The new chain of responsibility regime involves three separate pieces of amending legislation. So, what does each piece of legislation do?
Phase 1 – introducing new regime
In December 2016, Parliament passed amendments to the Heavy Vehicle National Law 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 amendments were originally expected to commence in mid-2018. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has recently announced that the amendments will now commence on 1 October 2018.
Phase 2 – extending ‘due diligence’ obligation
In June 2018, Parliament passed further amendments to the Heavy Vehicle National Law. These further amendments extend 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 Heavy Vehicle National Law. The amendments will make the HVNL more consistent with the model Work Health and Safety legislation already in force across most Australian states.
These amendments will commence on 1 October 2018, alongside Phase 1.
Phase 3 – enlarging investigative and enforcement powers
Parliament is currently considering a Bill to significantly enlarge the investigative and enforcement powers of authorised officers under the Heavy Vehicle National Law. Some of the proposed changes in the Bill are set out in the table here.
On 28 June 2018, the Queensland Transportation and Public Works Committee tabled its report in Parliament recommending that the Bill be passed. The Bill is expected to be passed by Parliament in the next couple of months and to commence on 1 October 2018, alongside Phases 1 and 2.