Leaders back national truck law reform

James Nason, 20/08/2011

All state and territory leaders with the exception of WA signed an intergovernmental deal to introduce a national set of heavy transport laws from 2013. Despite delaying the process WA premier Colin Barnett says the state will support the deal.Livestock transporters are set to operate under a single set of national road laws from 2013 after a majority of national leaders yesterday backed a proposal to streamline heavy vehicle regulations across Australia.

All but one of the premiers and chief ministers at yesterday’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Canberra signed an intergovernmental agreement to replace the existing state-based heavy transport laws with one national regulatory system.

The proposal is expected to see a new national heavy vehicle regulator created by December 2012 to oversee and administer the new national laws. The regulator would be head quartered in Brisbane.

The one potential spanner in the works is Western Australia, which has given in-principal support but has not yet signed the deal.

The WA Government is not yet satisfied that the fatigue management laws contained in the draft national heavy vehicle laws reflect the geographic reality of the west and the longer distances required between rest stops.

Supporting the national laws would also require WA to join the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme, in which it does not currently participate. 

WA Government Colin Barnett will take the proposal back to his Cabinet for further discussion, but told reporters after yesterday’s meeting that WA agreed with the principles of an interstate transport regulations and said the state “would sign the deal”.

The national transport reforms voted on yesterday also included the creation of single national regulators for the maritime and rail transport industries.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said reducing the number of transport regulators across the country from 23 to three would result in $30 billion worth of economic savings.

The new arrangements are expected to reduce the confusion, duplication, mountains of paperwork and multiple fee systems that exist in transport regulations between states.

Australian Livestock Transporters Association executive director Philip Halton said the replacement of state-based laws with a single national system had “profound significance” for the entire transport industry. 

Related stories: Hopes high for national transport reform


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