The future HVNL should support quick, simple and transparent access decision making. It should prioritise productivity – where it is safe and reasonable.

Much of the challenge in improving access relates to engineering limitations, ageing infrastructure and funding constraints. The NTC recognises the potential of Transport and Infrastructure Council heavy vehicle road reform to align the incentives to optimise access and raise productivity

Chapter 9 of the RIS explains the options to lead to simpler and more transparent access decisions.

Summary of problems and options

Changes to general access


General access limits have not changed since the 1990s due to unresolved policy and engineering issues. Mass and dimension limits have not kept pace with advances in the heavy vehicle fleet, despite vehicles becoming safer, more efficient and longer over the past 30 years.


9.1a: Increase in GML to CML for all operators - read in RIS

9.1b: Increase in GML to CML – enrolment - read in RIS

9.1c: Increase in GML to CML – on board mass installed - read in RIS

9.1d: Increase in general access length - read in RIS

– Option 1: all vehicles

– Option 2: vehicles with safety features

– Option 3: Additional space for the sleeper cabin - read in HVNL 2.0

9.1e: Introduce “enhanced general access” with more weight, length and height for vehicles with increased safety features and on board mass - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.

Permits and authorisation processes


The current process results in the issue of a large number of permits, which creates administrative and compliance burdens for operators and road managers. It can also unduly delay the granting of access.

The permit application process is not risk-based and requires almost every application to be made via the same process, with limited recognition of any similar decisions that have previously been made and that could provide precedent.


This option includes a number of sub-options (that could be implemented in isolation or combination) that are expected to make the decision-making process for authorising access more risk-based and outcome-focused.

9.2a: Recognise precedent and expand expedited process for equivalent/lower risk applications - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.

9.2b: Allow for opt-in road manager delegation - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.

9.2c: Geospatial map given authority in the law - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.

9.2d: A risk-based approach to vehicle classes - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.

– Option 1: Freight and passenger, OSOM

Option 2: Existing authorisation category, exemption categories

9.2e: Amendment to third party consent requirements - read in RIS

– Option 1 – Remove third party consents

– Option 2 – Capture third parties in access decision making

9.2f: Amendment to access decision criteria to allow access decisions to include whole-of-network impacts and strategic network management - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.

Timeframes and reviews


The HVNL formalised the role of local government as road managers in the access decision-making

process. However, some local governments have only limited resources to assess roads and make

timely decisions. Industry and government have recognised that local government lack of funding and

resourcing play a role in decisions not being made within statutory timeframes.


9.3a: Statutory timeframe, deemed referral and refusal for nil response - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.
9.3b: External review of access decisions - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.

- Option 1 – Independent review panel

- Option 2 – Referral to an existing tribunal or court

Access decision making


The framework for access decision-making is set out in the HVNL itself (Part 4). Changes to decision making therefore require changes in the law which commonly involves long lead times and delays.


Option 9.4 involves the access decision-making process being moved from the primary legislation to

regulations or standards - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.

Pilots and escorts


Undertaking OSOM movements within Australia sometimes requires traffic management and increased safety measures that assist with progressing the OSOM movement from origin to destination while managing traffic and safety risks. This includes the use of pilots and escorts that work together to manage traffic both ahead and behind the OSOM vehicle. In Australia, each state and Territory has different requirements for pilots and escorts required for OSOM movements.


9.5a: National scheme – single tiered pilot and escort accreditation - read in RIS and HVNL 2.0.
9.5b: National scheme – dual-tiered pilot and escort accreditation - read in RIS