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.

Developing the new law

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

Transport ministers have tasked the NTC with developing a Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (D-RIS) on the legislative changes for consideration by transport ministers in the second quarter of 2023.

Ministers have also asked Mr Ken Kanofski to lead major stakeholder consultation activities for developing the new law, building on the engagement with industry and governments over the course of 2022.

A Steering Committee of some of Australia’s most senior transport officials has been established to ensure the new law delivers on the recommendations made by Mr Kanofski, and that the non-legislative reforms are developed and implemented promptly.

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, which will be progressed by nominated state or territory governments and lead transport agencies, include a new national system to automate approvals for heavy vehicle access.

The reform package is set out in Mr Kanofski’s report to Transport Ministers.

The package is in line with the NTC’s HVNL Safety and Productivity program and HVNL Review.

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.

Listening to stakeholders

The NTC will develop the draft law using insights gained from industry engagement undertaken by Mr Kanofski in 2022 and the NTC’s Heavy Vehicle National Law Review and Safety and Productivity Program.

The draft law will be based on:

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

Mr Kanofski and the NTC will continue engaging with industry and government as the new law and its regulations are written.

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 Aaron de Rozario