The future HVNL should support quick, simple and transparent access decision making. It should prioritise productivity – where it is safe and reasonable.

Much of the challenge in improving access relates to engineering limitations, ageing infrastructure and funding constraints. The NTC recognises the potential of Transport and Infrastructure Council heavy vehicle road reform to align the incentives to optimise access and raise productivity

Chapter 9 of the RIS explains the options to lead to simpler and more transparent access decisions.

Summary of issues and options

Changes to general access


The key objective is to achieve simpler and more transparent access options. General access limits have not changed since the 1990s and mass and dimension limits have not kept pace with advances in the heavy vehicle fleet, despite vehicles becoming safer, more efficient and longer over the past 30 years.


9.1a: Increase in GML to CML for all operators - read in RIS

9.1b: Increase in GML to CML – enrolment - read in RIS

9.1c: Increase in GML to CML – on board mass installed - read in RIS

9.1d: Increase in general access length - read in RIS

– Option 1: all vehicles

– Option 2: vehicles with safety features

– Option 3: Additional space for the sleeper cabin - read in HVNL 2.0

9.1e: Introduce “enhanced general access” with more weight, length and height for vehicles with increased safety features and on board mass - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.

  • This option could allow vehicles to operate at up to concessional mass limits (CML) and up to 20-metre lengths, provided those vehicles meet a set of criteria such as specific vehicle safety features or emissions standards.

Permits and authorisation processes


  • The current process results in the issue of a large number of permits, creates administrative and compliance burdens for operators and road managers. It can also unduly delay the granting of access. The permit application process is not risk-based and requires almost every application to be made via the same process.


This option includes a number of sub-options (that could be implemented in isolation or combination) that are expected to make the decision-making process for authorising access more risk-based and outcome-focused.

9.2a: Recognise precedent and expand expedited process for equivalent/lower risk applications - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.

9.2b: Allow for opt-in road manager delegation - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.

  • This could involve allowing road managers to delegate decision-making and consolidating and sharing authorisations and access precedents to create a single source of truth geospatial map.

9.2c: Geospatial map given authority in the law - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.

  • This could involve allowing road managers to delegate decision-making and consolidating and sharing authorisations and access precedents to create a single source of truth geospatial map.

9.2d: A risk-based approach to vehicle classes - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.

– Option 1: Freight and passenger, OSOM

Option 2: Existing authorisation category, exemption categories

  • The future HVNL may classify vehicles by the relevant factors rather than applying all possible factors to create a singular classification for each vehicle combination to make the law clearer for operators and enforcement.

9.2e: Amendment to third party consent requirements - read in RIS

– Option 1 – Remove third party consents

– Option 2 – Capture third parties in access decision making

9.2f: Amendment to access decision criteria to allow access decisions to include whole-of-network impacts and strategic network management - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.

Timeframes and reviews


  • Some local governments have only limited resources to assess roads and make timely decisions.


9.3a: Statutory timeframe, deemed referral and refusal for nil response - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.
9.3b: External review of access decisions - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.

- Option 1 – Independent review panel

- Option 2 – Referral to an existing tribunal or court

  • Under the future law, operators could seek a process review (not a decision-merit review) of access decision-making with either the NHVR or the relevant jurisdiction-based administrative tribunal.This will encourage transparency and ensure due consideration is given to access requests.

Access decision making


The framework for access decision-making is set out in the HVNL itself (Part 4). Changes to decision making therefore require changes in the law which commonly involves long lead times and delays.


Option 9.4 involves the access decision-making process being moved from the primary legislation to

regulations or standards - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.

  • Access decision-making processes could be moved from primary legislation to regulations and standards, allowing refinement as needed while maintaining ministerial oversight.

Pilots and escorts


  • In Australia, each state and Territory has different requirements for pilots and escorts required for OSOM movements. This includes the use of pilots and escorts that work together to manage traffic both ahead and behind the OSOM vehicle.


  • The future HVNL could established a harmonised pilots and escort scheme, administered by the NHVR. This may allow authorised officers to have suitable traffic management powers when undertaking escort duties.
9.5a: National scheme – single tiered pilot and escort accreditation - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.
9.5b: National scheme – dual-tiered pilot and escort accreditation - read in RIS


Have your say

We want to make it easy for you to have your say. Complete the short submission below to let us know what options you prefer, least prefer and why.

This is an alternative to a formal submission, you don't need to provide both.

If you would prefer to make a longer submission, please visit NTC website.