About NTC / News / E-Newsletter / December 2015

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NTC news December 2015

In this edition:

New NTC projects to help Australia prepare for driverless vehicles and address strategic transport problems 
Implementation report shows how NTC reforms are improving Australia’s transport systems 
Improvements to Australia’s Chain of Responsibility laws to make roads safer 
Ministers approve next step to reduce the number of unroadworthy heavy vehicles on Australian roads 
NTC seeks further input on proposed changes to Assessing Fitness to Drive 
Heavy vehicle charges 
Proposed red tape cut for the land transport of limited quantities of dangerous goods 
Australian Light Vehicle Standards Rules 
Updates to the Australian Road Rules 
Amendments to the Rail Safety National Law 
NTC 2014-15 annual report now available

New NTC projects to help Australia prepare for driverless vehicles and address strategic transport problems

The NTC will embark on three new projects to address Australia’s current and emerging strategic transport challenges after business cases were approved by the Transport and Infrastructure Council.

NTC Chief Executive Paul Retter said Australia needed a productive transport network for a growing economy and these projects would help deliver the most efficient transport options our country needed.

This includes work to identify any legislative obstacles that might limit the uptake of automated vehicles in the future.

Read more

Implementation report shows how NTC reforms are improving Australia’s transport systems

A report released by the NTC shows that national reform projects are working to make a difference to the safety and productivity of Australia’s transport systems.

NTC Chief Executive Paul Retter said that the National Transport Reform Implementation Monitoring Report provided an independent assessment of implementation progress during 2014-2015 of the NTC’s nationally approved transport policy and regulatory reforms.

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Improvements to Australia’s Chain of Responsibility laws to make roads safer

Australia’s Chain of Responsibility laws will be restructured to improve road safety, give business more flexibility and to align with workplace health and safety laws, under reforms recently approved by the Transport and Infrastructure Council.

The changes will introduce a primary duty of care on all parties who can influence on road behaviour, including consignors, consignees, loaders, schedulers, transport operators, prime contractors, employers and their executives.

The laws will also be simplified by replacing prescriptive requirements with performance based obligations, allowing individual businesses to find the best way to comply based on the needs of their business, and by aligning with current workplace health and safety laws.

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Ministers approve next step to reduce the number of unroadworthy heavy vehicles on Australian roads

Amendments to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) aim to improve the roadworthiness of heavy vehicles and reduce the number of roadworthiness related crashes and breakdowns have been endorsed by the Transport and Infrastructure Council.
The HVNL changes are part of a series of recommendations designed to address four specific areas:

  •  National consistency
  •  Compliance
  •  Vehicle inspections, and
  •  Improvements to the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme.

These changes arose from work undertaken by the NTC and National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s joint heavy vehicle roadworthiness program.

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NTC seeks further input on proposed changes to Assessing Fitness to Drive

The NTC is seeking feedback on proposed updates to the Assessing Fitness to Drive  guidelines before public consultation closes on 8 January 2016.

Assessing Fitness to Drive contains the nationally agreed medical standards for the purposes of driver licencing.

The purpose of the consultation report is to encourage feedback from stakeholders on the proposed changes before final recommendations are considered by ministers in the middle of 2016.

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Heavy vehicle charges

At the November meeting, the Transport and Infrastructure Council decided to adopt new heavy vehicle charges from 1 July 2016 based on the ‘freeze revenue’ option presented to ministers. Revenue generated from registration charges and the fuel charge (known as the road user charge) will be held at 2015-16 levels for an initial two years from 1 July 2016. The Council also requested the NTC to do some further work to identify potential improvements to the charges methodology to better balance heavy vehicle charges and government revenues.

More information is available in the Transport and Infrastructure Council’s communique

Read more

Proposed red tape cut for the land transport of limited quantities of dangerous goods

Australian businesses that transport limited quantities of products classified as dangerous goods will fill in less paperwork in 12 months’ time as a result of the Council’s “in principle” endorsement of the policy recommendations proposed by the NTC.

The new policy, once implemented, will potentially result in a cut to red tape worth up to $33 million per year.

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Australian Light Vehicle Standards Rules

The Australian Vehicle Standards Rules are now to be known as the Australian Light Vehicles Standards Rules, following the removal of provisions relating to heavy vehicles which are now covered under the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

The change removes duplication of heavy vehicle standards in multiple legal instruments and ensures that there are equivalent legal instruments for light vehicle standards and heavy vehicle standards across each state and territory.

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Updates to the Australian Road Rules

Minor amendments have been made to the Australian Road Rules to improve clarity and reflect and legally recognise current community and driver behaviour.

There are some changes relating to motorcycles, cycling on footpaths for children and people with a medical condition, and their companions, as well as driver distraction (mobile phones and video displays).

The changes are expected to improve road safety, remove unnecessary burdens from road users, and give better effect to the intent of the rules.

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Amendments to the Rail Safety National Law

Amendments to the Rail Safety National Law and supporting regulations will improve the operation of the law by updating rail safety worker competency requirements, refining the powers of authorised officers to secure rolling stock when undertaking an investigation and clarifying the operation of provisions relating to offences and legal proceedings

Read more

NTC 2014-15 annual report now available

The NTC has released its annual report, formally reporting our performance and achievements for the past financial year. The report was tabled in parliament on 26 October.

Some of the highlights for the 2014-15 year included:

  • releasing the telematics framework, which sets the regulatory landscape for the heavy vehicle industry to adopt telematics into the future
  • completing the NTC’s work on the 7-axle truck and dog trailer project, which will allow operators to carry increased payloads that are up to 20 per cent heavier
  • significant progress on the complex chain of responsibility law reform,
  • developing reform options to improve heavy vehicle roadworthiness starting a review of the Load Restraint Guide, and
  • starting a project to improve the collection of fatigue data.

Read more

Keep up to date with the latest news on NTC projects at www.ntc.gov.au and follow us on twitter @NTC_AUS
Last Updated: 20/12/2016