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Independent review into over-sized truck permit delays kicks off

The Liberal and Nationals’ Government has announced an independent review into why some heavy vehicle operators are experiencing economic losses and delays in being granted special road access permits.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael McCormack, said the review followed concerns being raised by industry about operators of some restricted-access heavy vehicles being required to wait for up to several months for permits allowing them to access the road network.

“To protect infrastructure and ensure the safety of other road users, oversized trucks and machinery that are outside the standard weight and/or dimension limits often require special authority to travel on certain roads,” said McCormack.

“In some cases, however, the time it is taking for this authority to be granted is much longer than anticipated, leaving trucking businesses unable to deliver the required goods when they are needed.

”We need to sort through the barriers to the efficient transport of large but essential materials and machinery and come up with both immediate and long-term responses to the issues.

“The Oversize Overmass (OSOM) Review will therefore consider what changes to the regulatory framework and processes are required to ensure OSOM vehicle permits can be issued within a reasonable timeframe, without compromising safety.”

Consultancy firm, WSP Australia, will undertake the review with the assistance of an expert reference group, which will include industry representatives.

“The review will be led by Pascal Felix from WSP who, as a former regulator in Western Australia, brings a wealth of relevant industry experience to the role,” Mr McCormack said.

The OSOM Review will start immediately, commencing with consultation with industry, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and road managers including local councils and state and territory road authorities.

The review is scheduled to be completed by October 2018 following which a report will be provided to federal, state and territory transport ministers for their consideration.

The trucking industry has welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement of a review into the process for issuing OSOM truck permits.  

The Chair of the Australian Trucking Association, Geoff Crouch, said the long delays in issuing OSOM permits were blocking growth and investment in the Australian economy, with trucks, goods and equipment tangled in red tape at the roadside. 

“Trucking operators that move oversize and overmass loads – such as mining and construction equipment and material – need special permits to use the roads,” Mr Crouch said.

“But there are lengthy delays. We estimate that the trucking industry wastes 4.5 million days per year waiting for approvals.

“For example, it can take more than 80 days to get a permit to transport OSOM steel products on the Transurban tollways in Melbourne, because the Transurban and NHVR processes do not work in parallel.

“A company seeking to move OSOM mining equipment from the Pilbara to Weipa waited more than 100 days for a permit to move the equipment by road through Queensland. In the end, the company transported the equipment to Darwin by road and then barged it to Weipa.

“I want to thank Michael McCormack for recognising the importance of this issue and commissioning the review, which will be led by Pascal Felix, a former heavy vehicle regulator from Western Australia.

“It’s a great appointment. Pascal knows our industry and understands the government processes involved in issuing permits. He will be supported, as well, by an expert reference group that will include trucking industry representatives.”

Crouch said the review showed the value of joining an ATA member association.

“The ATA and our associations, including the Western Roads Federation, NTRTA and the Tasmanian Transport Association, campaigned for this review because of the concerns raised by their member operators,” he said.

 

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