National transport reforms too slow: draft report

Eight years of efforts haven’t achieved the safety or productivity gains expected by proponents of reforms to Australia’s transport sector, and changes have been “disappointingly slow”, the Productivity Commission said.

Speaking after releasing its draft report on National Transport Regulatory Reform on 12 November, the Commission said the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) was “inflexible” and had an outdated attitude to road safety, rather than using risk management.

“The Commission supports moves to make the HVNL less prescriptive and more focused on results than rules,” it said in a statement.

Productivity Commissioner Paul Lindwall said creating national regulations and laws was ambitious and had taken longer than anticipated.

“Achieving the productivity gains predicted in 2011 will require much more than regulatory reform of safety,” he said.

“Governments need to continue and, in some cases accelerate, broader reforms to infrastructure investment, its use and management, and pricing of access.”

The draft report is open for comment and submissions until 15 January 2020, with public hearings planned in five capital cities in January and February next year.