A major crane industry lobby group in Australia has called for new national regulations surrounding heavy vehicles to be postponed until the body responsible for administering the new rules is able to demonstrate the new system’s implementation will not excessively delay the issuance of permits.

In a letter to its members, the Crane Industry Council of Australia (CICA) also voiced concerns about some state road authorities not being adequately prepared for the new system and says it supports working with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to first trial the online system before it goes live.

“This morning an urgent CICA National Teleconference Meeting was held on the NHVR issues, with representatives from all state associations invited to participate,” CICA chief executive officer Alan Marshall wrote.

“The purpose of the meeting was to ensure CICA and the state associations are fully and equally informed; to consult with, harness and unite the crane industry associations on this important industry issue; to allow industry to communicate with the NHVR consistently on our industry position and key issues affecting members.”

“Based on the discussions, some state road authorities and councils may be better prepared than others. The national meeting supported the VCA policy push to “defer or delay” the new system commencement until the NHVR can demonstrate their readiness to ensure that the crane industry will not be adversely impacted by the new system failing to fulfil current permit turnaround time standards.”

The latest call comes as regulation of heavy vehicles in Australia is set to undergo significant upheaval.

Under a new Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), the NHVR will regulate and administer rules relating to heavy vehicle access, accreditation, vehicle standards and fatigue management in a ‘one-stop-shop’  arrangement for heavy vehicle road transport.

The new arrangements, which were originally set to start in January this year but will now come into place in some states in October, will apply to vehicles with a gross mass of more than 4.5 tonnes and will affect a significant number of vehicles used in construction, including cranes, bulldozers, excavators, backhoe loaders, tunnel boring machines, asphalt pavers and dump trucks.

Labelled ‘One Regulator, one rule book’, the new arrangements aim to provide vehicle drivers, operators and others with a consistent set of rules regardless of where they operate around the country.

While industry groups such as CICA generally support the concept of a national regulator, the group says fears amongst operators of cranes that the new regulations would cause ‘excessive delays’ were justified.

CICA has also called for a focus on education as opposed to enforcement in the early stages of the new rules.

“While the one month delay is a significant break-through for our industry and recognition of our concerns there is still much to be done by the NHVR (and our industry to better prepare) to ensure the NHVR new system is ready to operate from 1 October (if confirmed) and deliver the promised benefits of a national system,” Marshall says, referring to the recent postponed of implementation from September 1 to October 1.