Reforms to the chain of responsibilities regime has taken a step closer with a recent release by the National Transport Commission. The NTC discussion paper details 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 and better alignment with chain of responsibility requirements in areas like WHS.
“This reform will provide an opportunity to consolidate or remove more prescriptive obligations in the law, helping industry remain compliant while potentially reducing costs,” said Paul Retter, NTC CEO. “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.”
The 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.
Submissions are invited via the NTC website, with a closing date for submissions at 4pm Friday August 7. A policy position paper can be expected by November this year.
“The ATA has long argued that the complexity and inconsistency of the existing COR provisions is a problem for industry and regulators,” said ATA CEO Christopher Melham. “We’ve previously called for duplicate provisions in the law to be removed, as well as introducing new chapter based duties to replace currently overly-prescriptive requirements. This would remove red tape and make it easier for businesses to meet their obligations under the Chain of Responsibility.
“We also welcome the proposal to better align CoR with existing workplace health and safety laws. This legislation is already well understood and implemented across the industry, and will help to make CoR clearer without affecting safety.”