The Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 was recently introduced into the Queensland Parliament. The Bill extends executive officers’ due diligence obligation under the new chain of responsibility laws, which are set to commence in mid-2018.

In December 2016, Parliament passed amendments to the HVNL to introduce a new regime that imposes a ‘primary duty’ on all businesses in the ‘chain of responsibility’ and a ‘due diligence’ obligation on all executive officers to ensure their businesses comply with the primary duty. The 2018 Bill extends the ‘due diligence’ obligation by requiring executive officers to exercise due diligence to ensure their businesses comply with all major safety related duties in the HVNL. The amendments will make the HVNL more consistent with the model Work Health and Safety legislation already in force across most Australian states.

The 2018 Bill also makes provision for the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to create and maintain a database of heavy vehicles. This database will allow for the identification of a heavy vehicle (and its operator) registered under the HVNL (as enacted in each participating jurisdiction).

Implications for transport operators

The chain of responsibility amendments are designed to streamline legislation relating to executive officer liability.

As we head towards the commencement of the new chain of responsibility regime, scheduled for mid-2018, transport operators and other parties in the chain should familiarise themselves with the new obligations that will be imposed on both businesses and their executive officers.

Where to from here?

The Bill is currently before the Queensland Parliament and has been referred by the Minister to the Transport and Public Works Committee for consideration. Given the new chain of responsibility regime is expected to commence by proclamation in mid-2018, it is anticipated that the new provisions in the 2018 Bill will be enacted before that time.

Once passed by the Queensland Parliament, the amendments will be adopted by the other participating jurisdictions.