In a ‘blink and you might have missed it’ moment, the Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 (Qld) has been tabled.
The Bill’s primary purpose is to expand the executive liability provisions of the passed but as yet not commenced Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Amendment Legislation Amendment Act 2016 (HVNL Amendment Act).
Presently, executives have a duty to exercise due diligence to ensure that their business complies with its primary safety duty to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the safety of its transport activities.
The Bill expands this executive duty, extending the ‘due diligence’ requirement to all major safety duties under the HVNL Amendment Act, including, for example, the business duties not to make prohibited requests or contracts, not to permit unsafe heavy vehicles to be used on a road and not to record any false or misleading information in transport or journey documentation.
As a result, executives will not only have a high-level duty to ensure that their businesses are conducting themselves in compliance with the HVNL, but will also have a large number of supplementary duties to ensure that their businesses are complying with a range of specific, lower-level obligations.
The executive due diligence duty is independent, meaning that if the executive does not proactively take steps to perform its duty, the executive can still be prosecuted for breach even if no incident or accident arises.
If passed, the amendments contained in the Bill will come into effect immediately after the commencement of the HVNL Amendment Act, the commencement date for which is still not fixed but remains ‘mid-2018’.