Investigation powers boost under consideration

By: Andrew Hobbs


Authorities will be able to inspect vehicles to seek information relevant to safety duty offences

Investigation powers boost under consideration
VicRoads officers and others will have greater investigatory powers under the amendments

 

Authorised officers will have greater powers to investigate possible breaches of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) under amendments currently being considered by the Queensland parliament.

Approved earlier this year by states and territories party to the HVNL – New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia – the amendments must be passed in Queensland before being adopted by other jurisdictions.

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) chain of responsibility manager Kym Farquharson-Jones told ATN that the amendments currently before the Queensland parliament will give more information gathering powers to authorised officers.

While heavy vehicle operators are currently required to make sure their fleet is mechanically safe and meets required standards under the current HVNL, new obligations will apply from October 1, Farquharson-Jones says.


The NHVR released some fact sheets about the changes to mass laws last month. Check out our story here.


"With the start of primary duty obligations, investigators are likely to examine system features such as fault reporting, fault correction, maintenance programs, schedules, documentation and collaboration in supply chain reporting," Farquharson-Jones says.

Those officers, who already have the power to carry out heavy vehicle inspections, include officials from NSW’s Road and Maritime Services, VicRoads, Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads and NHVR inspectors in South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.

"The changes to Chain of Responsibility place positive safety duties on parties in the chain which will require additional resources to gather evidence, including from third parties that have relevant information," Farquharson-Jones says.

"It should be noted that these additional information-gathering powers will be confined to information that is relevant to safety duties offences."

The changes are one of a series being made to the HVNL, including the changes to the Chain of Responsibility (COR) laws, due to take effect from October 1.

Key to those changes is the introduction of the concept of a primary duty of responsibility that extends to every party in the heavy vehicle transport supply chain – to ensure that their transport activities are safe.

In practical terms, the NHVR says, this primary duty represents an obligation to eliminate or minimise potential harm or loss by doing all that is reasonably practicable to ensure safety.

Read more about the recent changes to the Heavy Vehicle National Law, and what you need to know about it, in the August edition of ATN.

 

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