Crane operators in Victoria will no longer need permits to travel on a network of around 700 roads as the state moves to simplify compliance within the industry.

In an announcement on May 10, Roads Minister Terry Mulder said the state had created a new network of 460 metropolitan and 240 local roads on which crane operators will be able to travel without a permit, though permits will still be required for travel on other parts of the road network.

Maulder says the new network adds to the existing number of approved routes that B-Doubles, Higher Mass Limit vehicles, road train vehicles, controlled access buses and semi-trailers transporting containers up to 48 tonnes can use. It is expected to be followed later this year by an approved network for two- and three-axle terrain cranes and a rural crane network for regional Victoria.

The new networks are expected to provide for easier and better crane access throughout the state.

“This initiative increases the confidence with which industry can do business in Victoria,” Maulder said.

Industry representatives welcomed the announcement, which Victorian Crane Association liaison officer Brent Stacey said would reduce red tape and ease the compliance burden on crane operators.

“The association has strongly advocated for such networks throughout Victoria, and this will make the day to day job so much easier for many of our operators to get to and from work sites,” Stacey said.

The developments follow a fiasco earlier this year which saw massive delays in the granting access permits for road travel following the introduction of a new national scheme which saw responsibility for access permit application processing and other aspects of heavy vehicle regulation transferred to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

Those events saw authorities in some states, including Victoria, temporarily reassume authorisation to approve permits, and VicRoads is now processing around 600 permits per month on NHVR’s behalf.

The 240 local roads included in the new network lie within the municipalities of Greater Dandenong, Cardinia, Hume and Hobsons Bay, and Maulder says this number will increase in coming weeks as more councils come on board.

VicRoads has developed on online map of the new network, which will be updated as new roads come online.