The shock resignation of the CEO of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator last week has further set back the prospects of a national regulator for the road transport industry. This is not a crisis but it could become one if the trucking industry doesn’t co-operate with and aid the fledgling regulator to get up and running.
There is little doubt a fully functioning NHVR will be a good thing for trucking in general, even if the final result is just a small improvement on the confusing mess of state based regulation we have had to live with for so many years. The problem for trucking is the process may mean we have to live through a period of increased confusion as the difficult changeover is put in place.
The noises coming out of the NHVR this week have been conciliatory with senior figures in the regulator talking about a controlled and secure process of change. Angus Draheim talked of some of the permit issuing powers remaining with the states for quite some time and Philip Halton told the Australian Logistics Council Forum how changes would not be made until they are 100 per cent sure they will work.
The NHVR will need strong support from the trucking industry in order to complete the transformation as quickly as possible. Delays give the states time in which to settle back into the role of transport regulator and we as an industry cannot afford for them to become too comfortable in the position.
The words coming from the Federal Government are encouraging, Deputy PM Warren Truss has used a couple of occasions to reaffirm the intention to go to a national regulator. This is a good start but the momentum must be maintained and any slip-ups avoided. The forward momentum, which was a strong feature of Richard Hancock’s time at the helm of the NHVR, has faltered in recent weeks and the whole process needs a helping hand from all those with goodwill towards a national regulator.
We need to come out strongly in support of the NHVR and continue to encourage and aid their efforts. Sitting idly by is not an option, the industry and its associations need to come out publicly in support of the process. Doing nothing may result in failure. As they say, ‘It ain’t over until the fat lady sings’.