This topic and issues paper covers the regulatory style and structure of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) and outlines how, at a high level, we might approach heavy vehicle regulation.

The issues paper is the foundation topic for the review and sets the tone for later issues papers.

There will be future opportunities to tell us about the specifics of fatigue, access, safe people and practices, safe vehicles, accreditation, compliance and technology and other matters.

issues papers

Risk-based regulation

A risk-based approach to regulation centres on the principle that regulation should target the most significant risks to safety.

Risk-based regulation is considered good regulatory practice and has been applied internationally, across different transport modes and across different types of industries.

Types of regulatory styles

Regulation can have a prescriptive, performance-based or principles-based style.

The HVNL is highly-prescriptive, with 61% of the law containing prescription. The below diagram compares the regulatory style and size of the HVNL to the Rail Safety National Law and Work Health Safety Model Law.

comparison of HVNL, rail safety law and work health safety law

Problems with the HVNL

Through consultation with industry, regulators, jurisdictions (participating and non-participating) and others, the NTC understands the high-level problems with the HVNL are that the law:

  • is not nationally consistent and is not applied consistently in participating jurisdictions
  • is prescriptive and inflexible
  • adopts a 'one size fits all' approach to many diverse industries, domains and operators
  • is not risk-based or proportionate
  • presents challenges for administration, compliance and enforcement, and
  • has not achieved its original goals.

Share your ideas

We are seeking your advice on whether we have identified all the problems and any preliminary views on the ways we can improve heavy vehicle regulation.

Have your say

Quick Poll

Would you prefer a new law that is prescriptive and/or performance-based?
HVNL review survey

Rate questions from strongly disagree to strongly agree

Strongly disagree
Neither agree nor disagree
Strongly agree
The HVNL has the right balance of prescription and performance-based requirements
The HVNL addresses my business risks
The HVNL is easy to comply with

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