Not setting the world on fire

Just so we, here in Australia, know our place in the world, some news from Mexico has shown just how far we are behind the rest of the world. The government of Mexico has announced the country will be introducing new truck emissions regulations as of January 1 2018. This will see the introduction of trucks onto the Mexican market compliant to either the US EPA 2010 or Euro 6.

 

Here in Australia, the introduction of these new rules has been delayed by a series of factors, including the 2013 election. Currently, the smart money doesn’t see the new ADR 80/04 actually being implemented until January 1 2020. This is ten years after the standard was set in the US and seven years after Euro 6 came in Europe.

 

This puts us two years behind somewhere regarded as a third world country struggling along in the shadow of the United States and regarded as having slack regulation, encouraging US companies to transfer industrial capacity south of the border.

 

As a country we expect to be taken seriously on the global scene. Brisbane hosted the G20 Summit recently and spent a lot of money to build up the city’s profile as being globally significant. Our Prime Minister stands side by side with the US President, or Chancellor of Germany and expects to be treated as an equal.

 

At the same time, our law makers and jurisdictions spend their time making problems as legislation winds its way down the long and winding road it needs to travel before having a chance to become a bill before parliament. The legislative process is beset with petty arguments between fiefdoms within the public service. There are internecine battles going on between federal and state bureaucrats.

 

On the other hand, Mexico, not known for its fast moving bureaucracy or legislative correctness, can pass a law introducing these exhaust emission rules. Meanwhile, a Regulatory Impact Statement is backed up somewhere in the corridors of our bureaucracy waiting for someone to sign off on it, or whatever is needed.

 

From the trucking industry point of view, we are probably not that bothered about the delay in ADR 80/04. The jump from Euro 5 to Euro 6, in terms of improved environmental outcome, is not that huge. The new engines are definitely going to be more expensive and probably run hotter than the current ones.

 

What Mexico being ahead of us does demonstrate, however, is how clumsy our legislative system is. Other legislation changes and new regulations are delayed even more than the exhaust gas emission rules and they do have an effect on productivity and profitability in the trucking industry.

 

The National Transport Commission was set up back in 1991 to make some real improvements to the regulatory environment. 24 years later we are just starting to glimpse some real progress, as the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator stumbles onto the trucking scene. Every week there is some state bureaucrat shoving another stick into the spokes, to make some self-interested point along the way.

 

If we are happy with the situation, then perhaps we need to learn from the Mexicans. Life would be a lot easier if we accepted things are not likely to change, and if they do, it will take decades. Perhaps we have to accept we have a third world legislative system. All we have to do then is sit down with our sombrero on our head and try to catch forty winks waiting for ‘maƱana’!

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Author: Tim Giles

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