It was just over five years ago when the prospects for the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to become a national regulator for the road transport industry looked a bit slim. It was not a major crisis at the time, but it could have become one if the trucking industry hadn’t co-operated with and aid the then fledgling regulator to get up and running.
There is little doubt a fully functioning NHVR was expected be a good thing for trucking in general, even if the final result proved to be just a small improvement on the confusing mess of state based regulation we had to live with for so many years. The problem for trucking is the process has meant we have had to live through a period of very slow development as the difficult changeover is put in place.
Back in 2014, the noises coming out of the NHVR had to be conciliatory with senior figures in the regulator talking about a controlled and secure process of change. The permit issuing powers had to return to the states for quite some time and promises were made that changes would not be made until NHVR were 100 per cent sure they would work.
At the time, the NHVR needed strong support from the trucking industry in order to complete the transformation as quickly as possible. Delays would give the states time in which to settle back into the role of transport regulator and the trucking industry could not afford for them to become too comfortable in that position.
During 2014, the words coming from the Federal Government were encouraging, Deputy PM Warren Truss has used a couple of occasions to reaffirm the intention to go to a national regulator. This was a good start but the momentum needed to be maintained and any slip-ups avoided. The forward momentum had faltered at that time and the whole process needed a helping hand from all those with goodwill towards a national regulator.
The trucking industry as a whole did come out strongly in support of the NHVR and has continued to encourage and aid their efforts. Yes, progress is exceedingly slow and frustrating, the NHVR is edging inch by inch towards a proper solution, in the right direction. It still needs the trucking industry’s support
Sitting idly by is not an option, the industry and its associations still need to come out publicly in support of the process and help the long term prospects for the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. Doing nothing may result in failure. As they say, ‘It ain’t over until the fat lady sings’.