Following the release of the NTC Discussion Paper on Primary Duties for Chain of Responsibility Parties and Executive Officer Liability the ALRTA has made a submission to the NTC in response.
The ALRTA said they worked closely with the ATA to come up with an industry response supporting a switch to a primary duty of care on all parties within the chain. These duties are much like those that already apply to businesses under work health and safety laws (WH&S).
These duties would mean that all parties within the supply chain must take proactive steps to identify safety risks and mitigate them, rather than what we are seeing at the moment where parties only address the risks after an accident takes place.
In an article on BigRigs.com.au the most significant changes that are likely to occur under the ALRTA submission were discussed, that is parties will be presumed innocent rather than presumed guilty.
The reverse onus of proof will be removed, which will require other changes in order to “re-balance” laws. That will mean that more evidence will be required in cases against parties in the chain and prosecutors will also need new investigative powers in order to prove their case.
Another change that is likely to occur is an increase in penalties to bring them in line with those accepted under WH&S laws.
In their submission the ALRTA said that the industry will need an opportunity to consider changes to investigation powers to ensure they don’t “over-step the mark”.
They also asked the NTC to consider the implications of increased penalties on small and medium transport operators because these entities make up the majority of the industry.
With its primary focus on law reform, it would be necessary to enhance the capacity of enforcement authorities to prosecute chain parties for effluent load restraint breaches.
The ALRTA highlighted that Chain of responsibility came into existence to ensure that all parties that control or influence on-road behaviour be identified and held responsible, yet this is not being applied for effluent.
In regards to the submission’s suggestions on effluent load restraint breaches, the article explained,
It is widely recognised that the primary mechanism for reducing effluent production in transit is the application of appropriate livestock feed and water curfews prior to loading.
But as we all know, livestock carriers are being held solely and unfairly responsible for the acts and omissions of other parties in the supply chain – namely, the person or entity responsible for preparing livestock for transport.
The intent of the HVNL is clear. Animals are defined as ‘goods’ under the law and effluent loss is dealt with as a load restraint breach.
At the moment uncertainty about whether or not a person preparing animals for transport is a party under the chain of responsibility definition is hampering successful prosecution.
The ALRTA’s submission argues that changes to the construction of the definition of consignor and packer are needed to remove any ambiguity.
The ALRTA together with the NTC are working to clarify the duties of those preparing livestock for transport under the Load Restraint Guide, which does have a section on “live loads” but fails to address effluent.
Read more at: http://www.bigrigs.com.au