Chain of Responsibility changes commence

Ensuring greater safety through Australia’s transport supply chain is the focus of changes to Chain of Responsibility laws which took effect from 1 October.

Consultation to amend the laws started in 2015 with the National Transport Commission engaging in talks to gather feedback from regulatory agencies and industry groups throughout Australia.

The Australian Government also invested more than $800,000 through the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiatives project over two years to fund an education campaign to ensure supply chain participants understand their obligations under the altered laws.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack acknowledged the changes coming into effect, saying they were designed with safety the primary consideration.

“The Chain of Responsibility changes make clear that responsibility for minimising potential risk lies with everybody across the supply chain, not just drivers and operators out on the road,” said Mr McCormack.

“We all have an obligation to making sure everyone has a safe workplace, whether we drive a truck, load up pallets, organise rosters, arrange for our produce or livestock to go from one place to another, or even run a company.”

Councils that use heavy vehicles to facilitate the provision of services to their communities bear responsibilities under the Chain of Responsibility laws and so must comply with the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) ­– even if the council doesn’t own the vehicle. Therefore, like any other party in the transport supply chain, responsibility must be taken for preventing breaches of mass, dimension and loading, fatigue, speed and vehicle standards (maintenance) laws.

Councils can avoid breaches of the HVNL by taking the following steps:

  • Ensuring all loads are within legal limits and properly restrained
  • If you’re using council trucks, make sure they’re maintained to a roadworthy standard
  • Train employees so they understand their obligations and are empowered to act
  • Work with contractors so that you and they fully understand the requirements of the law and how your activities may affect safe freight operations
  • Make sure business practices, risk management processes and controls are in place to ensure safe operations and are regularly reviewed.

More information on the HVNL and Chain of Responsibility are available at the following links: