The Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) was introduced in Queensland in 2012 and has been adopted by Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania. In October 2018, the HVNL was reformed to more closely align with Work Health & Safety legislation including introducing a risk-based approach to managing transport activities. It also introduced positive safety duties on other parties who may influence the safe operation of heavy vehicles through their undertaking. Penalties for breaches of the HVNL were also made consistent with those under WHS laws.
Until 2018 the HVNL was administered by State-based road regulators which led to inconsistency in its interpretation and application across the various jurisdictions. This also resulted in the HVNL being onerous for the industry to comply with and difficult for the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to administer. Industry and heavy vehicle regulators have also recognised that the legislation is out of date, complex and prescriptive and does not reflect modern performance-based legislation as that contained in the WHS and OHS Acts.
In response to these issues, in December 2018 a full review of the HVNL was announced by the National Transport Commission (NTC). The review is taking a first-principles approach and is intended to move the legislation to a performance-based model incorporating WHS principles.
This is a critical safety initiative that will impact on the safety of over half a million workers in the transport sector and millions of road users and the AIHS has offered its support to the NTC to inform the process. As a result, Sue Bottrell, Safety Lawyer, AIHS Fellow, and Certified Chartered Generalist OHS Professional, Marissa Dreher, Safety Lawyer, and AIHS Director and Denise Zumpe AIHS Certified Generalist OHS Professional will represent the AIHS on 3 key working groups to inform the review. In the months ahead, as these working groups progress their work, members will be invited to have input.