Prime Mover Magazine

National truck laws have failed to boost industry: ATA

National regulatory reforms are required to boost productivity for the road transport industry according to Australian Trucking Association (ATA) Chief of Staff Bill McKinley.

McKinley while releasing the ATA's submission to the Productivity Commission National Transport Regulatory Reform issues paper acknowledged that measures were needed to implement industry improvements to productivity and safety in light of regulatory reforms that had been proven to be counter-productive.

“Fundamental reform is required for road access decisions under the national truck laws, to recognise that local roads are part of a wider network and that decisions to refuse access have significant impact on the economy,” he said.

“The national truck laws and regulatory reforms have failed to boost trucking industry sector-wide productivity and there must be reform," said McKinley.

According to McKinley the laws were predicted to deliver up to $12.4 billion in economic benefits, but since 2014 when they were first introduced productivity across the industry had been stagnant.

He cited an independent report from Deloitte Access Economics in which amendments to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) would save the industry $1.8 billion a year by 2050 and reduce the costs of Australian industries by $900 million a year among other benefits.

The ATA has called for the introduction of enforceable standards for access decision-makers, external reviews of decisions, reduced processing times and the expansion of as-of-right access.

“Governments should also adopt supply side road funding reforms that set clear and measurable service level standards when building roads,” said McKinley.

He also highlighted the need to protect the productivity of Western Australian and Northern Territory trucking businesses.

These businesses operate under their own state laws and not the HVNL.

“There is much to be learned from the successful truck laws in Western Australia and the Northern Territory,” he said.

“There is no case for extending the HVNL to these states.”

As part of its submission to the issues paper the ATA has called for improved safety measures in which governments better understand the cause behind most incidents.

“The ATA believes an important step in improving industry safety is to see the introduction of independent, no-blame safety investigations for heavy vehicle crashes,” he said.

McKinley said the ATA was also calling for Governments to act to increase the use of advanced safety technologies.

“All new rigid trucks should be included in the Australian Government’s decision to mandate stability control, and autonomous emergency braking should be mandated for all new trucks,” he said.

McKinley added that governments should also incentivise the purchase and use of new, safer heavy vehicles by removing stamp duty.

“These measures will play a key role improving the safety of hardworking truck drivers and productivity across the industry,” he said.

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