The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has had to revert to something like the old system of using the state authorities to process permit applications after the new national permit system failed to deliver in the first week of operation, causing delays and confusion for the heavy haulage industry. This follows the announcement, last week, which asked operators seeking permits to approach local authorities themselves to get consent to use particular routes.
This week staff from the state agencies which, until ten day ago, were processing the permits are being co-opted back into the process to help clear the backlog which has now formed and is causing further delays. The continuing bureaucratic sclerosis looks set to take time to clear and the operators who depend on permits can expect more delays and confusion for some time to come.
“Last week, the NHVR allowed any operator who wanted to speed up their permit processing time to directly seek consent from the applicable local government and attach a copy of the consent to either a new or existing NHVR permit application,” said NHVR CEO, Richard Hancock. “Today, the NHVR Board resolved to continue to working closely with state government road transport departments to resolve issues with time-critical oversize and overmass vehicle permits.
“Some state government agencies have already provided key staff to assist the NHVR application processing team and we are very appreciative of their cooperation. These arrangements will assist the faster processing of those applications that urgently need approval in the short term.”
One of the issues which occurred in the first week was caused when operators applying online for permits didn’t get a response and presumed the application hadn’t gone through. They would then try again, with the same result, no confirmation the application was received. Now, multiple applications for the same movement are sitting in the system and the NHVR are unable to work out how many are needed and which are duplicates.
Some operators are reporting improved response times from the NHVR but there is clearly going to be an ongoing problem for some time to come. A recurring problem seems to be between the NHVR and the local authorities who have neither the staff or the expertise to deal with access requests quickly. In the past, their long term relationship with the state authorities had made decision making easier.
I would seem the NHVR has been dumped in the deep end and is struggling to tread water. The question needs to be asked, how this happened and whether the lack of understanding of the sheer volume and complexity of permit applications was due to the tension which has existed between the state authorities and the interloper, the NHVR?