ALRTA escalates fight to protect COR

Lobby group trying to rally drivers and operators to support maintaining chain of responsibility provisions under national regulations

By Brad Gardner | August 29, 2012

The country’s truck operators and drivers are being asked to lend their weight to the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association’s (ALRTA) chain of responsibility campaign.

The group is lobbying governments to ensure chain of responsibility laws are not weakened under national heavy vehicle regulations and wants individuals and companies to contact the Queensland Government to voice their support for them.

Policy makers have cut the number of provisions where the likes of directors, CEOs and senior managers can be held accountable, prompting ALRTA President John Beer to claim last week a government attempt to weaken chain of responsibility was underway.

"Every person in the industry should be reaching out to the Queensland Government to explain to them how important COR is," ALRTA Executive Director Philip Halton says.

"It doesn’t matter whether you’re in Queensland or not, make yourself known to the Queensland Premier [Campbell Newman]. Send him a letter, send him an e-mail, send him a phone call and tell him that chain of responsibility is fundamentally important."

Provisions where executive liability applies have so far been reduced from 350 to 160 in what National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) Project Director Richard Hancock says is designed to address the concerns of the Australian Trucking Association (ATA).

The ATA wants the reverse onus of proof under chain of responsibility scrapped so that anyone charged with an offence is innocent until proven guilty.

"So the law has been reviewed to take away the most objectionable aspects of it. Executive officers are no longer automatically liable for every offence from the failure of a driver to carry a permit to a serious fatigue breach," Hancock told a Queensland parliamentary committee earlier this month.

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