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 package of legislation and core regulations will be presented to ministers in July 2024.

Latest news

We have now published the Heavy Vehicle National Law High-Level Regulatory Framework Decision Regulation Impact Statement (D-RIS). 

The D-RIS, endorsed by Australia’s transport ministers, contains 14 recommendations that form the foundation of the future law that will deliver more effective, flexible regulation, support improvements to safety and productivity and streamline governance and administration.

A shorter explanatory document is also available. Reading this summary in conjunction with the D-RIS will help provide a better understanding of the proposed changes.  

The NTC is now in the final phase of developing a new simpler, more flexible national law for heavy vehicles. We want a law that is less prescriptive and easier to follow.

Next steps

Following the endorsement the D-RIS work has now commenced on preparing drafting instructions consistent with the recommendations in the D-RIS.

The NTC is also now undertaking additional regulation impact statement and policy development processes that will enable Ministers to consider and approve further policy changes to the HVNL, including those that will be implemented through regulations and subordinate instruments.

Public consultation on this RIS is expected to commence between October and November 2023.

This two-stage process will ensure that industry is able to be consulted on and provide input to the development of the future HVNL and regulations as a whole.

Package of reforms

Industry and governments worked together to achieve broad support for a package of reforms that tackle the issues that are getting in the way of heavy vehicle safety and productivity. The package was approved by Ministers in August 2022.

The reforms have two parts:

Part 1 - Reforms to be covered by a new law.
Part 2 - Reforms that will sit outside the new law.

The new law to be developed by the NTC will streamline fatigue management, enable a risk based regulatory approach and reduce administrative burden while improving safety outcomes for industry and community. Non-legislative reforms, currently being progressed by nominated state and territory governments and lead transport agencies, include a new national system to automate approvals for heavy vehicle access.

The new HVNL

The new law will:

  • 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 productivity.

Proposed features of the new law

A simpler more flexible law

The new law will be simpler. It will give flexibility for operators wanting to innovate, and certainty for operators wanting simplicity.

More flexible regulatory framework

Moving prescriptive obligations for parties down the legislative chain, so that the law can adapt quickly to changing needs and takes an outcomes-driven approach.

Improve road network access

Ensuring the law supports improvements to road network access systems and processes, including an online access system that automates access decision-making.

Fatigue management

Simplified fatigue management and record-keeping without compromising on safety. A risk based regulatory approach that provides industry with clarity of their obligations and fairness in enforcement.

Duties and driver health

Clarifying the primary duty and parties covered by the chain of responsibility.

Strengthening laws to prevent drivers not fit for work from getting behind the wheel.

Codes of Practice

A more, flexible and responsive Code of Practice mechanism to enable the Regulator to guide industry on how to meet the primary duty and other obligations under the law.

Better operator certification

A more comprehensive operator certification scheme that can be expanded over time and provide flexibility for certified operators. A new national auditing standard, with measures to reduce the need for multiple audits.

Technology and data

An adaptable technology and data framework to foster smarter technology investment that encourages innovation, enables uptake of emerging technology and provides industry with certainty through a certification mechanism.

More information

If you'd like to express interest in the program, or ask us a question about our work, we'd like to hear from you.

Contact us

Project manager Don Hogben
Contact email