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Chain of responsibility law reform for Australia’s transport industry is a step closer with the release today of a National Transport Commission (NTC) discussion paper detailing the proposed specific requirements of participants in the supply chain.

Duties For Key Roles Proposed in Chain of Responsibility Reforms

8 July 2015

Chain of responsibility law reform for Australia’s transport industry is a step closer with the release today of a National Transport Commission (NTC) discussion paper detailing the proposed specific requirements of participants in the supply chain.

In-principle support was given by Australia’s federal, state and territory transport ministers in May this year for reforms to chain of responsibility laws to provide a more outcomes based approach focused on primary duties.

Ministers also agreed to better align chain of responsibility requirements with Australian workplace health and safety laws to reduce duplication and inconsistencies for industry.

NTC Chief Executive Paul Retter said the proposed reform would allow operators to work out the best approach for their company.

“This reform will provide an opportunity to consolidate or remove more prescriptive obligations in the law, helping industry remain compliant while potentially reducing costs,” Mr Retter said.

“In May, Ministers acknowledged the reforms were an opportunity to better clarify roles and obligations of all chain of responsibility parties, and executive officers.

“This discussion paper provides stakeholders with an opportunity to comment on draft proposals that are planned to be considered by ministers later this year, and is one of the final stages of consultation,” Mr Retter said.

Consultation over the past three years with industry, governments and regulators has included a taskforce established in 2012, options paper in 2013, and a high level discussion paper in late 2014 which resulted in the framework receiving in-principle support from ministers.

The NTC’s Discussion Paper Primary Duties for Chain of Responsibility Parties and Executive Officer Liability provides draft proposals and canvasses options for:

  • how a primary duty on operators, prime contractors and employers could be structured to ensure the safety of their transport operations;
  • how role specific duties of other parties could be structured;
  • the standard of care to be applied;
  • the relationship of primary duties to existing chain of responsibility offences;
  • penalties; and
  • how the reforms could be applied to executive officers of corporations.

Stakeholders are invited to provide submissions on the draft proposals set out in the discussion paper via the NTC website. Closing date for submissions is 4pm Friday 7 August 2015.

Feedback from stakeholder submissions will inform a policy position paper to be considered by ministers in November this year.

Last Updated: 18/11/2016