‘One-stop shop’ for truckies planned

Published on 13 December 2013

Changes are coming to the way heavy vehicles use the roads in Loddon Shire and those changes mean a greater say for Council on who goes where.

Director Operations Ian McLauchlan submitted a report to Council’s December meeting on the proposed introduction early next year of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator Scheme, designed to establish Australia’s first national, independent regulator for all vehicles over 4.5 tonnes.

Based in Brisbane, the Regulator’s office will administer one set of laws for heavy vehicles and act as a one-stop shop for heavy road transporters’ relationship with government.

The planned starting date is 10 February 2014, once the new laws are in place in most of the states and territories.

At present, operators of B-doubles, over-mass and over-dimensional vehicles have to seek approval of their proposed routes through VicRoads after first gaining permission from Council, but this doubling up of applications has often been found to be inefficient and time-consuming.

Mr McLauchlan said the introduction of the new framework aimed to bring about consistent and uniform standards of heavy vehicle operation around the state.

“The main relevance for local government is the potential impact on the condition and safety of local road networks and the role Council plays in approving the routes,” Mr McLauchlan said.

“Controlling the movement of heavy vehicles through the Shire is key to Council’s ability to protect its road infrastructure, encourage economic prosperity and safeguard the amenity of residential areas.

“After 10 February, local Councils will be directly responsible for controlling these vehicles within their boundaries.”

Under the changes, operators will have to apply for approval of their routes direct to the Regulator, who will then check with Council.

“Council then has 28 days to say yes or no, or suggest an alternative,” Mr McLauchlan said.

“While this means operators no longer have to approach Council with their proposals, it also creates an additional workload for staff members who have to inspect roads and process requests.

“For this reason, the Municipal Association of Victoria is advising councils to consider pre-approving or gazetting as many local roads as possible so as to expedite the approval process.

“The MAV is also proposing that councils play a part in developing a regional freight network, to take in those roads councils consider suitable for freight vehicles.”