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Wednesday, 9 May 2018
Page: 3396


Mr FRYDENBERG (KooyongMinister for the Environment and Energy) (10:15): I thank colleagues for their support of this bill and the contributions that they have made, and I look forward to the bill passing the Senate. The Interstate Road Transport Legislation (Repeal) Bill 2018 is the first step in the delivery of a new system that better serves the needs of today's dynamic transport industry by removing a well-intended but now fundamentally dated mechanism—the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme.

FIRS was the first national registration scheme for heavy vehicles weighing more than 4.5 tonnes and solely involved in interstate trade or commerce. Established in 1987 to address a perceived limitation on the authority of the states and territories to register vehicles for interstate transport, FIRS sought to address the challenges arising from a lack of uniformity in state and territory registration schemes. However, Australia has changed significantly in the last 30 years. Our needs are different. Our priorities have changed. Our collective regulatory capabilities have improved. FIRS has since been made redundant by increased jurisdictional cooperation, reforms to the heavy vehicle regulatory framework and changes in the business needs of the heavy vehicle industry.

The bill aligns with the policy of successive Australian governments across the best part of the last decade and represents a bipartisan, consistent and continued commitment to close FIRS and progress national heavy vehicle reforms agreed by the Council of Australian Governments in 2009. The closure of FIRS will in turn make way for the introduction of a modern, national registration system for heavy vehicles that better serves the needs of today's transport industry. Accordingly, the initial amendment of the Interstate Road Transport Act 1985 and the subsequent repeal of all legislation enabling FIRS is the next logical step in moving Australia towards a fairer, more productive and efficient heavy vehicle industry. I would like to thank members for their constructive contribution to this debate and their support for this bill.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.