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Heavy Vehicle National Law to 'boost efficiency, productivity'

17 February, 2014

The recently introduced Heavy Vehicle National Law regulating trucks, buses and other heavy vehicles across most of Australia will boost efficiency and productivity in the transport industry, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Warren Truss.

Under the new Heavy Vehicle National Law, all heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonnes will operate under one rule book covering Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.

Truss congratulated the participating state and territory governments, the National Transport Commission and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator on achieving the consistent laws.

The single Heavy Vehicle National Law will relieve the transport industry of unnecessary and costly red tape, while ensuring a consistent safety regime for heavy vehicles on our road. The benefits include: reducing paperwork and administration costs for businesses operating across state borders; creating a one-stop-shop for heavy vehicle accreditation and roads access permits; and instituting new work diary arrangements for managing driver fatigue.

"This important agreement across state lines is expected to boost the national economy by more than $12 billion over the next 20 years," Truss said.

"The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator opened its doors in January 2013 and has been managing the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme and the Performance Based Standards Scheme.

"With the commencement of the National Law tomorrow, the Regulator will now be responsible for heavy vehicle compliance with national vehicle standards and for regulating drivers and the industry's safety practices.

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator CEO Richard Hancock concurred, commenting that daily business processes for heavy vehicle operators would see a marked improvement.

"With one rule book under one Regulator, we can now offer a much broader range of services previously delivered by state road authorities and the ACT government," Hancock said.

Truss added: "Importantly, the Regulator will also oversee vehicle loading and manage permit applications for roads access.

"While Western Australia and the Northern Territory are yet to implement the national law, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator will continue to work with them to address cross-border issues for heavy vehicle operators," he said.

"The heavy vehicle industry is the lifeblood of our economy and the Coalition government is committed to reducing red tape and compliance costs for businesses and implementing measures that improve safety for operators and the community.

"We have already clocked in a new Australian Design Rule requiring either Antilock Braking Systems (ABS) or load proportioning brake systems for new heavy trailers, and combined with the recent mandating of ABS for new heavy vehicles, these new rules are expected to save around 50 lives over the next 30 years on Australian roads.

"And behind the wheel, for drivers we are continuing the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme providing improved rest areas and facilities for truck drivers across Australia, while our $300 million Bridges Renewal Programme will improve productivity and access in regional areas.

"We are doing what we set out to do, create a strong economy by making it easier for businesses to do business safely and efficiently, and deliver infrastructure for the 21st century."

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