Ensuring that the use of council roads by heavy vehicles is safe and contributes to local and national productivity remains a key priority for many councils around Australia and a key focus for national transport reform. Local roads are around 75% by length of all roads in Australia (about 640,000 kilometres) and the National Transport Commission has estimated that 36 per cent of all kilometres travelled in Australia are on local roads.
The local government sector, through ALGA and state and territory local government associations in particular, has worked closely with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) over the past four years to ensure that the use of local roads is as safe and productive as possible. We therefore welcome the release of the NHVR's report Setting the Agenda – Strategies for a Safer, Productive and more Compliant Heavy Vehicle Industry 2016-2020, which outlines a five-year blueprint for a safer, productive and more compliant heavy vehicle industry.
The NHVR's plan focuses on three national strategies – Safety, Compliance and Assurance, and Productivity to guide Australia's heavy vehicle regulatory agenda from now until 2020.
Heavy vehicle transportation is a critical part of Australia's freight networks and our nation will continue to be strongly reliant on road freight to supply goods and services in urban, rural and remote communities, as well as to export markets given the road freight task is forecast to double from 2006 levels by 2030, and treble by 2050. Working with the NHVR to ensure it understands the needs of communities and the priorities of councils is the best way to ensure that we find the right balance of between local and national needs.
Mayor Troy Pickard