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QLD Parliament supports HVNL amendment

Queensland’s Transport and Utilities Committee (TUC) has recommended the Australian Trucking Association's (ATA) submission that suggests changes to Chain of Responsibility (CoR) provisions in the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

The Queensland Parliament has just released a report on the Transport and Utilities Committee’s recent consideration of the Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016.

The TUC’s report recommends for the Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 be passed. The report also called for ‘relevant Ministers’ over the next 12 months to consider ways in which the CoR safety provisions can become more transparent and easily understood.

ATA Chief of Staff and acting CEO, Bill McKinley, welcomed the report’s recommendations, noting the positive changes to come as a result. “The committee report is a step forward for the ATA and the trucking industry, because CoR reforms will increase safety and reduce red tape,” he said.

A submission was made by the ATA in late September for major amendments revolving around CoR provisions in the HVNL. In mid-October, Queensland Trucking Association CEO, Gary Mahon, spoke on behalf of the ATA at a public hearing, calling for clearer and more practical legislation.

In the ATA’s original submission sent to the TUC on 28 September, McKinley highlighted the need for HVNL reforms in order to improve safety.

“The HVNL was assembled from a series of model laws and as a result is complex and inconsistent,” he wrote. “It is not consistent with best practice in safety legislation and it imposes a reverse onus of proof on company directors and executives. In addition, its CoR provisions do not include truck maintenance and repair, even though we know that poor maintenance is a safety issue.“

Wording changes requested in the Bill include replacing the term ‘take all reasonable steps’ with ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’, to better communicate the requirement of compliance whilst maintaining a reasonable excuse defence.

While hosted by the Queensland Parliament, the HVNL has been adopted into law in Australia’s five other territories – NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT. As such, amendments made to the HVNL in Queensland will automatically take effect in the other participating states.

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