2021 saw the reform process become derailed by the publication by the National Transport Commission of the review findings into the Heavy Vehicle National Law disaster, which met with nationwide opposition and were subsequently dropped.
“The word ‘circus’ conjures up images of colourful clowns, trapeze artists and popcorn,” said an Australian Trucking Association, at the time. “However, to the trucking industry, the word ‘circus’ is what they’re using to describe the National Transport Commission’s review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law.”
The review had dragged on since 2018 and there is still no end in sight. Many interested parties have made submission after submission and yet there’s been no movement at all.
The ATA could easily just sit on the sidelines and complain about the situation. However, it has decided to take action and introduce a circuit breaker.
The ATA has come up with an alternative draft law, after the Heavy Vehicle National Law disaster, which was presented to both government and the industry before the ATA Conference. Michael Deegan, the recently appointed ATA CEO came to the lectern to take questions on the proposal.
This proposed policy is called the Road Transport Act, which would replace the Heavy Vehicle National Law.
“This is a fundamental policy reset for the industry,” said Michael. “We heard before, about, how the government and the community should be educated about transport, and these are some proposals about how they might work.
“The ATA board and the council have agreed that we’ll get on the front foot, get off the back foot and start hitting this ball over the boundary. What’s been fascinating for us generally and for the ATA Board has been the incredible level of interest from the public sector in what the ATA has proposed.
“The NTC have come to us and said, ‘thank God, you’ve saved the debate’. They’re frustrated with the jurisdictions, the jurisdictions are frustrated with the NTC and we’re frustrated with the NTC. The jurisdictions are just going round in circles. The other part, the magic part of this has been the enormous support from all sectors of the industry. All of the ATA member associations, all of their suppliers, customers and others saying it is time that we changed this.”