News of the forum on Thursday morning at which the road transport agencies, the police forces and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator got together to nut out a plan for the future of compliance and roadside enforcement in Australia, couldn’t have come soon enough. The general feeling the trucking industry will express will be one of relief, someone is, finally, getting down to brass tacks.
The forum was convened by the NHVR in Brisbane, ostensibly, to set national priorities for heavy vehicle road safety. Hopefully, it will be more than this. It should be the beginning of the creation of a genuine and unequivocal national approach to dealing with the trucking industry, when it comes to compliance and enforcement.
This is simply what we were asking for all along, but the idea seemed to get completely lost in the fog of war, as the NHVR battled for its own survival and the state authorities stood by and let it happen. The reason everyone was seeking a genuinely national, and genuinely rational, heavy vehicle law and regulator was precisely to avoid these squabbles at an inter-governmental level, and consistency of both the style and content in the roadside enforcement truckies could expect to come across on a day-to-day basis.
Events like this forum should be an opportunity to bang a few heads together and get them to get with the program. The event is also an opportunity for the NHVR to show it does mean business, it is not going to go away, and the sooner the state authorities accept this, the better it will be for all of us.
The cause of the NHVR is aided by the kind of rhetoric it now engages in. No longer are there extravagant claims and demands. The new NHVR comes across as a competent and well informed body with a transparent plan and the full backing of the powers that be to implement a fully functioning national system for us all.
The comment by Paul Retter, CEO of the National Transport Commission, last month when talking to the Australian Logistics Forum, about not worrying because there are now ‘adults in the room’ hit the nail on the head. When the NHVR says something or introduces a new idea, there is an inevitability about now. The uncertainty has gone and now those involved in enforcement better sit up and listen to the adults.