The chain of responsibility provisions in the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) are currently under review.
In July 2015, the National Transport Commission (NTC) published a discussion paper entitled Primary Duties for Chain of Responsibility Parties and Executive Officer Liability. The report proposes a number of options for reform including:
- imposing a primary duty on operators, prime contractors and employers to ensure the safety of road transport operations;
- imposing role specific duties on other chain of responsibility parties to reflect their responsibilities and influence on road transport operations;
- replacing the standard of care presently required by the HVNL of ‘all reasonable steps’ with ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’;
- increasing the penalties for a breach of the HVNL to better align with comparable offences under the model WHS and Rail Safety National Law; and
- clarifying the relationship between the chain of reasonability provisions under the HVNL and other work health safety legislation.
Stakeholder submissions on the draft proposals in the report closed on 7 August 2015. Ministers will consider the NTC’s policy recommendations in November 2015. Subject to the ministers’ agreement, a Bill to amend the HVNL will then be prepared for ministers’ consideration in May 2016.