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news, issues and events for the heavy vehicle industry

Wednesday 27 May 2020

The impending requirement to replace current rear marker plates to meet a new Australian Standard could cost road transport operators well over $40 million according to Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA).

HVIA has appealed to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to give a last-minute reprieve to operators who had been expected to retro-fit new rear marking plates to all vehicles.

Chief Technical Officer Paul Caus has taken up the case advocating for a reversal of the decision. 

“Current transition arrangements mandate that all vehicles were required to have their marker plates replaced before the 1st of January 2021, regardless of their condition,” Mr Caus said. 

“That is a cost that the industry can ill-afford right now as we are dealing with a global pandemic.” 

HVIA CEO Todd Hacking is asking the NHVR to reverse the decision and replace it with a performance based standard – allowing existing Class 2 plates to be substituted as they need to be replaced. 

It is a regulatory requirement under Heavy Vehicle National Law that marking plates be placed on the rear of all motor vehicles over 12 tonne GVM and trailers over 10 tonne GTM. 

The plates are designed to both improve visibility and can also provide the DO NOT OVERTAKE TURNING VEHICLE warning to other motorists. 

“It is a sensible update to the Australian Standard,” Mr Hacking added. “However, it is not so much about improved safety outcomes, but just aligning VSB12 with the advantages of current reflective technologies.”

"The issue was brought to HVIA's attention by Paul Gallagher at Borcat who was concerned by the cost impact it would have on their customers and the broader industry.

“We are extremely grateful to the NHVR for consideration of the industry’s requests on this issue.” 

The discontinuation of Class 2 plates came about following the 2016/17 review of the Australian Standard (AS4001). The review determined that Class 400 (previously known as Class 1) and 1A plates were more durable, offered improved retroreflective performance, and could be smaller than Class 2 plates. 

The review also allowed for UN standard reflective materials to be used. 

“Considering there are seven months remaining until the transition period ends, HVIA strongly recommends that new build vehicles have Class 400, 1A or UNECE 70 rear marking plates fitted from this point on,” Mr Hacking said. 

“This will avoid an unnecessary expense to the operator down the track.”

Full details regarding this transition period and Rear Marking Plate requirements can be found in Vehicle Standards Bulletin 12.

Manufacturers are reporting a tightening of business finance as a prime factor impacting new orders and many have reported orders being scaled back or cancelled as business confidence drops and operators are understandably anxious about the cashflow implications for their business.

With this context in mind and against the backdrop of one of the most generous stimulus packages announced, HVIA CEO Todd Hacking sat down and talked finance with Nathan Murray, Managing Director of Morris Finance.

Read on to find out why Nathan believes that confidence will return soon and there will be some pent up demand for our industry's services. 

The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) Manufacturing Taskforce has met with Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) to address growth and resilience.

Following public comments by NCCC Chair Neville Power that Australia needs to strengthen its independence and harness its existing capability through modern, efficient, and high-tech manufacturing, HVIA requested a meeting.

HVIA President John Drake and Chief Executive Todd Hacking told the NCCC delegation that the heavy vehicle industry is very proud to be one of the last bastions of manufacturing in the Australian economy. 

“Our members are not only diverse in their capacity and capability; they are also agile and responsive to changing and challenging operating environments,” Mr Drake said.

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