The Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation
Amendment Bill 2016 is currently before the Queensland Parliament
and due to be debated on 29 November 2016. The Bill has already
been considered by the Parliament's Transportation and
Utilities Committee, which recommended enacting the reforms. If
passed, the amendments are likely to commence across all states and
territories (other than Western Australia and the Northern
Territory) in late 2017.
Queensland is the host jurisdiction for the Heavy Vehicle
National Law. If passed, the amendments will automatically roll out
to other participating jurisdictions by way of each state and
territory applying the uniform law.
When will the changes commence?
Once passed, the amendments will commence on a date set by
proclamation. While this date has not yet been fixed, the National
Transport Commission has proposed an implementation period of 12
months before the amendments come into effect to allow regulators
and industry participants to educate themselves and their staff and
to put in place systems to ensure compliance.
How is the regime changing?
The proposed amendments significantly alter the current regime
and impose a 'primary duty' on all parties in the chain of
responsibility to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the
safety of road transport activities. The new provisions also impose
significant maximum penalties, comparable to those in other
national safety laws. The hierarchy of penalties is based on the
nature of each risk and the actual harm or damage caused. The most
serious category of breach attracts a maximum penalty of $300,000
or five years' prison (or both) for individuals and $3 million
Once the amendments are passed, Cooper Grace Ward will be
hosting various webinars and training sessions to discuss the new
provisions and the effects on the road transport industry and other
participants in the supply chain.
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The Australian High Court was recently given an opportunity to consider the reach of the Damage by Aircraft Act 1999 (Cth) in the cases of ACQ Pty Limited v Cook and Aircare Moree Pty Limited v Cook (both of which were heard together).
Given the importance on both contracts and terms of consignment under the HVNL, the safest way is to put it in writing.
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