Long WA COR lead-in time a boon to the industry

By: Brad Gardner


Chain of responsibility delays gave time to get the message out in Western Australia

Long WA COR lead-in time a boon to the industry
WA operators were aware of the proposed changes.

 

The delayed introduction of chain of responsibility law in Western Australia proved to be blessing for those tasked with helping businesses and individuals understand their obligations.

Chain of responsibility covering vehicle mass, dimension and load restraint took effect in WA in late April, three years after legislation enshrining it was passed.

The Western Australian Road Transport Association (WARTA) and government department Main Roads ran a number of educational seminars on the reform, and WARTA CEO Ian King says the delays were "a pain in the proverbial" but ultimately beneficial.

"You get people up and they’re ready to come on board and then, suddenly, it’s pushed off for another six months," King says.

"That was frustrating, but to be honest I’m glad it took that amount of time because my conscience is very clear in regards to the road transport sector in WA.

"I’m very much of the opinion that the extra time granted them the time to learn something about it, so we could push people [and say] you’ve got to go and learn it otherwise you’re liable, your business is liable."

King says WARTA and Main Roads ran more than 100 information sessions in the lead-up to the introduction of chain of responsibility.  

He estimates there is a high level of awareness about chain of responsibility among WA transport operators, along with other parties in the supply chain.

"In transport I reckon it would be around about 70 to 80 per cent," he says.

"I can tell you the rural sector is very much aware of it because we have gone to all farmers, stockyards, graziers and pastoralists and hammered the message."

King says there were some challenges in getting the broader transport supply chain to accept chain of responsibility, with some initially believing they should not be liable for breaches of mass, dimension or load restraint.

The seminars included attendees who were prepared for the changes, while King says others had some work to do to ensure they were compliant.

"Some had their systems in place but some had to really make dramatic changes. For example, having the scheduler, the loader, the packer all part of that chain you’ve got to make sure that those people are very much aware," he says.

Under chain of responsibility law in WA, those loading a light or heavy vehicle, scheduling deliveries, receiving freight or supplying a vehicle can all be held liable for overloading or an illegally restrained load.

Chain of responsibility has traditionally been limited to the trucking industry, but Main Roads says it decided to extend the provisions to light vehicles to gain the greatest road safety benefit.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has welcomed WA’s actions, which align the state with other jurisdictions that already have chain of responsibility for vehicle mass, dimension and load restraint breaches.

"Anything that a jurisdiction can do to further support safety outcomes we should support," Petroccitto says.

"We have been watching what the WA guys have done and I commend them. It is a positive step forward, so we’re really supportive of it."

 

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