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‘Journey’ ends in 2018 for executive officer reforms

November 24, 2016

Acting Chief Executive of the National Transport Commission (NTC) Dr Geoff Allan said transport ministers had approved the NTC’s recommendation for this second phase of executive officer reforms.

These further reforms will amend the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) to extend the due diligence obligation to cover all offences executive officers currently have liability for under the HVNL.

“We have been on a journey to restructure aspects of Australia’s HVNL chain of responsibility (CoR) and executive officer liability requirements to improve the safety and productivity of road transport operations, and remove ambiguity around personal liability for corporate fault without adding unnecessary costs to business,” Dr Allan said.

“These reforms are based on extensive consultation with industry and other stakeholders, as well as the assessment of impacts on safety outcomes and compliance costs.

“This approach to executive officer liability is more consistent with Australia’s workplace health and safety laws, making it easier for industry to understand, and comply with their obligations.”

There will be a single commencement date for the CoR and executive officer liability reforms in early to mid-2018, subject to passage through the Queensland Parliament.

This month, transport ministers also agreed that there will be no changes to existing legislation in relation to the speeding of heavy vehicles as a result of a review conducted on current enforcement approaches.

Changes to HVNL a step closer

As noted in the December issue of CoR Adviser, Queensland’s Minister for Transport, Stirling Hinchliffe, introduced to Queensland Parliament a Bill for an Act to amend the HVNL, recommending replacing the term ‘take all reasonable steps’ with ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’, to better communicate the requirement of compliance while maintaining a reasonable excuse defence.

Minister Hinchliffe said the changes to the HVNL would bring it into line with the primary duties approach taken in other national safety legislation, including the model work health and safety law and the Rail Safety National Law.

“These reforms amend the national law so that each party in the CoR has a primary duty of care, so far as reasonably practicable, to ensure the safety of their transport activities. In addition, executive officers are required to exercise due diligence to ensure their operations comply with this primary duty,” the Minister said.

What do the changes mean for you?

Not sure of your current CoR responsibilities as an executive officer? Not knowing is fraught with danger as the mistakes you could be making could affect you financially.

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