The National Road Transport Association is calling for the current Heavy Vehicle National Law (HNVL) reform process to be scrapped and re-started.
NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said the process that started in May 2018 is now directionless and unfocussed.
“Turn off the barbecue. It’s cooked. It’s not progressing the reform agenda in any meaningful way,” Mr Clark said.
“The National Transport Commission (NTC) is supposed to simplify the HVNL to improve productivity and safety – instead it’s fiddling with the operational details of fatigue management.”
Mr Clark said that the NTC’s latest round of consultation prior to an industry roundtable in Canberra next Monday has consisted of a flawed questionnaire, and a proposal to rearrange fatigue standard hours by slashing them by 17 percent.
“That fatigue schedule proposal was based on outdated evidence and would make many operations so uneconomical that half the country’s drivers would be put out of work,” Mr Clark said.
“We were given a week to respond.
“The questionnaire was not fit for purpose – it ignored the twin burdens of individual driver compliance costs and the enforcement penalties. The questions asked were not based on real world experience.”
Mr Clark said the latest failure of the process compounded the publication of a seriously flawed Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement last year that contained no genuine Cost Benefit Analysis.
“It is time for the Federal Minister and his State and Territory counterparts to step in, call a halt to the process and convene an expert reference panel to recommend changes to HVNL,” Mr Clark said.
“We need harmonised national laws that are based on evidence – not guestimates by bureaucrats and their consultants.”