Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

SR 1996 No. 342 Regulations as made
These Regulations amend the Road Transport Reform (Mass and Loading) Regulations.
Administered by: DOTARS
General Comments: This instrument was backcaptured in accordance with Section 36 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003
Registered 01 Jan 2005
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR04-Feb-1997
Tabled Senate05-Feb-1997
Gazetted 24 Dec 1996
Date of repeal 22 Mar 2011
Repealed by Other
Repealing Comments Enabling legislation repealed by Schedule 3, item 2 of the Statute Law Revision Act 2011.

Road Transport Reform (Mass and Loading) Regulations (Amendment) 1996 No. 342

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

STATUTORY RULES 1996 No. 342

Issued by the authority of the Minister for Transport and Regional Development

Road Transport Reform (Vehicles and Traffic) Act 1993

Road Transport Reform (Mass and Loading) Regulations (Amendment)

The National Road Transport Commission (NRTC) is a body, established under the National Road Transport Commission Act 1991 (NRTC Act), funded by the Commonwealth and all State and Territory jurisdictions, to develop policy and legislation as part of the road transport reform process. Under the Heavy Vehicles Agreement, scheduled to the NRTC Act, the States and Territories have agreed to adopt template legislation which is made by the Commonwealth for the Australian Capital Territory. The main objective of road transport reform is to work towards national uniform legislation for heavy vehicles. It is envisaged that the Road Transport Reform (Vehicles and Traffic) Act 1993 (the Act) will be the main Act under which much of the regulations are to be made to achieve that objective, those regulations then to be adopted by each State and the Northern Territory.

The main purpose of the Road Transport Reform (Mass and Loading) Regulations (Amendment) (the Amending Regulations) is to improve the safety of buses by requiring them to comply with certain specifications in the Australian Design Rules concerning emergency exits, rollover strength and seat belts. The Australian Design Rules are made under the Commonwealth Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989.

Under the Amending Regulations, those buses which comply with the ADR safety specifications and have an approved air suspension system will also be able to operate at increased mass limits. A definition of a "complying bus" is provided for, along with other definitions, in the Amending Regulations.

The Amending Regulations, which were developed and approved by the Ministerial Council after consultation with the road transport industry, also make a number of other technical amendments to the Road Transport Reform (Mass and Loading) Regulations (the Principal Regulations).

The Principal Regulations are intended to match load limits on heavy vehicles with the current capacity of roads and bridges, in order to help manage road wear and the risk that heavy vehicles and their loads may pose to road users. The Principal Regulations prescribe, among other things, nationally uniform or consistent mass limits for vehicles and combinations, including their loads, as well as mass limits for individual tyres, wheels, axles and axle groups. The mass limits apply to any vehicle, or combination that includes a vehicle, with a gross vehicle mass exceeding 4.5 tonnes and to any load on such a vehicle.

Authority to Make Regulations

Subsection 7(1) of the Act provides that the Governor-General may make regulations, to apply as laws of the Australian Capital Territory and of the Jervis Bay Territory, prescribing all matters required or permitted by the Act to be prescribed, or necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to the Act. Subsection 7(2) of the Act provides that the regulations may specify that the provisions of the regulations commence on a day or days specified by the Commonwealth Minister for the time being administering the Act, by notice in the Gazette.

Subsection 8(2) of the Act provides that the regulations may make provision for a matter by applying, adopting or incorporating national standards under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 as in force from time to time.

Subsection 9(1) of the Act provides that the regulations may, among other things, prescribe rules dealing with vehicle standards, including rules relating to:

-       the design, construction, efficiency and performance of, and the equipment to be carried on, vehicles;

-        mass and dimension limits of vehicles and their loads; and

-        safety, emissions and noise.

Subsection 9(4) also provides that the regulations may prescribe rules dealing with the operation of vehicles, including rules relating to, among other things, vehicles whose size, mass or load exceeds limits set by the regulations.

Commencement

The substantive parts of the Principal Regulations have not yet commenced, but the 'mechanical' provisions have commenced. Regulations 1 and 2 of the Principal Regulations are the mechanical provisions which provide for the title and the commencement of the Principal Regulations. Regulations 1 and 2 commenced on 29 March 1995, that being the day on which the making of the Principal Regulations was notified in the Gazette in accordance with subregulation 2(1).

Subregulation 2(2) of the Principal Regulations provides that the remaining provisions of the Principal Regulations commence on a day or days specified by the Commonwealth Minister by notice in the Gazette. The remainder of the Principal Regulations, representing the substantive parts of the regulations, have not yet commenced operation. The Principal Regulations are to commence operation on a date to be agreed by the Ministerial Council for Road Transport which is then to be specified by the Commonwealth Minister by notice in the Gazette. The commencement provisions are drafted in this way to allow the Regulations to be made in readiness for when the Commonwealth and all States and Territories can agree to a date on which the regulations are to commence on a nationwide basis.

Although the substantive parts of the Principal Regulations have not yet commenced, they are being amended by the Amending Regulations in order to ensure that policy agreed upon by the Commonwealth and the States and Territories is in place for when the Ministerial Council agrees to provide for their commencement. The Office of Legislative Drafting (OLD), Attorney-General's Department, has confirmed that these amendments are consistent with section 7 of the Act (the regulation making power). The amendments have been settled by OLD.

The Amending Regulations

Amending Regulation 1 provides for commencement of the Amending Regulations on a day or days specified by the relevant Commonwealth Minister by notice in the Gazette.

Amending Regulation 2 provides that the Road Transport Reform (Mass and Loading) Regulations are amended as set out in the Amending Regulations.

Amending Regulation 3 provides for a new Regulation 12 to ensure that if a person is prosecuted for breach of the mass or dimension requirements in the Regulations, an exemption from those requirements given under other Regulations made under the Road Transport Reform (Vehicles and Traffic) Act 1993 must be disregarded if the conditions of the exemption have been breached in certain ways. Amending Regulation 3 also provides for a new Regulation 13 to prescribe the conditions with which a bus must comply to be declared a complying bus by the vehicle registration authority. Amending Regulation 3 also specifies the buses to which new Regulation 13 applies.

Amending Regulation 4 amends the Schedule 'Mass and Loading Requirements' to provide for increased mass limits for complying buses. Amending Regulation 4 allows complying buses an increase of up to 0.5 tonnes on the front axle and, except for 8-tyred tandem buses, up to 1 tonne on the rear axle or axle group. These increases are subject to an overall requirement that the total mass of the bus must not exceed a limit that is 0.5 tonne less than the sum of the axle mass limits. Amending Regulation 4 amends the Schedule to include definitions of the terms 'ADR' (Australian Design Rule, made under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989), 'approved air suspension system' and 'complying bus'.

The amendments to the Regulations are to commence on the same day as the remainder of the Principal Regulations are to commence.