The primary purpose of the HVNL is to ensure a safe and efficient heavy vehicle journey. This is made up of a safe driver, a safe vehicle and a suitable route.

This topic and issues paper covers heavy vehicle access to a suitable route. It uses the risk-based approach outlined in the first issues paper.

The issues paper identifies the problems with the current access arrangements under the HVNL and the high-level principles that a revised law should consider.

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

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Easy access to suitable routes

Heavy vehicle access to public roads is regulated to reduce risks to public safety, manage the effects of larger vehicles on public infrastructure and minimise any negative effects on public amenities.

Heavy vehicles are granted access to the road network based on their total mass and dimensions.

For most heavy vehicles, regulation is straightforward, as they have as‑of‑right, general access to public roads. Larger heavy vehicles, however, may have access restricted to help manage risks.

There are a range of controls also used in the decision-making framework to manage key risks. These are:

  • Vehicle classification
  • Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme
  • Prescribed mass and dimension limits
  • Accreditation
  • Notices and permits

Access challenges

Through consultation with industry, regulators, jurisdictions (participating and non-participating), the NTC understands the high-level problems with the current access arrangements under the HVNL are:

  • inefficient access costs Australians
  • the vehicle classification and route assessment process is complex
  • the decision-making framework is prescriptive and inflexible
  • decision-making is inconsistent
  • risk controls are limited
  • many challenges are beyond the current HVNL.

What we heard

Government, regulators, drivers, operators, industry bodies, and members of the public have provided detailed and constructive submissions. Read what we heard on easy access to suitable routes.