HVNL amendment: ATA supports COR reforms

Trucking body recommends new ‘duty of drivers’ clause to ensure drivers obey fatigue management rules

HVNL amendment: ATA supports COR reforms
ATA acting CEO Bill McKinley (right) with Queensland shadow transport minister Andrew Powell.


Extending the chain of responsibility (COR) guidelines to include vehicle maintenance and repairs will improve accountability, and reduce complexity and inconsistency in the industry, the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) states.

Part of the Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016, the proposed changes to chain of responsibility include imposing harsher penalties and bringing action against parties within the chain even before an incident occurs.

The trucking body warns that under the proposed guidelines, participants in the road transport chain, including consignors and consignees, can be held to account for safety issues on the road.

Last week, ATA acting CEO Bill McKinley met Queensland shadow transport minister Andrew Powell to discuss the chain of responsibility reforms outlined in the proposed provisions.

The meeting also covered ATA’s five key recommendations to the parliamentary committee overseeing the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) reforms. 

The trucking body recommends the passage of Chapter 2, which relates to changes to COR guidelines in the HVNL, and Chapter 3, which refers maintenance amendments.

ATA also recommends that the definition of the term "packer" be updated to:

  • make specific reference to live animals
  • more clearly include those who directly influence the preparation of the goods for transport.

It recommends that a new section referring to duty of drivers should be added impose stricter rules related to fatigue management.

It states: "The section should be based on s 28 of the model WHS Act [Work Health and Safety Act] and the existing s 228 fatigue duty, to make it clear that drivers must not drive while impaired by fatigue, even if that fatigue was caused by events outside work."

The existing law grants authorised officers the power to seek information about a vehicle, the person responsible for the vehicle, and details of the journey for compliance purposes.

ATA suggests that the above rule must be amended to ensure the rule applies to information provided voluntarily by individuals as well as those under notice.

Lastly, ATA recommends that the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) "should be encouraged to work closely with its state transport agency partners, WHS regulators and other enforcement agencies to establish stronger lead agency arrangements for investigations and to minimise regulatory inconsistency".

The National Transport Commission (NTC) is currently inviting submissions from the industry on ways to improve enforcement laws.

Visit the ATA website for more details about the submission.

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