Transport licencing to be standardised across Australia

The nation’s transport ministers have agreed to put in place a single national registration and licencing scheme for Australia’s 375,000 heavy vehicles by 1 July 2009.

This outcome is good news for road safety because one in ten licence holders are truck drivers and this will ensure they all meet the same high qualification standards no matter where they live.

It’s also good news for business because it means they can move their goods around the country without the red tape and cost of eight different registration systems.

Meeting in Melbourne, the Australian Transport Commission (ATC) has given its in-principle support to "A New Beginning for Transport", a national action plan for keeping people and freight moving.

As well as a national scheme for heavy vehicle registration and licensing, the action plan includes:

· A single national approach to maritime legislation covering commercial vessel survey, certification, crew competencies and some operational practices;

· A partnership with industry to attract, train and retain transport workers;

· Progressing work on the establishment of a national road safety advisory council; and

· A report to the November ATC meeting on progressing to a national system for driver license and registration for all vehicles.

According to federal transport and infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese, "Ultimately the measures agreed to today are all about getting products onto supermarket shelves at the lowest cost, supporting the sustainable growth of our cities and giving working families better access to jobs, healthcare, schools and recreational activities.

"It will also do more to prevent road deaths, help Australia meet its international climate change obligations, tackle the regulatory ‘red tape’ hindering national productivity and respond to emerging skill shortages.

"’A New Beginning for Transport’ is more than just a ‘tune-up’. It’s a blueprint for ‘reconditioning’ the engine room of economic growth – the nation’s transport system," he said.

Ministers will do further detailed work on the action plan before submitting it to COAG.

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