Mainfreight Distribution Pty Ltd (Mainfreight) and Owens Transport Pty Ltd (Owens) were recently fined by the Local Court of New South Wales $7,500 and $12,000 respectively for breaches of the Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Regulation 2014 (NSW). Each company was also ordered to pay $15,000 for the Environment Protection Authority's (EPA) legal costs.

The convictions were treated by the EPA as a reminder to freight distribution companies of the potential endangerment of drivers and third parties arising when dangerous goods are transported in an unsafe manner. The convictions arose out of:

  • Mainfreight's failure to properly secure its goods (approximately 3,664 kg of aerosol) and transporting the goods without required equipment; and
  • Owen's failure to provide appropriate vehicle loading supervision and its driver with compliant transport documentation.1

The convictions bring to the fore the amendments to the Australian Dangerous Goods Code which apply by force of Edition 7.5 with Edition 7.4 being phased out by 28 February 2018. With this the freight industry, amongst others, will be expected to adapt their practices to comply with the new Code's changes to:

  • substances which have been added to the Dangerous Goods List
  • lithium battery requirements
  • aerosol packing requirements
  • classifications of dangerous substances
  • packing instructions and labelling requirements
  • treating substances to reduce safety risks during transportation
  • testing requirements for quality assurance.

Edition 7.5 of the Code is available at the National Transport Commission website here.


1 EPA successfully prosecutes two freight companies for dangerous goods transport breaches

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