National Operating Standard

National Operating Standard – Case Study

Why The Standard Is Not Licensing

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).

Some argue that this constitutes operator licensing. It doesn’t.

The Australian Government Guide to Regulation describes licensing as a ‘pre-market assessment scheme’.[1]

As the following table shows, the national operating standard is no such scheme:


National Operating Standard

Operator Licensing

Can immediately commence to operate, so long as compliance with the NOS can be demonstrated, if called on.

Must prove to a regulator that all licensing conditions are satisfied before being allowed to operate

No ‘fit and proper person’ requirement

Usually a requirement that an operator is a ‘fit and proper person’

No registration fees

Usually an annual registration fee


What the National Operating Standard does do is to make clear to operators what is necessary to ensure the safe operation of vehicles in much the same way as an operator must comply with regulations prescribing the standards that vehicles must comply with for use on a road[2] or driving hours limits.[3]


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

The opportunity should be taken to make these amendments to the National Law and to make the legislation fit for the 2020s and beyond.


[1] Australian Government The Australian Government Guide to Regulation (2014):29

[2] Heavy Vehicle (Vehicle Standards) National Regulation and sections 59 and 60 of the HVNL

[3] Heavy Vehicle (Fatigue Management) National Regulation

Read our policy and more case studies 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