National operator standard for Heavy Vehicle operators required: ALC

Australian Governments have been called on to develop a national operator standard for heavy vehicle operators.

Stemming from its review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has proposed the creation of a national standard in which every heavy vehicle operator would provide the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) with a list of heavy vehicles it operates including garaging information about the vehicle.

The proposal forms part of its submission to the National Transport Commission in response to a consultation regulatory impact statement prepared on possible changes to the HVNL.

Heavy vehicle operators would, according to further changes proposed by the ALC, install and use equipment meeting international standards that records information regarding driving hours and location data.

This data could be used in investigation of alleged breaches of the HVNL while providing operators with crucial information that can be studied to manage safety outcomes or otherwise provide road owners with information that can be used when applying for access to routes.

The ALC also recommends, under the proposed national operator standard, that operators maintain a safety management system that meets standards established in the HVNL.

In addition to this, registered operators would be required to have capital set aside to ensure the efficient operation of their heavy vehicles.

The most important facet of the proposal, according to ALC Chief Executive Officer Kirk Coningham, is for vehicle movements to be recorded — acknowledging data was now akin to new oil for the freight transport industry.

“As the Productivity Commission said in its recent report on national transport regulatory reform governments should prioritise uses of data with the greatest potential to improve productivity in the transport sector in ways that can inform the provision and management of road infrastructure,” he said in a statement.

Under the plan, it would help inform decisions around permits and road access for heavy vehicles and assist in the development and implementation of the Heavy Vehicle Road Reform Agenda, with the information forming part of the proposed federal Freight Data Hub.

“It will be an opportunity lost if the national operating standard concept is not tested in a holistic way as governments considers responses to the regulatory impact statement,” Coningham concluded.

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