About NTC / News / E-Newsletter / December 2016

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NTC news December 2016

In this edition:

Reform implementation report examines status of national transport reforms 
NTC releases a roadmap of reform for automated vehicle regulation

Have your say on automated vehicle trial guidelines in Australia
Provide feedback into the possible options for increasing the volume of heavy vehicles
Tell us what you think about the Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme
New rules to help businesses transport dangerous goods safely
Take a look at the proposed identification labels for alternative powered vehicles
Road safety outcomes central to the new Executive Officer liability reforms approved last month
New rail safety workers standard released
New partnership between the Alertness CRC and NTC designed to examine heavy vehicle driver fatigue
Heavy vehicle charges to remain on hold until mid-2018
NTC 2015–16 annual report now available 
NTC Christmas closure

Reform implementation report examines status of national transport reforms

The NTC this week released the annual National Transport Reform Implementation Report which provides an independent assessment on how well nationally agreed transport reforms are being implemented.

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NTC releases a roadmap of reform for automated vehicle regulation

Ministers at the 4 November 2016 Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting agreed to a series of reform initiatives over the next 24 months designed to facilitate increased testing and trialling of automated vehicles and prepare for their safe deployment on public roads in the future.

These initiatives are outlined in a policy paper titled Regulatory reforms for automated road vehicles, released by the NTC on Friday, 11 November 2016.

The phased reform program has been based on the analysis of market trends so that conditionally automated (level 3) vehicles can operate safely and legally on our roads before 2020, and highly and fully automated vehicles from 2020.

Initiatives to commence over coming months include:

  • developing national guidelines to support automated vehicle trials
  • clarifying who is in control of a vehicle with different levels of driving automation
  • developing a comprehensive performance-based safety assurance regime for increasingly automated vehicles
  • removing regulatory barriers in Australian Road Rules and other transport laws that assume a human driver.

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Have your say on automated vehicle trial guidelines in Australia

The NTC has released a discussion paper, National guidelines for automated vehicle trials, calling for input into the key elements needed to support automated vehicle trials.

The paper proposes key criteria for inclusion in the guidelines and identifies key issues for supporting trials based on other Australian and international frameworks.

Ministers endorsed the development of national guidelines for automated vehicle trials in November, as part of the NTC report, Regulatory reforms for automated road vehicles policy paper.

Submissions can be made until 5pm Monday, 16 January 2017.

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Provide feedback into the possible options for increasing the volume of heavy vehicles

Transport industry, governments and interested members of the public are invited to provide further public comment about possible ways to increase the volume of some heavy vehicles to increase their productivity.

The NTC last month released a new discussion paper which outlines six possible options – five that would allow longer heavy vehicles to access more roads and one that allows higher heavy vehicles to access more roads.

The options consider which heavy vehicle types are best suited to increases in volume limits, practical mechanisms for increasing the load capacity and any implications for road network access.

Submissions can be made until 5pm Friday, 3 February 2017 via the NTC website.

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Tell us what you think about the Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme

The NTC is seeking feedback from industry about the effectiveness of the PBS scheme and its operating marketplace.

You can have your say about the scheme by completing the PBS marketplace survey.

The survey is designed to get feedback from across industry, including PBS assessors and certifiers, heavy vehicle manufacturers and freight operators.

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New rules to help businesses transport dangerous goods safely

The NTC is encouraging industry and business owners to prepare for the launch of edition 7.5 of the Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail, which will come into effect on Wednesday, 1 March 2017.

Amendments include increasing the placard limit from one to two tonnes for all limited quantities and introducing simpler documentation for household and personal care substances.

The NTC works closely with key industry and government stakeholders to review the Australian Dangerous Goods Code every two years as part of an ongoing strategy to align domestic land transport requirements with the United Nations’ recommendations for the safe transport of dangerous goods.

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Take a look at the proposed identification labels for alternative powered vehicles

Interested parties are invited to make submissions on amendments to the light and heavy vehicle standards, which include new provisions for identifying hydrogen and electric powered vehicles.

The amendments would require identification labels to be visible on the front and rear number plates of hydrogen and electric powered vehicles built after 1 January 2019.

The proposed amendments are part of a review of The Australian Light Vehicle Standards Rules 2015 and the Heavy Vehicle (Vehicle Standards) National Regulation.

Submissions can be made until 4pm on Friday, 3 February 2017.

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Road safety outcomes central to the new Executive Officer liability reforms approved last month

National laws for trucks and other heavy vehicles will be reformed to ensure company executives increasingly take steps to ensure safety.

Transport ministers approved the NTC’s recommendation for this second phase of executive officer liability reforms at the Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting in November.

These latest reforms will amend the HVNL to extend the positive ‘due diligence’ obligation to cover all offences executive officers currently have liability for under the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

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New rail safety workers standard released

Transport ministers approved the revised National Standard for Health Assessment of Rail Safety Workers at the Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting on 4 November 2016.

The revised standard will come into effect on Wednesday, 1 February 2017.

The standard provides rail operators with a robust system for monitoring and assessing the health of its workers, and responding if needed, to help maintain a safe rail system.

Minor changes to the medical criteria align the revised standard more closely with the recently updated Assessing Fitness to Drive guidelines.

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New partnership between the Alertness CRC and NTC designed to examine heavy vehicle driver fatigue

In a first for the Australian heavy industry, a new partnership between the Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity (Alertness CRC) and the National Transport Commission (NTC), will, through a combination of rigorous field and laboratory-based research, evaluate the impacts of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) on heavy vehicle driver fatigue.

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Heavy vehicle charges to remain on hold until mid-2018

Heavy vehicle operators will see no increase in registration and road user (fuel) charges in 2017–18, after transport ministers agreed to continue the ‘freeze revenue’ approach originally agreed by them in November 2015.

The decision by ministers attending the 4 November 2016 Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting means that heavy vehicle operators will experience small reductions in heavy vehicle charges while governments retain their capacity to build and maintain roads.

The approved heavy vehicle charges will apply from 1 July 2017 for 12 months.

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NTC 2015–16 annual report now available

The NTC has released its annual report 2015–16, formally reporting its performance and achievements for the past financial year. The report was tabled in parliament on 19 October.

Some of the highlights for the 2015–16 year included:

  • identifying the main regulatory barriers for automated vehicles and developing a roadmap for legislative reform
  • starting a project that investigates the way heavy vehicle charges are calculated with the aim of improving the PAYGO methodology
  • progressing reforms of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) including the responsibilities of executive officers and reviewing investigative and enforcement powers within the HVNL
  • starting the Who Moves What Where project to identify and address gaps in knowledge about Australia’s transport sector.

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NTC Christmas closure

The NTC office will be closed from 12pm Friday, 23 December 2016 until Tuesday, 3 January 2017.

We would like to extend our thanks and best wishes to you all during the Christmas and New Year period.

If you are interested in our upcoming consultation schedule, please see the NTC indicative stakeholder engagement schedule.

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