NatRoad asks Transport Ministers to run with Kanofski reforms

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The National Road Transport Association has asked a national meeting of Australian transport Ministers to re-start the stalled Heavy Vehicle National Law reform process by taking up a series of relatively quick and practical actions.

NatRoad CEO Warren Clark addressed the Infrastructure and Transport Ministers’ Meeting in Melbourne this morning and told them that the history of HVNL reform is “one of glacial pace and epic navel gazing”.

Mr Clark said NatRoad broadly supports the recommendations of the Kanofski Review because most are focused on changes that are achievable in the near term.

“Over the past four years, those charged with driving reform have lost sight of first principles and ignored easy wins to the point that they have lost industry confidence,” Mr Clark said.

“HVNL reform must be about improving access for heavy vehicles and thus boosting national productivity.

“HVNL should enhance safety through sensible, evidence-based changes to fatigue rules that scrap petty, prescriptive offences.

“If they are agreed to by all jurisdictions, the Kanofski Review’s recommendations represent a sensible consensus position from which to keep moving forward.”

Mr Clark told the Ministers road transport needed a national approach to access, using technology to map road freight routes.

“Operators should be able to lodge a notice of intention to use roads and bridges that have been pre-approved for specific classes of heavy vehicles.

“Reforming fatigue and enforcement will send the right message that improving safety and increasing productivity are urgent.”

Mr Clark said the current fatigue rules deter drivers from remaining in the industry and act against voluntary uptake of electronic work diaries.

“Nobody is defending drivers who deliberately break laws intended to stop dangerous or irresponsible behaviour,” Mr Clark said.

“The overriding principle here must be that punishment is in proportion to risk and petty offences like making a spelling mistake in a work diary should be subject to a formal warning system.