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Michael Kilgariff

Strengthening the Supply Chain

March 2015

The newsletter is designed to raise awareness about organisations’ obligations under Chain of Responsibility (CoR) legislation and how changes in the law may affect their operations.

As an industry, there needs to be greater effort to ensure all supply chain participants meet their obligations under the Heavy Vehicle National Law, such as those relating to speeding, fatigue, dimension, mass limits and load securing.

Achieving greater levels of legislative compliance across these five critical areas, based on increased education and awareness-raising, are the keys to improving heavy vehicle safety.

So, in addition to a wide circulation among the logistics industry, it has also been provided to the Chairs, CEOs and supply chain managers of Australia’s top 2000 ASX companies and top 500 private companies.

The newsletter stresses that Chain of Responsibility is an issue which effects not just logistics organisations, but businesses up and down the supply chain.  It makes the fundamental point that if an organisation consigns, packs, loads or receives goods as part of their business, it could be held legally liable for breaches of road transport laws. 

At stake are civil and criminal liabilities, as well as reputation damage.  Quite simply, companies cannot ‘contract out’ their CoR obligations, no matter what their industry sector or part of the supply chain. 

The article also provides an update on a number of important regulatory issues, including a review of Chain of Responsibility duties in the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

In last month’s edition, I wrote about how the National Transport Commission (NTC) is considering possible changes to the duties owed by participants in the Chain of Responsibility imposed by the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

As part of the options paper released by the NTC, four possible options are being proposed.

Since then, ALC has provided its thoughts on the reform options back to the NTC.

The first point ALC makes is that the general duty based obligations a person conducting a business or undertaking possesses under workplace health and safety law, combined with more specific rules generally contained in the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) should lead to better safety outcomes.

We have seen this in practice through a general, albeit fluctuating, improvement of death and injury statistics relating to the operation of heavy vehicles.

The ALC submission says Chain of Responsibility laws contained in the HVNL are generally operating satisfactorily, however, more emphasis should be placed on explaining the current legislation. 

We recommend in our submission that if any specific weaknesses in the HVNL are identified, they can be corrected using the HVNL Legislation Maintenance Programme.

ALC also believes any changes to duties will need to be carefully drafted and that any new proposal should be circulated to industry for comment prior to being submitted to government.

Finally, ALC encouraged the NTC to ensure that any possible changes to general duties HVNL resulting from this review, and a separate review of heavy vehicle roadworthiness, are dealt with together and subject to a comprehensive Regulatory Impact Statement.

Other issues examined in ‘Strengthening the Supply chain’ include:

• Chain of Responsibility Explained
• Important regulatory changes
• National Logistics Safety Code of Practice
• ALC Supply Chain Safety and Compliance Summit
• A Review of the NLSC
• Role of the ALC Safety Committee
• ALC Code of Tankers in the Petroleum Industry

Strengthening the Supply chain is available on the ALC website www.austlogistics.com.au.  For hard copies, email your request to Strengtheningthechain@austlogistics.com.au

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