – don’t let Australia fall behind.

How

Align Australian heavy vehicle standards for ZEV trucks with international standards for width and mass.

MANUFACTURING AND PRODUCTIVITY

Australia has a highly efficient and reliable transport system by world standards.

It is supported by a vibrant local manufacturing industry, that produces innovative vehicles and combinations that lead the world in fostering road transport productivity.

In particular, Australia’s adoption of Performance Based Standards has resulted in rapid innovation, leading to more efficient vehicles.

The health of heavy vehicle manufacturing in Australia is essential to the ongoing pace of innovation and to the productivity and reliability of Australia’s supply chain, particularly against a backdrop of a growing population and the ever-increasing freight task.

Statement 1:

Streamline supply chains to avoid local production, delivery and support bottlenecks.

How

Add heavy vehicle manufacturing to Australia’s National Manufacturing priorities including explicit support in the Australian Government’s Modern Manufacturing Strategy.

HVIA CEO Todd Hacking asked the government to prevent cheap overseas imports from flooding the market.

Statement 2:

Don’t allow cheap overseas imports – not suitable for our unique transport challenges – to displace Australia’s innovative heavy trailer designers and builders.

How

Lower costs for Australian manufacturers by speeding up regulatory approvals, reducing red tape and lowering compliance costs.

Statement 3:

Allow high productivity vehicles to take the burden off Australia’s growing freight task.

How

Prioritise improvements to bridges and other parts of the road network to facilitate access for more innovative and productive vehicles.

SKILLS AND JOBS

Between the Covid pandemic and the many other challenges over the last couple of years, Australians have faced the consequences of supply chain issues that have also highlighted the workforce challenges our industry faces, particularly in terms of key skills.

In the short term we need to address these challenges by streamlining the processes for bringing in skilled workers from overseas, but concurrently in view of the longer term, we need to attract younger Australians into the rewarding careers our industry has to offer.

Statement 1: 

Streamline processes for bringing in skilled migrants to address critical skill shortages in the heavy vehicle industry.

How

Slash red tape and reduce the costs of bringing skilled migrants into Australia.

Statement 2: 

Recognise heavy vehicle trade priorities in the new Apprenticeship Incentive System.

How

Add heavy vehicle manufacturing trades and heavy vehicle service and repair trades to the Australian Apprenticeship Priority List.

Statement 3: 

Facilitate skills development to support all aspects of battery and fuel cell electric heavy vehicle deployments, maintenance, and repair.

How

• Place courses and skillsets related to the Cert 3 in Automotive Electric Vehicle Technology on the subsidy list for priority skills.

• Develop a corresponding set of courses to cover skills related to hydrogen fuel cell technologies.

• Provide funding for capital investment by RTOs to support the delivery of electric and hybrid heavy vehicle training

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