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Details of new chain of responsibility reforms have been published by the NTC.

Improvements to Australia’s chain of responsibility laws to make roads safer for all

18 November 2015

Australia’s chain of responsibility obligations will be restructured to improve consistency and allow more flexibility in how all parties along the supply chain who can influence on-road behaviour achieve the desired regulatory outcomes.

The NTC has published details of the reforms in a policy paper.

Chief Executive of the NTC Paul Retter said the reforms were approved by the Transport and Infrastructure Council earlier this month, and introduce a primary duty of care on all current chain of responsibility parties to ensure the safety of road transport operations, and include obligations on executive officers.

“These reforms will help to make Australia’s roads safer for everyone who uses them. Those people in the supply chain who can make our roads safer should be encouraged to do so, and these reforms do exactly that,” Mr Retter said.

“These parties include consignors, consignees, loaders, schedulers, transport operators, contractors, employers and their executives.”

Mr Retter said the reforms removed many prescriptive obligations under the current Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) and implemented clearer, more flexible and performance-based obligations, without increasing the overall burden on industry.

The reforms better align the HVNL with Australia’s workplace health and safety laws. This will make the law easier for industry to comply with, and help both industry and enforcement agencies better understand their requirements.

They also give business greater flexibility, as they specify road safety as the outcome but remove many prescriptive obligations. This allows individual businesses to find the best way to comply based on their individual business needs.

“This reform will help enforcement agencies target and prevent unsafe behaviour by organisations in the supply chain, rather than waiting for a crash to happen,” Mr Retter said.

Consistent with the approach used in other national safety laws, supply chain parties and executive officers will be considered innocent until proven guilty. New penalties for offences related to the new primary duties will ensure the most dangerous safety risks attract the most serious penalties.

These changes were achieved in consultation with the NTC’s government and industry stakeholders, and received broad support from Australia’s transport industry.

To give effect to these reforms, the NTC will prepare legislative amendments for ministers to consider in May 2016.

Last Updated: 18/11/2016