What ALRTA wants from the NHVR – the big picture

(Extract from meeting notes)

Specialist agency, totally focused on issues facing our industry 

  • The transport industry supports the NHVR, because it will be a specialist agency that will be totally focused on the safety and productivity issues facing our industry.
    • We want a specialist agency: one that really understands how our industry works; our culture and our people; and the issues facing us. We want an agency that can bring real expertise to trucking issues.
    • ‘Regulating trucks’ requires a unique blend of leadership, occupational safety, road safety, legal, economic, engineering and technical skills.
    • We see a single specialist regulator as the only realistic way of putting together enough of those scarce skills to make a difference, and giving us an expert and highly accountable government agency to work with us.
    • Rail transport, air transport and maritime transport all have specialist regulators. The other transport industries now have a Board of senior national leaders, a top-level CEO, and expert staff, totally focused on their issues. We don’t want trucking to miss out.

This is not the same as all those other ‘COAG’ or ‘Commonwealth-State’ reforms  

  • The NHVR is about giving our members, and the community, the expert regulatory service that the modern trucking industry deserves and needs.
  • This isn’t any kind of ‘Commonwealth takeover’.
    • The States are ‘pooling’ their legal powers and empowering Queensland to create an expert regulator to work with our industry in every State.
    • The Commonwealth has agreed to repeal its own road transport laws that intrude on the States as part of this reform (the Interstate Road Transport Act 1985)
  • Every public servant who writes briefing notes on this subject will emphasise the ‘COAG’ element. They are focused on what it means to them, and not what it means to industry.
    • Public servants will struggle to see the outcome that industry wants.They are trapped in the process.
    • This isn’t about any more power for Canberra. It’s about a better deal for our industry, and a better result for the community and the economy.

Public safety and the economy both require a specialist regulator 

  • The trucking industry is focused on improving our safety performance. It is our most important challenge. We need an excellent, specialist regulator to work with us.
    • On many safety issues, the best people in industry are actually ahead of the skills and knowledge found in many of the current government agencies.
    • We need an excellent, expert regulator to work with us – or our industry’s efforts to improve safety will actually be held back!
  • The national interest demands greater productivity in trucking.
    • Australia uses three-times as much freight to produce a single dollar of GDP, than is the average across the Western world. We are a freight-intensive economy.
    • Productivity in trucking has been stalling in the last few years, and only a specialist agency can be held properly accountable for making improvements.
    • We need Queensland to give us a specialist agency, so that both of us – government and industry – can ensure that the new senior management are focused on results and on achieving better productivity, in each State and nationwide.

Road Agencies are no longer suitable 

  • The road transport industry has traditionally been regulated by Road Agencies. That’s no longer suitable to meet our industry’s needs.
    • Road Agencies can never give sustained, top-level leadership attention to trucking. Not one single Road Agency currently allocates a full-time Deputy-CEO level role to trucking issues.
    • Road Agencies can never afford to allocate enough high-level staff with the specialised professional skills that are needed to be a truly effective, expert trucking regulator; one that’s suitable to work with the modern trucking industry.
    • The efficient way to achieve specialisation is to split off these skills, and create a single, shared regulator that works for industry and all the States together.

There is (still) a huge role for State competition 

  • Each State will still compete, and will continue to play a huge role in improving productivity, via their decisions on: how to allow their infrastructure to be used; and on the quality and capacity of road infrastructure they choose to build.
    • The national regulator will need individual State’s agreement to put new types of truck onto the road.
  • But industry will have an expert, specialist regulator working with us, and with each State, to figure out what’s possible. That’s much better than having to do the analysis and persuasion on our own.

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