National Operating Standard

National Operating Standard – Case Study

The National Operating Standard And The HVNL Primary Duty

Australia’s Heavy Vehicle National Law should:

  • encourage and embrace the use of technology for safety and access purposes; and
  • ensure operators have suitable safety management systems in place and the capital necessary to ensure the safe operation of heavy vehicles.

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) believes these goals can be achieved through the incorporation of a national operating standard for heavy vehicle operators into the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

ALC members have longed argued that the HVNL should require operators to advise the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) where vehicles are garaged to limit the incident of ‘phoenixing’ in the industry and to prove that a nominated amount of capital is available to the business.

They also believe that operators use equipment compatible with standards made the National Telematics Framework to collect identified information and that safety management systems (SMS), scaled to the size of the business, meeting standards made by the NHVR are maintained and followed by relevant businesses.

The HVNL contains a primary duty requiring that: “so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of the party’s transport activities relating to the vehicle” be eliminated or minimise the public risks created through the operation of a heavy vehicle.[1]

It implies that at the very least an SMS should be maintained by businesses.

The requirements of the National Operating Standard will go some way towards:

  • ensuring that the primary duty has been satisfied; as well ensuring
  • that where enforcement action is taken, the right supply chain participant – be it driver, consignor, loading manager, packer or anyone else – that was actually in the position to influence safety outcomes (but didn’t) is held to account.



The creation of a National Operating Standard offers the opportunity to enhance the safety and productivity outcomes of heavy vehicle operators – key objectives of the HVNL.

These reasonable and affordable measures will help set a benchmark for safety in the industry – ensuring improved safety outcomes and a level playing field for all.


[1] Section 26C of the HVNL

Read more in our policy and fact sheet below:

A National Operating Standard Policy

A National Operating Standard Policy

National Operating Standard Policy cover

A National Operating Standard Fact Sheet

A National Operating Standard Fact Sheet