Opinion

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting

waiting, waiting, waiting

All of that time wasted sitting in trucks, in queues at distribution centres, at port gates, or in the never-ending roadwork queues, which the road transport industry has to put up with day and day out, has not been wasted, we are used to waiting, waiting, waiting. It may have prepared our industry for the long wait for some rational legislation around our industry to emerge.

It was back in 2014, that it became clear that they Heavy Vehicle National Law that existed at the time was not fit for purpose. The launch of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator had nearly failed completely in its first few weeks, only to be saved at the last moment by a major change in direction and personnel.

The fatigue management regime was proving to be an issue, where there was not enough flexibility within the rules to make the practical scheduling of trucks a possibility. At the same time, it was being too rigid in other areas of concern to those looking at the fatigue issue.

There was growing tension between the trucking industry representatives and the National Transport Commission clouding the issues, there was a series of impasses around regulations in a number of areas.

But the killer blow was when the government decided that they would go ahead with developing a new HVNL and we began the long consultation process with all sectors of the trucking industry, asked to contribute their thoughts and opinions to help the NTC develop an HVNL for the future. 

The industry jumped in and engaged with the process, in order to get the best possible result, only to be deeply disappointed when the first draft of the HVNL appeared a few years later. For the trucking industry to have gone through such a long consultation process in the lead up to the development of this draft law, and then to find that hardly any notice had been taken of what the trucking industry had said was extremely disappointing, at the least.

Equally disappointing is the fact that we are still going through that process, which started over 10 years ago to develop a HVNL, and we don’t seem to be any further down the track, we have no clear idea as to when any form of draft legislation may appear and very little confidence that when it does appear, it will be much better than the previous iteration, which was so roundly condemned on all sides.

Luckily for the government, the trucking industry is one which is used to waiting for a long time and all of the dramas which our trucking businesses have to suffer through on a day-to-day basis. This ongoing waiting game has probably prepared us for the extremely long wait for a law which is fit-for-purpose to legislate around our trucking industry.

 

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