The Queensland Parliament has recently passed
legislative changes amending the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).
The amendments were assented to on 24 September 2015.
Queensland is the designated 'host jurisdiction' for the
HVNL. This means that HVNL legislative changes start in Queensland
before being rolled out in the other Australian states and
Amendments made to the HVNL include:
changes to the infringement penalties and demerit points in the
inclusion of electronic work diary provisions; and
the creation of new offences.
Infringement penalties and demerit points
In 2014 the National Transport Commission (NTC) completed a
review of the penalties in the HVNL and developed a national
penalties framework. The NTC made 15 recommendations following the
review. Eight of the fifteen recommendations involved increasing
maximum penalties for various offences.
Offences that now attract a higher penalty include:
using a heavy vehicle in contravention of a vehicle standards
a scheduler causing a driver to drive a heavy vehicle in
circumstances where the driver's schedule does not allow for
compliance with speed limits or fatigue laws; and
a driver failing to record relevant information in their work
diary immediately after commencing work.
Electronic work diaries (EWDs)
Although EWDs are referred to in the HVNL, no electronic work
diaries are currently approved under the legislation. The changes
to the HVNL are intended to facilitate use of EWDs. EWDs are an
alternative to the written work diaries used by fatigue regulated
heavy vehicle drivers to record work and rest hours.
The goal is for EWDs to automatically record work and rest
periods for drivers and to alert drivers when mandatory rest
periods must be taken. Operators will have access to their
drivers' work and rest records in real time through wireless
technology, allowing better management of fatigue-related risk.
The amendments to the HVNL create a number of new offences that
a person who tampers with a vehicle modification plate or label
affixed to a heavy vehicle; and
a person who drives or operates a heavy vehicle without the
required mass or dimension exemption.
The changes to the HVNL come into effect on a date to be fixed
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This decision will be significant to aviation industry participants in assessing whether claimants in the context of international or domestic carriage by air have commenced claims in an appropriate forum in Australia.
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