The Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) has finally commenced in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australia Capital Territory (ACT), marking a historic milestone for the road transport sector in Australia.
The new rule book will be overseen by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), which opened for business just over one year ago, initially managing the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) and Performance-Based Standards (PBS) design and vehicle approvals.
According to NVHR CEO Richard Hancock, the roll-out of the HVNL national rule book has effectively replaced up to six different sets of legislation, and is a significant step in their evolution as a one-stop-shop for heavy vehicle road transport business with the government.
Mr Hancock observed that the new system of ‘one rule book under one regulator’ will allow them to offer a much broader range of services previously delivered by state road authorities and the ACT Government.
Mr Hancock appreciated the continued support of the heavy vehicle industry in this endeavour.
Mr Hancock adds that operators will henceforth see streamlined and practical operations and regulation for heavy vehicle access, fatigue management and vehicle inspection standards, as well as more consistent on-road compliance and enforcement outcomes.
The NHVR will continue to manage NHVAS and PBS, but is now responsible for heavy vehicle access permit applications (including access applications for PBS-approved vehicles); heavy vehicle standards modifications and exemption permits; an updated and improved national driver work diary; a new risk classification system for advanced fatigue management; one set of national notices; one set of national fees for NHVR services; and one set of national penalties.
The NHVR has been working closely with state and territory road transport authorities, local government and police agencies to support them with their preparations for the new national law.
Even with the commencement of the new rule book, some aspects of heavy vehicle regulation will still stay the same: For heavy vehicle registration and licensing laws, road rules, pilot and escorts, and laws about the carriage of dangerous goods, operators should still deal with the relevant state or ACT Government department; state and territory police and authorised officers employed by states and the ACT will continue to enforce heavy vehicle offences under the new national law; legal and court processes will largely remain as they are; and all existing approved vehicle examiner schemes will continue to be managed by each road transport authority.
Jurisdictional commencement of the HVNL
The ACT will not commence the fatigue, IAP, speeding or NHVAS provisions of the HVNL at this time.
Tasmania will not commence the fatigue provisions of the HVNL at this time.
The Northern Territory (NT) and Western Australia (WA) will not commence the new national law at this time.