Industry News

Road Transport is a Low Priority

When there is an important issue to be sorted out, the different levels of government suddenly get their collective backsides into gear and the necessary regulations arrive, but not for trucking, road transport is a low priority.

ADR 80/04 was drafted at the end of 2012, good timing for Australia to keep up with regulations in the first world. Then it was put away in a drawer somewhere in Canberra and reappeared a decade later. It will now come into effect fully in 2025, a mere 13 years later.

Probably more pressing was the rewriting of the Heavy Vehicle National Law. It was originally drafted and passed in the rush to get the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator up and running and was clearly not up to the job as soon as the NHVR came into being in 2014.

It was obvious it needed to be rewritten at that point and the HVNL failings meant that the NHVR struggled to do its job. It was clear back then that the HVNL needed reform. Then the whole process went off into its own flawed reform spiral.

The trucking industry was called on to get involved in the process and contribute to the new HVNL in order to make it more effective and targeted. Little did we know at the time, but those years of consultation, which trucking engaged in wholeheartedly, were wasted.

When the draft HVNL finally appeared, it was clear all of that time had been window dressing. It was a dog. Then, of course, we had a long process of the industry demonstrating the process was bungled and the new HVNL definitely a dog.

At this point, after years of a rewriting process, the whole thing goes on hold, so that we can review the process, with a review by Ken Kanofski, taking further time, coming to the conclusion the whole thing was a mess. Back to the drawing board and we are still waiting for a change, as we celebrate the tenth anniversary for the NHVR.

At the end of these years and years of waiting, we have proof of the fact that we knew, only too well, all along. The road transport industry is a very low priority for the powers that be in Australia and will continue be treated as an afterthought.

If we want to continue to be treated this way, we just carry on. If we want to be regarded as the vital cog in the national economy we genuinely are, we need to get together, forget our differences and work together as a whole industry and get noticed, both by the voting public and the law makers.


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