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Have your say on round two of EO liability reforms

March 3, 2016

On Wednesday 2 March, the National Transport Commission (NTC) released a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) identifying several options that will alter current Heavy Vehicle National Law requirements on executive officers. It is now calling on industry feedback to help formulate phase two of the reforms.

In the past, our CoR Adviser subscriber newsletter has covered, in great depth, your liability as an executive officer (see cover story CoR Adviser October 2015).

In this latest RIS, Chief Executive of the NTC Paul Retter said this second phase of reforms would provide options to remove inconsistencies and complexities in the HNVL. One of the options contained in this RIS is the possible extension of executive officer due diligence obligations to additional offences where other parties currently have a duty or obligation under the law.

The first phase of reforms to executive officer liability was completed in 2015.

Retter recognised the key role executive officers of corporations play in ensuring that their companies operated safely and was conscious of the need to remove red tape that might hinder their approach to safety in the heavy vehicle industry.

He hoped the suggested options would make it easier for corporations to proactively manage their safety risks and comply with the law.

“Ultimately it is about making our roads safer,” he said.

Phase one

The first phase of reforms, agreed to by government ministers in November 2015, introduced a due diligence obligation for executive officers to ensure chain of responsibility (CoR) parties complied with their primary duty to keep their road transport operations safe.

For this second phase, the NTC would “welcome any feedback on these options and any additional information about potential impacts on compliance costs and safety,” Retter said. Submissions close 5pm, 22 April 2016.

Explanation of Executive Officer liability

Executive officer liability refers to the personal liability imposed on individuals who are concerned with, or who take part in, managing corporations. It makes executive officers responsible for decisions they make that might harm others.

Under CoR laws, for example, executive officers are responsible for putting processes in place to ensure that loads are adequately restrained and that a driver’s schedule allows for adequate rest, and that mass and speed limits are not exceeded.
CoR Adviser Editor-in-Chief Geoff Farnsworth, a transport law expert and partner at Holding Redlich Lawyers, will keep subscribers up to date with any further developments in EO liabilities under CoR laws.

Be among the first to know how to deal with any changes in your CoR obligations by subscribing to the CoR Adviser today.

Click here to find out more and to download a copy of the RIS.