Comprehensive review of ADG Code 2021-24

The NTC is conducting a full review of the Australian Dangerous Goods Code (the ADG Code). This work will focus on the transport of dangerous goods by road and rail.

A high-level update of the ADG Code happens every two years. This will be the first full review since the seventh edition was released in 2007.

Participating in the global economy

This review is an opportunity for Australia to:  

  • better align with international and intermodal practices 
  • leverage international processes to ensure all aspects of the code are regularly updated. 

Improving international alignment will make it easier for Australia to participate in the global economy.

The review will aim to better align the code with the following:

United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods - Model Regulations (UN MR)

Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR)

Regulations concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail (RID)

Project background

In November 2020, transport ministers approved a full review of the code. The review aims to achieve:

  • conduct an in-depth review of chapters in the code specific to Australia
  • incorporate requirements relating to Class 1 (explosives) and Division 6.2 (infectious substances)
  • incorporate relevant concepts and requirements from the ADR and RID
  • include more detailed training requirements 
  • provide a high-level summary of duties, grouped by activity (such as consignor, loader, prime contractor or driver)
  • develop a central register of legislative variations across states and territories that the public can access
  • include natural justice and administrative law principles in the model legislation
  • improve processes for licences associated with the transport of dangerous goods.

Review principles

Principle 1

The current practice of drawing core requirements not specific to a mode from the UNMR will continue. These core requirements will also continue to be updated in line with the UNMR.

Principle 2

The starting point for requirements specific to land transport will be the requirements in the ADR and RID. But the ADG Code will keep current methodologies for placarding, segregation, and compliance with Australian Standards (where relevant).

Principle 3

The International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code will be the starting point for:

  • the table of dangerous goods that must be segregated for transport
  • the point at which emergency information must be included on marking and labelling, and placarding.

Principle 4 

Existing provisions in the ADG Code unique to Australia will only be kept if an analysis against the ADR or RID identifies a valid risk that isn't controlled by an existing ADR or RID provision.

Principle 5

Variations to ADR or RID provisions will only be made if either:

  • the variation doesn't impact the cohesiveness of the requirements overall
  • there is data and evidence that show the benefits of making the variation outweigh the impact of varying the ADR or RID provisions.

Principle 6

Existing Australian methodologies identified to be kept will be reassessed to make sure they still meet their intended purpose. This includes reassessing trigger thresholds and operational application, for example, reassessing placarding thresholds.
 

Ensuring a sustainable future for the ADG Code

Some of the key benefits resulting from the ADG Code review principles include:

  • Requirements will be proportionate to the risk.
  • It will be easier to maintain the ADG Code and keep it up to date, making the long-term maintenance of the code more sustainable.
  • Australia will have access to – and the benefit of – international expertise, data, and rationale for requirements.
     

Drawing on Australian expertise

The in-depth review will be conducted by local dangerous goods experts, through working groups based on the following topics:

  • explosives
  • tanks and vehicles-related provisions
  • rail-related provisions
  • dangerous goods list and special provisions
  • training related provisions
  • safety and emergency (fire) equipment
  • thresholds (small loads and placard loads)
  • exemptions and scope.

Their work and expertise will feed into a national working group, led by the NTC. The Chair of each topic-based working group will be a member of the national group, which will have oversight of the ADG Code review. Terms of reference for the working groups have been finalised.
 

Get involved

We’ll engage with our stakeholders throughout the review. This may involve asking you to help with research. Email the project team (details below) to be added to the list for updates.

Working groups

If you have a particular interest in one or more of the topic-based working groups, please let us know.
 

What happens next?

Right now, we’re doing research and analysis of Australian-specific requirements in the code. This will identify:

  • how they differ from internationally accepted requirements
  • the rationale for these differences. 

We’re currently establishing working group membership and gathering information in line with the review principles to direct each group on the work they’ll do.

Contact us

Project manager Debra Kirk
Contact email dkirk@ntc.gov.au