With South Australia now having NHVR roadside enforcement, to be closely followed by Tasmania, the picture of regulation of trucking in Australia is rapidly changing. More surprising, has been the decision by NSW’s Roads and Maritime Services to transition across to an National Heavy Vehicle Regulator-run enforcement arm.
“About ninety per cent of what South Australia does is now with us, “ explains Sal Petroccitto, NHVR CEO. “On-road inspectors, on-road enforcement, Safe-T-Cam, information services, investigation and prosecution services is now under the NHVR. We are really excited about it. We’ve gone from 15 to 22 inspectors in the state. This starts to enact what the ministers had in their vision back in 2009, a single regulator.
“Tasmania has also kicked off and is now in the full process of transitioning across to NHVR control. We are hoping by October 2018, Tasmania will have transitioned. Then, realistically, in the next two years New South Wales will have transitioned all of their functions to us.
“If you look three years out, by then South Australia, NSW, Tasmania and ACT will all be under the functions of the single regulator. Victoria and Queensland are supportive of transition progressing, but are waiting to see how the process goes for the other states. I expect them to be transitioned across in three years time.”
This is a major advance forward for NHVR and the first real sign of the possibility of a single entity for trucking to deal with in a large chunk of Australia. There will be roadside enforcement officers in NHVR uniforms with a more consistent approach in several states, including the busiest, NSW.
“The Director General and CEO of the RMS said to me, ‘we support the regulator, we want to start the transition’,” says Sal. “The first time they told me, I had to get them to repeat it, but they have reaffirmed they are genuine. They have had a full briefing with all of their inspectors. It’s early days, there’s a working group. It’s real, we pinched ourselves a couple of times and reread the letter. It’s exciting, when we have the largest jurisdiction saying they are committed, it’s a reassurance we are starting to do something well.”
Having actual bodies on the ground is likely to be strongest signal from NHVR to demonstrate the move towards a national approach to regulation. It will be tangible evidence the paradigm has changed for trucking and its often tetchy relationship with enforcement.
For those who need to apply for permits in large numbers, there is also going to be more tangible evidence of change as the access permit system moves more and more across to the centrally controlled model.
“The access system is looking really good,” reckons Sal. “Industry’s adapted to it quite well and road managers are starting to see the benefit of an online system. In 2018 we will start to see the full application of the system, including bringing all of the permit functions still being done by the states back into the regulator. The regulator will be the front door, we do the initial assessment. Then we send it to the road managers for their assessment. They send it back to us and we issue the permit.
“We also expect the enactment of the new Chain of Responsibility legislation in the middle of 2018, subject to the outcomes of the Queensland election.
“When you look at all of those together, the return of delegations, implementing a new system, transition of functions, establishment of the regulator in South Australia and Tasmania, plus active participation in NSW, plus rolling out CoR, already, you’ve got a pretty big program of work happening.”