Heavy vehicle and freight management

Managing freight and heavy vehicles is an important responsibility for local government. An efficient supply chain is vital for local businesses and primary producers.

Councils must ensure that roads, bridges and other infrastructure are fit to safely carry the loads of heavy vehicles without causing undue damage. Noise, vibration and air pollution can be important factors for communities, particularly in sensitive settings, times or locations. All of us rely on efficient freight for our daily goods and services.

This page is a centralised resource and information hub to assist council officers access information and advice about managing freight and heavy vehicles. It will be updated regularly and we welcome feedback on priorities for content and suggestions for improvement.

On this page:

Background and context

In July 2020 a MAV survey of Victorian councils (PDF - 198KB) identified the top issues for Victorian councils as being:

  • Supporting local industry including primary producers
  • Heavy vehicle impacts on roads and bridges
  • Available funding to maintain and upgrade important freight connections.

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The MAV hosts regular webinars on freight and heavy vehicle management, our recent webinars include:

Managing Freight and Heavy Vehicle Access for Local Government

Construction Truck and Community Safety

Urban Freight Consolidation Centre

Freight and heavy vehicle management for councils

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Authorising environment

Council local laws can be enacted to assist management of the impacts of freight and heavy vehicles, and there is a range of State and Federal legislation and regulation that must be considered as part of the authorising environment.

At National level, the National Transport Commission leads national land transport reform. The Heavy Vehicle National Law regulates the use of heavy vehicles with a gross vehicle mass of more than 4.5 tonnes.

In Victoria, the Transport Integration Act sets out the overarching objectives and framework for managing the transport system. The Road Management Act and its associated regulations establishes a coordinated management system for public roads, both state and local.

For councils, some aspect of the Local Government Act are relevant to how councils can make decisions, consult with the public and have power over roads.

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Policy settings

Links to key State and Federal policies regarding freight can be accessed via the following links:

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Heavy Vehicle Permits

A key role of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is to provide the framework and support for road managers to administer the system of heavy vehicle permits. They support this role with a range of development and training materials for local government road managers, conduct regular forums and can provide relevant data to assist councils. There are also liaison staff who can specifically assist council staff, you are encouraged to make contact and ask questions if you need support in this area.

Operators of over-size or over-mass vehicles also require third-party approvals prior to travel. Further information is available on the Third Party approvals webpage.

The NHVR also have a range of resources for local-government-road-managers.

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Gazettals and heavy vehicle maps and information

Another way that heavy vehicle access can be efficiently managed is through a gazettal process. This allows designated vehicles to use particular sections of road without requiring a permit. This information can be mapped to state and national databases so that heavy vehicle operators have access to information for route planning. Further information, advice and support to implement gazettals is available at Heavy vehicle map networks in Victoria at VicRoads.

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Key contacts

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Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between a "No Trucks" sign and a "Gross Load Limit" sign?

No Trucks

A No trucks sign, (Road Rule 104), prohibits the use of a roadway by any motor vehicle over a certain size or weight, however there are exceptions for vehicles with a local destination, buses and other limited circumstances. Can include restrictions by length, weight, time of day or week.
Icon, f=drawing of black truck with red "not allowed" circle

Gross Load Limit

Gross Load Limit signs, (Road Rule 103), are used to protect road infrastructure such as bridges and pavements from heavy vehicles, without exception. Always operational.

A black and white icon reading "Gross Load Limit"

Please send us your questions so we can share the answers.

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Improving first and last kilometre access

In late 2021, MAV and the Department of Transport undertook a series of three webinars to explore and identify options to improve first and last kilometre access. The following two documents describe and present the outcomes from that engagement.

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Further information

Please contact Geoff Oulton, MAV Transport and Infrastructure Advisor, at goulton@mav.asn.au with any questions or suggestions.