Australia’s road freight task is growing at almost twice the rate of our population and is expected to increase 80 per cent by 2030.
While we work together to plot a path out of COVID-19, the heavy vehicle industry is playing a lead role in keeping Australians connected and I’m incredibly proud of the resilience that everyone in the industry has demonstrated over the past 18 months.
As our country strengthens, so too will our productivity.
From an industry perspective, increased road network access, greater certainty, practical guidelines and advancements in technology are key to our collective success.
To achieve these goals and develop a prosperous future, the NHVR worked with over 250 industry and government stakeholders to develop a Heavy Vehicle Productivity Plan 2020-25 (HVPP).
The Plan was unveiled in August last year, with key objectives to provide access certainty and consistency, partner with local government to build capability, and promote safer and more productive heavy vehicles that are better for the environment and communities.
Together, we’ve made a lot of progress in the first year, with 30 tasks well underway or completed to benefit industry productivity. I’m particularly excited by a few of the actions that have come to fruition in the past few months or are on track to be completed in the near future.
The Strategic Local Government Asset Assessment Project commenced in late 2019, with a Federal Government funding grant to assist the NHVR and local road managers undertake heavy vehicle assessments of on-road assets.
The project has delivered considerable success and increased access for a range of heavy vehicles into local communities, so much so that the Federal Government’s budget recently extended the funding grant for the next three years.
In this next phase, up to 1000 asset assessments will take place, predominantly across regional and rural Australia, providing new and improved access for drivers. The more assets that can be assessed and accessed, the greater the level of productivity and safety.
A new notice is providing greater flexibility and easing pressure on drivers, while improving safety and increasing efficiencies.
The National Road Train Prime Mover Mass and Dimension Notice commenced at the start of June, following widespread consultation between the NHVR, road managers and industry groups.
The notice provides access to more networks for longer combinations, and resolves issues that have faced roadtrain operators in the past, with benefits including an increase in the use of standardised trailer sets instead of shorter trailers and providing better options for operators to use existing vehicle combinations more efficiently.
When it comes to performance and productivity, the NHVR has been collaborating with industry and collating feedback on a generic tyre approach for the increasing number of Performance-Based Standards vehicles.
This tyre approach is anticipated to deliver a reduction in costs, delays and practical difficulties that currently exist. I expect to have a positive outcome to this approach soon and look forward to continuing to consult with industry.
Another program of work underway is our National Spatial Program. The industry relies on accurate and up-to-date mapping and route planning in order to maximise efficiency, and this program will deliver Australia’s first national harmonised mapping solution for heavy vehicles.
The benefits include nationally consistent network spatial services and standards, improved ability for road managers to establish and manage heavy vehicle networks, and solutions enabling dynamic mapping and intelligent routing so that the trucks are matched to the most suitable and productive roads.
All of this work – and much more – is well underway as part of the HVPP and the NHVR will continue to work closely with stakeholders to deliver effective improvements for the industry.
We are only one year into the plan and I encourage you to review progress on the NHVR’s website. Similarly, I encourage you to reach out to the NHVR if there are productivity measures that are not captured as part of the HVPP, which should be considered.
Together, we are delivering a safer, more efficient and more productive industry.