NHVR for unity

NHVR leading national approach to compliance and enforcement for bus operators

NHVR for unity
NHVR regulatory compliance executive director Tony Kursius is looking forward to helping set national heavy vehicle priorities as part of a new inter-industry forum

A consistent national approach to heavy vehicle rules is now a step closer to becoming a reality.

Australia’s road transport agencies, police services and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) had their first meeting in Brisbane to set national priorities for consistent heavy vehicle compliance and enforcement recently.

NHVR regulatory compliance executive director Tony Kursius says the first National Compliance and Enforcement Operations Forum, held on 30 April, was constructive and represents an important step towards developing national priorities on heavy vehicle rules.

 "We had all heads of compliance and enforcement from across Australia," he says.

Despite decades of each state previously having their own heavy vehicle rules and regulations, Kursius is confident that these are progressively being made uniform across the whole of Australia.

"I very much feel it’s achievable.

"It’s not an easy task. If it was, it would have been done 20 years ago.

"I have found there is a lot of goodwill and commitment to reach this national approach.

"It’s not so much a one-size-fits-all approach, but industry needs confidence it will be treated the same way in each jurisdiction."

 "We have spent quite a bit of time travelling around jurisdictions and talking to police services, government and industry about the key issues," Kursius says.

In the past, different rules and regulations for heavy vehicles in different states have created enforcement challenges for police, compliance officers and operators, and uniform national laws have been called for by the bus industry for just as long.

The forum gave everyone a chance to have their say.

"All jurisdictions had the opportunity put forward their views and there was a high level of agreement," Kursius says.

"We didn’t really get any push back – the level of support was virtually unanimous.

"The real goal is to improve national planning and coordination and improve consistency.

"Ultimately, we are all aiming towards improved safety on our roads for all road users," says Kursius.

It has taken 20 years of negotiation to get to the point where national heavy vehicle regulations could be established and – while there is one national law – there were still variations that had to be ironed-out.

NHVR chief executive Sal Petroccitto says with 95 per cent of Australia’s road freight vehicles now governed by one heavy vehicle national law, the time is right to develop a national approach.

 "This is the first step towards developing a truly national approach to heavy vehicle safety and compliance," he says.

"A national approach means sharing what we know across agencies and across borders to better target enforcement operations.

"It means taking the best in safety and compliance systems and practice from one state and rolling it out across other jurisdictions."

The move will benefit all road users and industry will be widely consulted as NHVR goes through the process of establishing national priorities.

Australian Trucking Association (ATA) chief executive Chris Melham is supportive of the initiative and says industry has been calling for a national approach for years.

"Improving national safety and compliance outcomes is a shared responsibility across government and industry," he says.

"I look forward to working with forum members to get that balance of responsibilities right."

It is anticipated that the National Compliance and Enforcement Operations Forum will meet on a quarterly basis.

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