Chain of responsibility ‘falls short on customers’

By: Steve Skinner

Pickering Transport Group’s Bernie Belacic gives scathing assessment of COR

Chain of responsibility ‘falls short on customers’
Bernie Belacic sees a lack of impact beyond transport


A leading transport industry figure says the "reams" of paperwork involved with chain of responsibility law is achieving "an awful lot of nothing".

Bernie Belacic is the work health and safety manager with large Victorian-based operator Pickering Transport Group, and is a former CEO of NatRoad.

Belacic was speaking at a session on COR at the recent Australian Trucking Association’s Technical and Maintenance Conference (TMC) in Melbourne.

"We want a good strong enforcement regime, good strong laws to create a level playing field and a safe industry," Belacic says.

However, he says from Pickering’s perspective COR starts with the transport company and finishes with the transport company driver.

"Very rarely do we see or witness or feel that chain of responsibility has moved much beyond that," Belacic says, adding that some customers are more committed than others.

He says COR is a success if judged in terms of prosecuting transport companies and drivers.

"In going much further beyond that, I would say it is still very early days," he adds.

"COR certainly has done an extremely good job of creating paper trails.

"We have lots and lots of paper dealing with all kinds of things that talk about chain of responsibility … be it in a workshop, be it fatigue or mass or maintenance or whatever the area might be, we’ve got lots of paperwork.

"The interesting question I would ask is, what does a lot of it achieve? And from my perspective it’s an awful lot of nothing. An awful lot of nothing.

"We get requests daily from customers asking us about all kinds of information.

"They all title it chain of responsibility requests, and they ask for reams and reams of paperwork – no-one reads it.

"And the other part is, there is no context to it. So they’re just demands, for a whole lot of information. We have no idea what the context is – how many jobs, what time, how long, all that kind of information is completely absent, so you are responding to a hypothetical situation that you might dream up yourself."

Belacic also spoke of "a worrying trend" amongst customers with what he believes are COR implications.

"We’re now seeing customers actually producing contracts or tenders which have fines built into them.

"So, literally, they are proposing and/or have put in a contract that they will fine us for being 15 minutes late – 500 bucks."

Check out more from the COR session at TMC in the next edition of fullyloaded, and read the full feature in the December issue of ATN.

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