Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 May 1995) . . Page.. 336 ..
Mr Speaker, turning to road funding, it was agreed that government at all levels faces a major challenge in funding maintenance of the existing road network and the expansion in the network required to meet increasing demands. This was something that Mr Moore alluded to in his remarks this morning. In response to this challenge, the States and Territories have initiated a review of road funding options. In the ACT, a long-term program is needed to allow our road network to expand to meet the demands of urban growth, particularly in the new areas of Tuggeranong and Gungahlin. This is in addition to the investment necessary to provide for the upkeep of our existing roads, most of which are now more than 20 years old. Once again, I need to let the Assembly know that we need to look at other ways of doing this. Light rail is something that I think Ms Horodny and the Greens have brought up from time to time as well, as did my predecessor, Mr Lamont.
Ministers have reaffirmed commitment to the implementation of a package of reforms in the road transport industry, to be implemented in advance of the national road transport legislation, being developed by the National Road Transport Commission. By 1 July of this year the following reforms are expected to be in place: Common national rules for mass and loading of vehicles; common roadworthiness standards; and improved productivity for B-doubles and other heavy vehicles. By the end of 1995 additional reforms will be implemented. These will include: Access permits eliminated for B-doubles on the mainland; abolition of mass permits for vehicles up to 42.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass; extension of national heavy vehicles driver licence to all drivers of vehicles over 4.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass; adoption of a uniform standard for the restraint of loads; and enhancement of one licence one driver protocol.
The Council also noted the National Road Transport Commission's progress in the development of legislation. Acts covering charges, vehicle operations and dangerous goods have already been passed by the Commonwealth Parliament. By July this year the majority of the national transport legislation for heavy vehicles will be developed, with the compliance and enforcement module to follow before the end of this year. This will include legislation and/or regulations covering restricted access vehicles, driver licensing and vehicle registration.
Mr Speaker, the ACT, along with Victoria and Queensland, will be among the first of the States and Territories to introduce common national charges in July this year. In the ACT owners of heavy vehicles will achieve considerable savings with the introduction of these charges. New South Wales and the Northern Territory have indicated that they will proceed when other States are ready to implement the national charges. The Commonwealth has expressed strong concern over delays by some States in this area and has reserved its right to address the issue by other means.
Buses and coaches which fully comply with recent Australian Design Rules will be allowed an increase of one tonne in gross vehicle mass to recognise the implications of improving occupant protection. Ministers also approved a standard for sleeping berths in buses and coaches used for two-up driving. By two-up driving, we do not mean that they are playing two-up while they are driving. It would be very difficult if you let go of