National heavy vehicle regulator must recognise buses: Apps

By: Jason Whittaker


A national heavy vehicle regulator must clearly articulate the differences between trucks and buses and must not become "truck-centric", the

A national heavy vehicle regulator must clearly articulate the differences between trucks and buses and must not become "truck-centric", the Bus Industry Council (BIC) says.

Last week the Council of Australian Governments agreed to create a single national heavy vehicle regulator by 2013. Transitional arrangements will be introduced in 2011.

The single body will be responsible for inspection standards, safe driving hours, mass limits and registration.

BIC Executive Director Michael Apps says the national heavy vehicle regulator must clearly articulate the differences between buses and trucks, and have a clear mandate for operation.

Reaching agreement between the states will be challenging, he says.

"Up until now we haven’t been able to achieve that through the National Transport Commission process because the states have modified the NTC’s model legislation to suit their own idiosyncrasies," he says.

State-based government contracted services, such as route and school bus operations, must comply with state-based performance and accreditation requirements, which could make compliance with a single regulator difficult.

"[State-based contracts] clearly would not, in our view come under the auspices of the national heavy vehicle regulator, based on the nature of those arrangements," says Apps.

"The challenge is going to be working out how a national heavy vehicle regulator is going to achieve what the NTC hasn’t been able to do with the states. It will have to have the appropriate powers bestowed upon it through the states to deliver it.

"There’s a lot of work. 2013 seems like a long way off but maybe it’s not, in the context of all the work that needs to be undertaken."

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