NatRoad calls for comprehensive reforms for NSW freight policy

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The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has submitted a detailed response to future heavy vehicle transport in NSW.

Through the NSW Freight Policy Reform and the Draft NSW Heavy Vehicle Access Policy it has called for significant and critical reforms.

NatRoad’s submission underscores the need for a holistic approach to addressing the pressing challenges facing the road freight industry in that state, and more broadly.

“The freight industry stands at a pivotal watershed moment, where incremental changes are no longer enough, we need a comprehensive holistic approach, especially as we expect a 57.1 per cent increase in road freight requirements by 2040,” NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said.

“In addition, as an industry, there are two key goals that will be difficult to achieve unless governments provide the right policy settings. They are the Vision Zero Road Trauma by 2050 and Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050,” continued Clark.

“To begin, we do support the Draft NSW Heavy Vehicle Access Policy. The policy’s recognition of the importance of efficient goods movement, a shift towards vehicle performance, and the intent to enable access for more productive vehicles on new roads are all crucial steps forward. However, we do call for further industry consultation on specific proposals and greater transparency in route assessments.”

NatRoad, according to Clark, foremost wanted to see stronger end-to-end journey connectivity across state borders.

Therefore the development of the Automated Access Assessment Program (AAAP) to streamline access decision-making and approvals was necessary.

“In addition, the introduction of national road standards and a revised tolling system are critical to making road funding sustainable,” said Clark in the statement.

“Our input into the NSW independent toll review called for replacing the unjustified three times truck toll multiplier and establishing independent regulation of infrastructure user charges.

“Finally, we want to see the integration of freight needs into land use planning, particularly we believe the connectivity of distribution centres and provision of adequate rest areas are essential.“

A comprehensive framework for reforming the NSW road freight system was needed, according to Clark, as the current economic and regulatory environment posed significant challenges to industry viability, with many small trucking businesses struggling with rising costs and unfair tolls.

NatRoad’s submission outlines several recommendations that the NSW Government should adopt to facilitate these goals:

  • Improved Road Access: Enhancing road access for more productive heavy vehicles is crucial for boosting productivity, improving safety, and reducing emissions.
  • National Road Standards: Implementing national road standards will improve road funding effectiveness and ensure better road quality.
  • Fair Tolling System: Reducing the heavy vehicle toll road multiplier to restore fairness and enhance public benefit across Sydney’s road network.
  • Low Emissions Transition: Developing a cost-effective transition strategy to lower emissions, including abolishing stamp duty on new heavy vehicles.
  • Road Safety Authority: Establishing an independent Road Safety Authority for unbiased road safety advice.
  • Crash Investigations: Implementing independent no-fault heavy vehicle crash investigations to enhance crash understanding and prevention.
  • Workforce Development: Enhancing the quality of training and supporting workforce improvements to address the skills and driver shortage.
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