Queensland has passed the first of 2 bills that will make way for changes to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) in all the administrations where it applies, a move that has been welcomed by the road transport industry. The NT and WA are the only states that the changes will not apply to.
The bill (The Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill) will bring about changes to the chain of responsibility (CoR) process as well as the heavy vehicle registration process.
Queensland transport minister Mark Bailey recently said the changes, which were considered by a Queensland parliamentary committee earlier this year and came into effect on 1 July will allow the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator be more effective in its productivity and safety outcomes,
“An extensive consultation program was conducted with industry stakeholders so that all of those involved in the transport of goods by heavy vehicles are aware of their ongoing responsibilities,” Bailey says.
“The changes, which come in from 1 July this year, will allow the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to establish a national operator fleet dataset to support the regulator in performing its functions and delivering future productivity and safety benefits.
“I am confident that the support and guidance that the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is providing to industry will assist them in preparing for these changes.”
Members of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) including its chair Geoff Crouch hailed the news of the changes as an “important win for the industry”. He said his association had been pushing for the development and extension of the truck safety laws since 2012.
Mr Crouch highlighted that under new laws, customer and trucking businesses would have to develop and maintain appropriate safety systems.
Combined with the amendments passed in 2016, the new laws mean the introduction of
a strong general safety duty, including on trucking industry customers
the extension of the chain of responsibility concept to cover vehicle maintenance and repairs
due diligence obligations on company directors and executives to ensure chain parties comply with their primary safety duty
maximum penalty increases for the most serious cases to bring them in line with other national safety laws and
the removal of red tape and unnecessary legislative requirements.
Before the new laws come into effect on October 1 this year, there is still one bill that needs to be passed. Currently the new laws apply to NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.