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8 Aug 12
National truck safety

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Regulation of heavy vehicles is set to become simpler nationally. In the first step, the Queensland Government introduced the Heavy Vehicle National Law Bill 2012 (Qld Bill) into parliament on 2 August 2012. It is anticipated that other States and Territories will pass mirror legislation in the coming months.

The national scheme is intended to:

  • simplify the existing scheme of regulation by removing the separate regulators and legislation at Commonwealth, state and territory level and replacing them with a single national regulator and a single national law
  • promote public safety
  • manage the impact of heavy vehicles on the environment, road infrastructure and public amenity
  • provide for efficient road transport of goods and passengers by heavy vehicles, and
  • encourage and promote efficient, innovative, productive and safe business practices.

The Qld Bill, if passed, will establish the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), to be based in Brisbane, and would be comprised of a five member Board and CEO. The NHVR will be responsible for regulating all vehicles in Australia over 4.5 tonnes. It is anticipated that the NHVR will be operational from January 2013.

In particular the Qld Bill provides for the duties of employers, contractors, schedulers, consignors and others, chain of responsibility requirements and fatigue regulation and the potential penalties for breaches of these duties. These provisions can be expected to be mirrored by the other states and territories, and therefore provide a clear and consistent standard by which to regulate critical safety issues in the industry.

The reforms will bring simplicity to a framework that currently requires businesses and their employees to comply with multiple jurisdictions when travelling between various states and territories. The NHVR will provide a central point for registration renewals, log book queries, load requirements, road restrictions, access permits, operating and safety standards. From an economic perspective, the scheme brings with it an expectation of productivity improvements flowing from a simpler system and, hopefully, savings for consumers.

 

Focus covers legal and technical issues in a general way. It is not designed to express opinions on specific cases. Focus is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Further advice should be obtained before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication.

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