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Concerns about new Australian heavy vehicle law

February 13 - Australia's National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is working closely with the industry to address concerns about the length of time it is currently taking to issue permits for heavy haulage operators.

The new national law for heavy vehicles, which is intended to ensure safety for all road users and also protection of important council infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, came into effect on February 10, 2014.

The law requires the NHVR to secure council approval for heavy vehicle travel on local government roads, before the permit can be issued for an entire journey.

Due to concerns, the NHVR has introduced temporary changes to its standard process for issuing access permits.

NHVR's ceo, Richard Hancock, said that the regulator recognises that even a day's delay can have an impact on certain sectors of the heavy vehicle industry, particularly heavy haulage operators who often require permits within hours.

"Effective from midnight, Thursday 13th February, we will now allow operators to obtain approval to travel on the council road network directly from the councils concerned," explained Hancock.

"Operators will still have to secure all other approvals from electricity companies, rail authorities and other third parties as part of their application before their permit can be issued."

The industry seems to be divided on the issue, with the Australian Trucking Association welcoming the new heavy vehicle law but other groups, such as the Transport Workers' Union suggesting that the regulator's implementations will not address the economic pressures on drivers.

NHVR states that this is just a "transitional measure" for the early days of the law's operation, and the regulator will continue to monitor the situation and respond to industry feedback.

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