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.

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

Nominations open for local government bridge and culvert assessments

Local councils are encouraged to submit their applications for funded bridge and culvert engineering assessments through the NHVR’s Strategic Local Government Asset Assessment Project (SLGAAP).

The SLGAAP is designed to support local governments in better understanding their asset capability and heavy vehicle access decisions.

Nominations close Wednesday 22 June 2022.

To find out more about the selection criteria and how to nominate visit Strategic Local Government Asset Assessment Project nominations now open.

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.

Policy settings

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

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.

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 data bases so that heavy vehicle operators have access to information for route planning. Further information, advice and support to implement gazettals is available via Department of Transport.

Introduction to key players and their roles – under development

A stakeholder guide will be developed and supported by a key contacts section, including the following stakeholders:

Case studies

We are looking for case studies to document and share best practice between councils. If you have been part of, or are aware of a project that you think others could learn form, then please get in touch.


On Wednesday 27 April 2022, MAV, in conjunction with Freight Victoria and National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, hosted a webinar on freight and heavy vehicle management for councils in Victoria. Links to a recording of the webinar and the presentation slides are available below:

Current and recent projects

If you have been part of, or are aware of a project that you think others could learn form, then please get in touch.

Further information

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