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National truck law amendments

17 February 2012

The ATA has proposed a series of amendments to the national truck laws. Under these amendments, the directors and managers of other businesses would have the same rights as other Australians: they would be innocent until proven guilty of offences under the laws. The amendments are in the ATA’s submission to the Queensland parliamentary inquiry into the national laws.

ATA Chief Executive Stuart St Clair said the amendments needed to be considered by the NHVR project office, the NTC and the Australian, state and territory governments.

“The proposed amendments would markedly improve the current draft laws. They are vital for the future of our industry. They would improve safety, make laws fairer and enable the industry to achieve $7 billion in productivity gains,” Stuart said.

“Australia’s governments must not wait for the Queensland state election to consider our amendments. They are now working on a second Bill to fix problems with the current draft laws. Our amendments must be included in this second Bill.”

The ATA’s proposed amendments would:

  • guarantee that the second Bill with its vital amendments would take effect at the same time as the current draft laws;
  • provide that trucking business owners and managers are innocent until proven guilty;
  • improve safety by imposing positive duties on businesses and individuals to prevent overloading;
  • prohibit contracts or requests that would cause or encourage a breach of the mass, dimension or load restraint requirements;
  • provide that dockets from a licensed weighbridge or records from an approved weighing device are conclusive proof of the weight of a vehicle;
  • add teeth to the requirement that road managers must make road access decisions within a specified time; and
  • enable applicants for road access to appeal local council and other road manager decisions to an independent, external review body.

The ATA developed the amendments after commissioning extensive legal advice and legislative drafting from Lord Commercial Lawyers and its special counsel, Tony Hulett.