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Submissions

NatRoad is your voice to government and regulators

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Submissions


2021


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NatRoad’s role includes making formal submissions to various government bodies on a wide range of policy issues affecting the road freight industry, with the aim of improving the business environment for our members and the industry in general.


 

Submitted to: Treasury

Date submitted: 20 September 2021

Summary: The Bill’s objectives are on point and supported. It is designed to reduce the frequency of use of unfair terms in standard form contracts. That will help small transport businesses entering into standard agreements with larger, more powerful customers and contractors. The draft legislation has been prepared for comment following detailed consultation last year when NatRoad made extensive submissions.

Commonwealth, state and territory consumer affairs Ministers then agreed to pursue a number of reforms, having found unfair contract terms to be used all too often in small business contracts. The Bill is based on the Ministers’ agreed reforms.

One of the reforms sought by NatRoad is present in the draft Bill: prohibiting the use, application and reliance on an unfair term. When you combine this reform with the ability of courts to impose a financial penalty for a contravention, the legislation is a step forward.

At the moment an unfair contract term can be considered “fair” in one context even though it was held by a court to be unfair in another contract. This issue is addressed with the law saying that a term is unfair if a court has already found a similar term used in similar circumstances is unfair, although evidence can be given to show why that prior ruling should be set aside i.e. the new law introduces what is known as a “rebuttable presumption” that the first finding of unfairness continues.

The draft law would also increase the eligibility of businesses covered by the protections by expanding the coverage from businesses that employ fewer than 20 employees to those which employ fewer than 100 employees. It also introduces an annual turnover threshold of less than $10 million instead of using staff size to determine eligibility. We support extending the reach of the law.

Whilst NatRoad supports the Bill more reform is needed, particularly in relation to protection of small businesses against unfair payment terms clauses. We also want to see the need to go to court on all matters relating to unfair contracts dropped and for the ACCC as regulator to be given more power.
Despite these issues concerning more reform, we submit that the changes proposed in the draft law should be enacted as soon as possible.

Outcome: Awaited

Document: Submission – Unfair Contract Term Protections: Exposure Draft Bill

Submitted to: The National Transport Commission

Date submitted: 24 August 2021

Summary:

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) is pleased to respond to the National Transport Commission’s (NTC) consultation regulation impact statement relating to proposed heavy vehicle charges from 2022-23 (CRIS).

NatRoad strongly believes that road charging reform must take into account all road users and provide a better, more equitable system for paying for the costs of road construction.

Until the Heavy Vehicle Road Reform (HVRR) process is implemented, we support a fixed price increase of a 3.5% or CPI increase (whichever is lower) for heavy vehicle charges that provides cost certainty and better equity to the heavy vehicle industry.

Our industry has suffered from the impact of bush fires, floods and now COVID-19, as acknowledged by Transport Ministers. These events and difficult industry conditions have constrained the industry’s ability to cope with increased costs, inclusive of government charges.

In simple terms, the PAYGO model for heavy vehicle charges is broken. It should not be used other than as a 2021-22 baseline on which to calculate future HV charges.

It assumes that all Australia’s roads are sealed when the majority are not. It operates to include all costs incurred in one year in the next year’s charges. Capital and current costs are not separated.

And it results in payments flowing to States and Territories that do not take into account the real cost recovery need for road construction and maintenance as that is related to heavy vehicle usage.

A new model is needed to underpin the HVRR process. In the meantime, a fixed price increase is a better outcome than PAYGO or alternative models.

Outcome: Awaited

Document: Submission – Heavy Vehicle Charges determination: consultation regulation impact statement

Submitted to: Submission to Transport for NSW

Date submitted: 29 July 2021

Summary: This submission provides comments on draft Regulations proposed as a substitute for current regulations that operate as subordinate legislation pursuant to the Road Transport Act 2013,(NSW).

The submission considers that the RIS is insufficiently robust, that proper evidence on which to
examine the provisions of the proposed new regulatory regime has not been gathered and that
further work on the rationale and basis for the Proposed Regulation needs to be undertaken.

This is especially the case having regard to the Productivity Commission’s finding that NSW has more derogations from the Heavy Vehicle National Law than any other jurisdiction and that each derogation should be removed unless justified on the basis of safety. That exercise should have been undertaken but has not been attempted. On that basis NatRoad recommends that the Proposed Regulation not proceed until a better evidentiary base for all of its provisions has been prepared.

Outcome: Awaited

Document: Submission – NSW Speed Camera Inquiry

Submitted to: Submission to Transport for NSW

Date submitted: 29 July 2021

Summary: This submission provides comments on draft Regulations proposed as a substitute for current regulations that operate as subordinate legislation pursuant to the Road Transport Act 2013,(NSW).

The submission considers that the RIS is insufficiently robust, that proper evidence on which to
examine the provisions of the proposed new regulatory regime has not been gathered and that
further work on the rationale and basis for the Proposed Regulation needs to be undertaken.

This is especially the case having regard to the Productivity Commission’s finding that NSW has more derogations from the Heavy Vehicle National Law than any other jurisdiction and that each derogation should be removed unless justified on the basis of safety. That exercise should have been undertaken but has not been attempted. On that basis NatRoad recommends that the Proposed Regulation not proceed until a better evidentiary base for all of its provisions has been prepared.

Outcome: Awaited

Document: Submission – NSW Speed Camera Inquiry

Submitted to: NSW Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety

Date submitted: 8 July 2021

Summary: This submission reinforces that education of drivers must be a key component of enforcement of speeding laws. Because of this essential element of enforcement, NatRoad opposes the removal of warning signs where mobile speed cameras are placed.

In essence, every enforcement camera tackling speed in NSW must have a warning sign to remind all drivers to do the right thing and check their speed.

NatRoad calls for consistent and better signage for all speeding warnings. This step is vital for heavy vehicle drivers in NSW which has significant roads applying a lower speed limit for trucks, such as the notorious Mount Ousley descent near Wollongong. Variable speed limits can lead to inadvertent non-compliance where signage isn’t at key decision points or is inadequate in warning heavy vehicles of a different speed limit applying to them when compared with light vehicles.
NatRoad also calls on the NSW Government to separate data on heavy vehicle and light vehicle enforcement numbers. Measuring the effects of mobile and other speed detection devices should be undertaken using data that is specific to the heavy vehicle industry.

NatRoad also reinforces that reducing speed is not a silver bullet for road safety but must be accompanied by other improvements such as improvements in infrastructure.

If speed cameras are to be deployed, mobile speed cameras should be placed at the lead up to sharp corners, especially where evidence shows they are ‘black spots’. Making necessary infrastructure adjustments, particularly where off-camber incidents are prevalent, should be a high priority for governments.

Outcome: Awaited

Document: Submission – NSW Speed Camera Inquiry

Submitted to: Victorian Department of Transport

Date submitted: 8 July 2021

Summary: This submission provides comments on draft Regulations proposed as a substitute for current regulations that operate as subordinate legislation pursuant to the Road Safety Act, 1986 (Vic).

NatRoad supports most of the provisions of the Regulations whilst having concerns about the basis on which fees are to be applied regarding registration functions (i.e. using out-of-date data). We commend the move to an activity based costing model. That model should disaggregate the heavy vehicle sector and fees should be better tailored to reflect costs incurred on behalf of the heavy vehicle sector. Until that model is in place fees for heavy vehicle registration related administration in particular should not be increased.

As the draft Regulations affect the heavy vehicle sector concerning the administration of vehicle registration in Victoria, NatRoad seeks changes to the primary production registration concession in Victoria, discussed in detail, inclusive of the introduction of farm registration plates. This is a pressing issue for members and is therefore given priority in NatRoad’s analysis of omissions from the draft Regulations.

Outcome: Awaited

Document: Submission – VIC Regulation

Submitted to: Transport and Customer Service Committee, NSW Legislative Council

Date submitted: 23 May 2021

Summary: The road transport industry is extremely competitive with a large number of small operators with poor profitability. The average net profit (after tax) margin has fallen to about 3%, increasing pressure on many owners when it comes to modernising their equipment. Tolls are one element of costs over which road transport operators have no control, and their burden has been increasing over the last three to five years. There is a lack of transparency and fairness in tolling for heavy vehicles.

Outcome: Awaited

Document: Submission – Inquiry into Road Tolling Regimes

Submitted to: National Heavy Vehicle Regulator

Date submitted: 30 April 2021

Summary: This submission provides NatRoad’s response to the Draft Heavy Vehicle Safety Strategy 2021-25

Outcome: Awaited

Document: NatRoad Submission: Draft Heavy Vehicle Safety Strategy 2021-25

Submitted to: Office of Road Safety

Date submitted: 23 March 2021

Summary: This submission responds to the Consultation Draft of the National Road Safety Strategy 2021-30

Outcome: Awaited

Document: NatRoad Submission – 2021 National Road Safety Strategy

Submitted to: National Transport Commission

Date submitted: 12 March 2021

Summary: The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) is pleased to make comments on the Heavy vehicle charges consultation report1 (Consultation Report) released by the National Transport Commission (NTC) in January 2021.

Outcome: Awaited

Document: NatRoad Submission: NTC Paper – HV Charges Consultation Report 2021

Submitted to: National Transport Commission

Date submitted: 1 March 2021

Summary: This submission seeks to reform the myriad State and Territory requirements about notification of operators about driver offences. NatRoad would like the Queensland model adopted Australia wide.

Outcome: Awaited

Document: NatRoad Submission – Driver Offence Notification Systems

Submitted to: Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

Date submitted: 24 February 2021

Summary: A submission opposing mandating Euro VI unless a range of concessions are developed with respect to width, length and axle weight maxima.  Market mechanisms are acting to introduce Euro VI technology to the Australian market.

Outcome: Awaited

Document: NatRoad Submission-2020 Vehicle Emission Standards and moving to Euro VI Response to RIS

Submitted to: Level 5 Design on behalf of Austroads

Date submitted: 17 February 2021

Summary: The 1994 vehicle classification system is under review and the consultant engaged to undertake the review sought input from NatRoad.

Outcome: Awaited

Document: NatRoad Submission – Level 5 Design on Behalf of Austroads – Vehicle classification

Submitted to: Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee Inquiry

Date submitted: 5 February 2021

Summary: This submission supports the small steps represented by the Bill towards workplace reform. The critical element of the Bill is the clarification of the status of a casual employee which is currently the subject of uncertainty caused by court decisions that do not represent practical means to facilitate casual engagement.

Outcome: Awaited

Document: Submission – Senate Cttee – Omnibus Bill