Our Transport & Logistics Team's round-up highlights
developments in transport regulation that affect everyone,
including the proposed implementation of uniform 'chain of
responsibility' laws nationally and the controversial new
'safe rates' legislation.
We are half way through 2012 and it remains a busy agenda for
transport and logistics regulators and enforcers, with developments
impacting both providers and users of transport and logistics
Recent incidents and investigations: In the
last few months, there have been some high profile investigations
into, and police blitzes targeting, heavy vehicle transport
whose drivers have been suspected of using illicit drugs;
whose vehicle speed limiters have been found to have been
tampered with; or
whose vehicles have been detected speeding or unsafely loaded
or who are not complying with driver fatigue management
How this affects you - your role in the transport
'chain of responsibility': A recent protest by
truck drivers in Sydney brings into focus how road transport laws
affect not only drivers and operators, but anyone
whose supply chain involves the transportation of goods using heavy
The point the truck drivers were making was that in order to
meet the delivery demands of their customers, they claimed they had
no choice but to take risks - breaching speed limits or driving
hours restrictions or loading their vehicles in a way that may be
unsafe. The truck drivers are highlighting the fact that everyone
in the transport chain needs to take responsibility for the
drivers' compliance with safety laws.
Current state of play: Hence the development of
'chain of responsibility' laws over the last few years
which make all participants in the transport chain liable for
relevant breaches of road laws - from consignors, packers and
loaders through to consignees, with liability extending to
directors and managers of organisations in the chain as well.
Currently, these laws vary from State to State and Territory to
Territory, which makes it difficult for organisations with national
operation or reach. However, moves are afoot to put in place
uniform chain of responsibility laws nationally with respect to
heavy vehicles by the beginning of next year. We will keep you
posted on progress.
'Safe rates': In addition, the
controversial Road Safety Remuneration Act 2012 was assented to in
April 2012 and commenced on 1 July 2012.
The Act is intended to promote 'safety and fairness' in
the road transport industry by regulating 'remuneration related
incentives' and other factors that contribute to unsafe work
practices, including by promoting reasonable standards along the
road transport industry supply chain.
The Act establishes a new Safety Remuneration Tribunal which is
empowered to make 'safety remuneration orders' (of its own
volition in accordance with its own annual work program, and on
application by interested persons), to approve road transport
collective agreements, to deal with certain disputes involving road
transport and to conduct research into remuneration related matters
that may affect safety in the road transport industry.
The Act has been widely criticised, variously for creating an
additional layer of regulation and compliance which goes against
the tide of streamlining and simplifying transport regulation and
because of a lack of empirical evidence of the link between driver
remuneration and road safety.
Budget 2012: The fact that freight transport
and logistics are front of mind for the federal and NSW governments
was clear from recent budget measures. Apart from the proposal to
develop a new multi-modal, multi-billion dollar freight terminal at
Moorebank in Sydney, allocation was made in the federal budget for
the establishment of national regulators for heavy vehicle, rail
and maritime safety, whilst the NSW budget provided for increased
investment in key freight routes and road infrastructure
Looking ahead: All of these recent developments
highlight the timeliness of the implementation of national heavy
vehicle laws, scheduled to commence in January 2013. There are also
parallel developments towards national regulation of rail and
maritime safety. The implementation of uniform regulation across
the various transport modes also forms part of the broader
harmonisation of workplace health and safety laws across
In response to growing interest in the commercial use of drones or RPAs in Australia, CASA has developed new regulations.
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