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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (24 October) . . Page.. 1948 ..

MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):

steering and windscreens, vehicle markings, including vehicle identification numbers, configuration and dimensions, including axle spacings, length and width, all external lights and reflectors, braking systems, fuel systems, noise and emissions, speed limiting, and trailer connections.

The Road Transport Reform (Mass and Loading) Regulations will impose mass limits on vehicles and combinations, including their loads, as well as mass limits for individual tyres, wheels, axles and axle groups. They also will impose rules about the size of the load, how far it may project from the vehicle, warning signals for certain projections, and the securing of loads. The Oversize and Overmass Vehicles Regulations will allow authorities to exempt vehicles and combinations from the mass and dimensions limits in the Heavy Vehicle Standards Regulations and the Mass and Loading Regulations. Vehicles that may be exempted include special purpose vehicles such as mobile cranes, concrete pumps, fire trucks, agricultural machines and implements, as well as low-loader and platform combinations designed to carry indivisible items.

The Restricted Access Vehicles Regulations are a related national set of procedures under which vehicles and combinations that are too large or too heavy to be allowed general access to the road network, other than those to which the Oversize and Overmass Vehicles Regulations apply, are given restricted access. Access is granted by means of a permit setting out the class of vehicles or combinations covered, the area in which they may travel and the conditions of travel. There have also been established regulations addressing the working hours of bus drivers, and similar regulations are planned for heavy vehicle drivers. These regulations seek to specify rest periods and log book management for both drivers and those responsible for the consignment of goods by road. This national road transport reform process further embraces such matters as the transport of dangerous goods and national driver licensing and registration systems, and will be backed up with appropriate compliance and enforcement mechanisms.

I will now turn to the remaining regulation to be attached to the Road Transport Reform (Vehicles and Traffic) Act 1993, the Australian Road Rules, which are the focus of this ministerial statement. A draft of the Australian Road Rules was made available for public comment in December 1994. It was advertised nationally by the NRTC, including in the Canberra Times, supported by additional advertising in the local press. Since that time, the NRTC and jurisdictions have been preparing a revised draft taking into account the public comment and dealing with a number of outstanding issues that are not yet finally agreed.

The rules address traffic matters that are pertinent to all jurisdictions. They will provide clear, plain-English rules for motorists on such matters as signs and road markings, parking, and give-way priorities in roundabouts - an issue that is particularly relevant to the ACT. They will provide a complete range of traffic rules for all Australians in a single document, ranging from give-way priorities for trams to the distance to be maintained when towing caravans in areas where road trains are in common use. The road rules will not address criminal matters such as negligent or culpable driving or offences relating to drink-driving. These matters will remain the responsibility of each jurisdiction, and rightly so.

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