Fresh amendments to the Heavy Vehicle National Law will likely include a risk-based approach to fatigue management, in a move that will further align the legislation with the national model WHS Act, the National Transport Commission has revealed.
The HVNL is currently under review by the NTC in an attempt to produce a simpler, modern, outcome-focussed law.
Among other things, the review will consider the benefits of increasing national consistency of heavy vehicle regulation, and the capacity of the law to accommodate new business models, digital technologies and data.
Last year, the HVNL was controversially amended to introduce a new primary duty, along with a fresh focus on executive officer liability and top-to-bottom safety management (see related article).
In August, NTC Chief Executive Paul Retter, said the new review of the HVNL would simplify the existing laws, and result in an entirely new “performance-based law that is fit for purpose”.
“The HVNL, in its current form, does not reflect best practice. We understand that it is onerous for industry and the regulator, falls short of being truly national and is overly prescriptive and complicated.”
As stated in the newly released terms of reference, the purpose of the review is to deliver a new HVNL that:
- improves safety for all road users
- supports increased economic productivity and innovation
- simplifies the HVNL, its administration and enforcement
- supports the use of new technologies and methods of operation, and
- providse flexible, outcome-focussed compliance options.
Retter said the proposed amendments were an acknowledgement that “one size doesn’t fit all across this vast country”.
“The performance-based approach to the HVNL, rather than a prescriptive approach, is designed to deliver streamlined legislation without compromising on safety.”
The review will likely be completed by the end of 2019, but the Commission says it will likely draft proposed amendments and provide recommendations before then.