Australian transport ministers have approved amendments to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) to allow greater access to the network for high volume vehicles.
Vehicles approved to level 1 of the Performance Based Standards (PBS) will be allowed general access to the road network if their gross mass is below 42.5 tonnes once the amendments are passed by the Queensland Parliament.
This follows ministerial endorsement of the NTC’s policy proposal at the May 2017 Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting paving the way for economy-wide benefits of up to $1 billion per annum.
Acting Chief Executive of the NTC Dr Geoff Allan said the transport ministers confirmed their support of the changes at the Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting in Hobart on Friday, 10 November 2017.
“The changes to the HVNL are fundamentally about boosting the productive capacity of Australia’s freight operators, whilst delivering better environmental and safety outcomes,” Dr Allan said.
“By allowing operators to deliver more, with fewer trucks, carrying larger, but not heavier, loads – all within the bounds of well-established safety standards – there are benefits for industry, the rural sector, the economy, and ultimately, all Australians.”
Dr Allan also emphasised that these reforms, as with any changes proposed by the commission, were developed on the basis that there would be no compromise to road safety.
“Road safety underpins everything we do, and this is a clear example of how Australia can be progressive in yielding better productivity outcomes yet still remain focused on improving road safety.”
Other work undertaken by the NTC has indicated PBS vehicles can deliver significant safety benefits, with analysis showing they are involved in 46% fewer crashes than conventional vehicles.