Heavy vehicles a focus for camera monitoring funding

MINISTER for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester has announced trucks will be the focus for additional vehicle monitoring cameras around the country, with $2.45 mllion in funding allocated to the camera network.

The funding boost allows the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to install five additional automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras along Australia's key heavy vehicle corridors and black spots.

Mr Chester says the cameras will help reduce pressure on freight operators to shift goods within unrealistic time constraints, improving road safety as a whole.

"These high-tech monitoring cameras have been shown to be effective and will be in operation by July 2017," Mr Chester said.

"Each camera site costs between $250,000 and $500,000 to establish, depending on what infrastructure, power, communications and security facilities are already in place.

"This is money well spent in terms of detecting risky behaviour and unsafe practice on the roads, and helps narrow our targets for compliance and enforcement efforts.

"With Australia's vital trucking industry gathering for TruckWeek to discuss a range of issues, this funding commitment will not only benefit heavy vehicle drivers, but all motorists."

The NHVR is working alongside state road transport authorities to establish suitable camera sites, basing the decision on high traffic volumes and busy freight routes, in order to best utilise these cameras.

Mr Chester says the NHVR will commence a pilot project to link heavy vehicle monitoring networks across Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.

"Putting more cameras on the ground is a critical step. Making sure they share data across borders is the next step.

"The heavy vehicle camera network is part of the NHVR's broader plans for a national compliance and information system which will support real-time, agency-linked, data-collection used by authorised officers at the roadside and in compliance units.

"National visibility of vehicle movements will allow the NHVR and other enforcement agencies to identify drivers and operators that systematically flout fatigue laws."

NHVR Executive Director for Regulatory Compliance Tony Kursius says the cameras are a key component to the delivery of compliance and safety on the roads, and plans to disclose locations within months.

"The National Compliance Information System (NCIS) is central to the NHVR's delivery of regulatory compliance and road safety," Mr Kursius said.

"NCIS will harmonise existing state data to provide a national view which will enable the successful delivery of a consistent, coordinated and effective compliance effort which is fundamental to achieving the safety objectives of the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

"The five additional camera sites, included in the project, will be positioned at the most dangerous and busy sections of the road network with respect to major freight routes, crash blackspots and high risk fatigue areas.

This funding comes as part of the Government's National Road Safety Strategy 2011-20, which includes goals based around road safety and a reduction in fatalities of at least 30 per cent.