ALC urges Prime Minister to maintain reform momentum

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) wrote to the Prime Minister, copied to all Premiers and Chief Ministers, urging the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) to maintain momentum on national reforms to heavy vehicles and for the COAG Reform Council to play a greater role in overseeing the reform.

“ALC has long held the position that there should be a single national regulator administering one rule book for all heavy vehicles in Australia, which is a fundamental point of the ALC Policy on National Transport Legislation,” said anaging Director, Michael Kilgariff.

“The drive to establish a single national law for heavy vehicles, overseen by a single regulator, must be maintained, otherwise the potential economic benefits from this historic reform will be lost.

“ALC is seeking COAG support for a renewal of the Intergovernmental Agreement on heavy vehicle regulatory reform to ensure the next stage of this work can proceed, and so the benefits of this reform can start flowing to all Australians who rely on the efficient and safe transport of goods to supermarket shelves.

“Industry’s support for this important economic reform is based on the long held view that a single national regulator responsible for administering a consistent national law is needed to maximise the potential gains for the Australian economy. The freight logistics industry is committed to seeing this critical microeconomic reform delivered, but we are equally determined to see a system put in place which delivers the intended economic benefits.”

In the letter, ALC calls for action on three critical areas, funding, national consistency and transparency, all of which are fundamental to improving productivity, efficiency and safety in the freight logistics industry.

“Firstly, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator must receive adequate funding in the form of transferred funds from the States,” said Kilgariff. “The budget and long term revenue stream for the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator remains unsettled which undermines the effectiveness of this new body.

“Secondly, there needs to be greater pressure exerted at the federal level to ensure we actually achieve a national regulatory framework, rather than a fragmented one which is currently the case. ALC is disappointed at the number of state based inconsistencies currently in place, such as in NSW, and notes the Northern Territory has withdrawn from the scheme entirely, joining Western Australia on the sidelines.

“Thirdly, there needs to be greater transparency in relation to the funding of the new regulator, given industry is to provide the bulk of funds for this scheme on a cost recovery basis. ALC is calling for the service level agreements between the regulator and the states to be publicly available, only then will industry have the confidence that the Heavy Vehicle National Law is being administered in an efficient manner.”

In addition to requesting a renewal of the IGA for a further two years, ALC has also suggested that the COAG Reform Council undertakes a comprehensive review of the operation of the National Law after twelve months.

“ALC has always said that the opening of the doors of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is the start of the journey to achieve greater national consistency, not the end of the process,” said Kilgariff.

“This review would help to identify areas where there are deficiencies in the process and where governments and industry need to work together to address them to maximise the economic benefits of this reform.”

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