Towards a new Heavy Vehicle National Law

We're working on behalf of transport ministers to deliver a new draft law for heavy vehicles in Australia. The goal is to simplify the law to enhance safety while delivering industry productivity and flexibility.

The draft law is expected to be presented to ministers in 2023.

Program phases

Heavy Vehicle National Law Review 2019 to 2021: understand and document what needs to change within the law.  HVNL Safety and Productivity Program 2021 to 2023: determine how we’ll change the law based on findings of the review. Draft law expected 2023.

The NTC is developing new policy positions and a draft law using insights gained from the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) Review. This will be based on:

  • extensive feedback from industry and governments
  • research into best practice.

The vision for a new HVNL

Transport ministers have tasked the NTC to progress the vision for the new law to:

  • be a modern law that provides a flexible, risk-based regulatory framework to ensure the safe and productive operation of heavy vehicles on Australian roads
  • empower industry and government to take advantage of future innovation and technology opportunities
  • maintain safety and increase benefits to the community, industry and governments.
     

About the HVNL Review

Ministers gave approval for the NTC to undertake the HVNL Review in 2018. The work started in 2019 and concluded in 2021. It involved comprehensive engagement with stakeholders and industry experts to understand and document: 

  • challenges and issues that prevent the current law from fully realising what it was designed to do
  • ideas and opportunities to improve the law 
  • options for how regulatory and non-regulatory improvements could enhance safety and productivity. 

We consulted industry, governments, regulators, police and the public on: 

  • seven issues papers exploring simplifying the law and improving safety and productivity
  • a consultation regulation impact statement that presented policy options. 

Learn more about the HVNL Review.
 

What we learned from the HVNL Review

Through extensive engagement and research, we learned that the HVNL is focused on the right goals but better outcomes could be achieved in key areas. Every submission made to the NTC about the current and future HVNL has helped shape policy direction in some way. 

Six areas were identified for improvement that now make up the HVNL Safety and Productivity Program:

  • operator certification scheme
  • technology and data
  • duties and driver health
  • fatigue management
  • vehicles and access
  • legislative approach.

HVNL Safety and Productivity Program

In May 2021, transport ministers concluded the HVNL Review and agreed on the scope for the HVNL Safety and Productivity Program.  

Our focus changed from looking at what needs to change in the law, to determining how a new law and system will work. The result will be a new draft law and supporting instruments, such as regulations and guidelines. 

Our priority in moving this work forward is making sure industry and government continue to be included in the process. Your input helps us to understand the practical impacts of applying policy ideas. 

By combining research and engagement from many sources we’ll be best placed to prepare detailed advice, and a draft law, for ministers.

Learn more about the HVNL Safety and Productivity Program and how to get involved.
 

Expert advice

Our formal and informal consulting arrangements have us regularly speaking with: 

  • industry representatives
  • subject matter experts
  • government authorities and agencies
  • the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. 

These conversations contribute to high-level strategy for the law, as well as detailed policy direction.