Permits a load of pain for truckies

A NORTH East transport operator has hit out at a new haulage-permit system that has ruined his work flow.

Permits for oversized haulage that used to take up to three days to process can now take 28 days.

Matthew Walker, from Robbie Walker Transport Operations at Wangaratta, said three loads he was supposed to move last week had gone no where.

“I have one for Monday that I don’t have permits for and I don’t have any notification of when I’ll receive permits,” he said.

The problems started with a new system introduced this month.

Permits have not been handled by the states’ NSW’s Roads and Maritime Services and VicRoads but by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator since February 10.

Member for Indi Cathy McGowan took up the issue with deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister Warren Truss in Parliament on Tuesday.

That followed complaints from several constituents.

Ms McGowan said Mr Truss had said he shared her concern and had found an interim solution with the states reverting to the old system while national issues were resolved.

“It is good to hear that the minister has a solution,” she said.

“I trust he will implement it quickly so our trucking businesses can get back to work.”

But Mr Walker said nothing had changed, despite the assurances.

“All applications are still subject to national regulations,” he said.

“I spoke to VicRoads on Tuesday and the process is still going to take 28 days.

“All they’ve done is hand power back to the states, but the states still have to apply the new regulations and laws.”

Mr Walker said the job he was supposed to do next Monday for a Wodonga manufacturer was now unlikely to go ahead for two months.

“That’s because it involves police escorts,” he said.

“The police have a lag in their system because there’s no permits being issued.

“All of a sudden, we’ve got a backlog in demand for police escorts.”

But Mr Walker said his greatest concern was not for his business.

“I am trying to do my best more for my customers’ sake because they’re the ones with serious money tied up,” he said.

“They’ve manufactured a product and they can’t get paid for it until the product lands on the doorstep.”

Mr Walker does not favour scrapping the whole system because it had its place in addressing issues like driver fatigue.

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