THE federal government over the weekend announced an independent review into why some heavy vehicle operators have experienced delays in being granted permits for oversize, over-mass (OSOM) vehicle movements.
Deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure and transport Michael McCormack said the review followed concerns being raised by industry about operators of some restricted-access heavy vehicles being required to wait for up to several months for permits.
“To protect infrastructure and ensure the safety of other road users, oversized trucks and machinery that are outside the standard weight and/or dimension limits often require special authority to travel on certain roads,” Mr McCormack said.
“In some cases, however, the time it is taking for this authority to be granted is much longer than anticipated, leaving trucking businesses unable to deliver the required goods when they are needed.”
Mr McCormack said the OSOM review would consider what changes to the regulatory framework and processes are required to ensure OSOM vehicle permits could be issued within a reasonable timeframe without compromising safety.
”We need to sort through the barriers to the efficient transport of large but essential materials and machinery and come up with both immediate and long-term responses to the issues,” he said.
Consultancy firm WSP Australia was chosen to undertake the review with the assistance of an expert reference group, which will include industry representatives.
“The review will be led by Pascal Felix from WSP who, as a former regulator in Western Australia, brings a wealth of relevant industry experience to the role,” Mr McCormack said.
The review will begin immediately with consultation with industry, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and road managers including local councils and state and territory road authorities.
The review is scheduled to be completed by October 2018 following which a report will be provided to federal, state and territory transport ministers for their consideration.
The Australian Logistics Council welcomed the start of the review; managing director Michael Kilgariff said delays in granting OSOM permits had been proving costly for many parts of the industry.
“The flow-on effects are felt throughout the entire economy, most acutely in the mining resources, agricultural and construction sectors,” he said.
“Given the importance of these sectors to Australia’s export performance and the need to enhance the nation’s infrastructure, it is critical that the lengthy delays being experienced by many operators are addressed.”
Mr Kilgariff noted that the final report of the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities specifically identified streamlining the route approval process for OSOM movements as a priority action.