NSW seeks review of national truck scheme

Wednesday 9 October 2013

NSW seeks review of national truck scheme

Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay today announced further moves by NSW to address the issue of national truck maintenance and compliance issues, particularly interstate registered trucks travelling in NSW.

Minister Gay said last week’s tragic crash on Sydney’s Mona Vale Road highlighted the need to look at the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme which was responsible for the Victorian registered truck involved and its roadworthiness.

“NSW has the largest, best equipped and most active heavy vehicle inspection capabilities in the country and we spend more on enforcement and compliance than any other state,” Minister Gay said.

“But we still contend with being the “through state” for the eastern seaboard of Australia for trucks from other jurisdictions – NSW carries 60 per cent of the national road freight task.

“We have the safest fleet in the country but we have trucks crossing our borders that do not have to be inspected annually in NSW.

“Under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme trucks are examined in the state where a company is accredited. An auditor checks that maintenance work has been done and that the company follows all the business rules for vehicle maintenance for the states they operate in.

“I have written to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator asking for a review of the effectiveness of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme which deals with the maintenance management of trucks enrolled in the scheme.

“I have sought from the National Regulator assurance any such review would focus on the effectiveness of the scheme.

“I need to know that vehicles under this scheme are being appropriately maintained to ensure compliance with safety standards, I need to ensure road safety for all road users.

“In addition I will take the matter to the next meeting of all states and territories at the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure known as SCOTI, which is chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.

“I want to make it very clear, NSW has the most comprehensive heavy vehicle inspection regime in Australia with the largest annual funding commitment of any state in the country.

“At more than $70 million dollars a year – the NSW program accounts for more than 50 per cent of the $130 million approximately spent nationally on heavy vehicle compliance and enforcement.

“NSW has more than 300 Vehicle Inspectors within Roads and Maritime Services alone – 285 of which work at the frontline on our roads and highways every day.

“Last financial year we inspected more than two million heavy vehicles, intercepted more than 206,000 heavy vehicles and identified more than 36,000 defects.

“Under new road safety laws introduced by the O’Farrell Government last year, trucks caught speeding at or above 115km/h are grounded.

“Despite Opposition claims, our Inspection Scheme in NSW is separate to the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme.

“It’s a disgrace Labor sought to make political mileage out of last week’s tragedy but I assure motorists our Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Inspection scheme allows only low risk vehicles like delivery vans to be inspected by government accredited examiners.

“These inspections apply to ‘low risk’ vehicles like table top trucks that deliver fruit and vegetables that must be registered in NSW and they free up our enforcement agencies to go after the rogue operators that flout public safety.

“The profile of ‘low risk’ trucks was determined after extensive consultation with stakeholders including the NSW Centre for Road Safety, NSW Road Freight Industry Council, Australian Trucking Association, Motor Traders Association and the Institute of Automotive Mechanical Engineers.

“This Inspection Scheme is a direct recommendation of the Auditor General in his Performance Audit Improving Road Safety – Heavy Vehicles of 2009.

“Roads and Maritime inspectors and NSW Police have done a thorough job inspecting Cootes trucks following the Mona Vale crash, exemplifying the hard line NSW takes with breaching heavy vehicle safety requirements.

“It is disappointing to see 174 defect notices issued so far and we are working hard to make sure all road users are safe by getting unroadworthy vehicles off the roads. 

“Queensland, Victoria and South Australia have followed suit and are carrying out thorough investigations into the roadworthiness of Cootes trucks.

“We are not just protecting our own roads, Roads and Maritime Services has deployed staff and an inspection truck to Victoria to help with their investigations. 

“I welcome the move by McAleese, Cootes’ parent company, to voluntarily opt out of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme in the interests of road safety,” Minister Gay said.

Media: Marie Scoutas 0467 739 976

View the original media release (PDF)

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