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Changes to HVNL regarding loss of effluent and fatigue provisions on hold

The National Transport Commission (NTC) said there will be no immediate changes to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) provisions in relation to loss of effluent or fatigue.

NTC Acting Chief Executive, Dr Geoff Allan, said that while both loss of effluent and fatigue were important, there was a reluctance to make changes at this stage given the review of the HVNL that is currently underway.

“There was strong support from industry to make allowances within the HVNL for minor, incidental and unavoidable effluent loss while transporting livestock,” said Allan.

“After discussions with states and territories, it was decided that rather than provide a legislative amendment, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator will work with the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters’ Association and jurisdictions on education and guidance materials to manage the problem,”  he said.

Currently loss of effluent from a heavy vehicle is treated as a load restraint breach under the HVNL and state road laws. Drivers may be fined for effluent spills, despite having limited influence over effluent generation.

“Transport of livestock prioritises the health and wellbeing of the livestock, and industry is telling us it is difficult to contain the emission of animal effluent at times over the course of a long journey due to the more open design of livestock transport vehicles,” said Allan.

In other consultations, the NTC looked at issues around driver fatigue when drivers are transitioning from two-up (two drivers) driving arrangements to solo driving, and practices around counting work and rest times in non-participating jurisdictions.

“As fatigue is one of the key issues we are looking at as part of the overall review of the HVNL, it was considered appropriate to include both these fatigue-related issues in the wider review of the HVNL rather than as stand-alone issues at this stage,” said Allan.

In other news, the NTC has released a discussion paper examining whether there is a need to change existing compulsory motor accident injury insurance schemes to cover automated vehicles.

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