Permit approvals wait most at state and local levels

NHVR annual report shows other governments take the most time to process applications


Many trucking operators are still having to wait weeks for heavy vehicle access applications to be approved, due in large part to state and local governments.

Figures contained in the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) 2014-15 annual report show permit processing timeframes are still sluggish under the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

The report says it took an average of 23.48 days last financial year to process permit applications, but only 4.34 days of this was due to the NHVR.

Most of the time taken to approve permits stemmed from the regulator having to wait for local and state authorities to provide consent for a truck to access their roads.

Under the HVNL, local and state governments must give their consent for access before the NHVR can begin processing the relevant permit.

The HVNL sets a 28-day limit for local and state authorities to provide their consent.

The regulator’s annual report says local governments took an average of seven days to provide consent when doing so within 28 days, but it is a different story for state governments. 

“For state authority road managers, there was an increase of 12.25% response time, for those that responded within the 28-day period,” the report states, adding that the average was 8.7 days.

However, there were a significant number of cases last financial year that took longer than the 28-day limit.

State road agencies granted 704 consents after the 28-day limit and averaged 65 days in doing so, while the average for local governments after 28 days was 59.9 days (813 consents).

“In 2014-15 there was an approximate 43% increase in the time it has taken state authority road managers to provide consent for cases greater than 28 days,” the annual report states.

The NHVR says the 23.48-day average for processing permits takes into account consents given within and beyond 28 days.



Authorities denied 895 permit applications, with New South Wales the primary culprit with 391 refusals. The NHR says NSW local governments rejected 281 requests, with the state authority saying no to 110.

Queensland was not far behind, with 338 denials (105 for local government and 233 at a state level).

The most common reason given for a refusal was damage to infrastructure (483), followed by significant risk to public safety (338). In 38 cases, authorities did not bother giving a reason at all.

“We continue to encourage road managers to grant pre-approvals of access so that it is not necessary to consider applications for specified types or classes of heavy vehicles,” the report says.

“This allows road manager resources to focus only on assessments where vehicles or loads are outside the pre-approved categories.”

CEO Sal Petroccitto says the NHVR staged a “remarkable turnaround” last financial year.

Petroccitto joined the regulator with the task of addressing significant failings that plagued it upon its launch in early 2014. The regulator’s permit approval systems collapsed within hours of the NHVR launching, causing severe disruption to trucking operators.  

Under his leadership, the NHVR has improved its operations and lifted its engagement with the trucking industry.

“We have taken a major step towards regulating more efficiently and effectively,” Petroccitto says.

“Our solid performance in 2014-2015 has been achieved in close cooperation with the commonwealth, state, territory and local governments.

“I would also like to acknowledge the professionalism and dedication of our staff, and the continued support from industry – all of whom have played a key role in advancing the efforts of this national initiative.”

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