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Staged approach to COR reform not popular with jurisdictions

Queensland and Victoria want changes to COR delivered in one package.


Planned changes to chain of responsibility law should be delivered in one package, Queensland and Victoria have told the National Transport Commission (NTC).

Both jurisdictions have cautioned against delivering reform in tranches, which is a move NTC CEO Paul Retter flagged as a possibility last month.

The NTC is due to submit a final policy proposal to the country’s transport ministers in November on ways to improve the COR framework.

“The Department of Transport and Main Roads is concerned that the timeline that the NTC is presently working to, if maintained, will mean that CoR reform will have to be delivered in tranches,” Queensland Transport and Main Roads executive director Paul Alsbury writes in a submission to the NTC.

“This would not be an ideal outcome for governments or industry and [transport] Ministers should be advised in November about two options – what can be delivered under the current timeline and the more comprehensive and coordinated suite of reform that could be delivered with more time.”

VicRoads director of network and policy standards Helen Lindner has lodged similar comments with the NTC and says the department supports the introduction of primary, or general, duties for parties in the supply chain.

“To effectively implement the new primary duty regime, VicRoads considers that the national agreed changes should be delivered as an integrated package and should not be broken down into components to be delivered as a staged approach,” Lindner writes.

“The changes supported by VicRoads constitute a significant body of work which will require time, thought and effort to develop. Sufficient time needs to be allocated to this task to minimise the risk of errors in the legislative changes and to minimise the possibility of unintended consequences.”

Alsbury wants the changes introduced alongside guidance material to ensure the trucking industry and government agencies understand their obligations.

“Guidelines on how to comply must be delivered at the same time as legislative changes,” Alsbury writes.

Lindner says small trucking operators should receive help to ensure they understand what primary duties means for their business.  

“VicRoads acknowledges that a key to introducing the primary duty is the provision of clear and timely information and training for industry. Small operators will be impacted in particular and will need targeted support,” Lindner says.

“VicRoads recommends that registered industry codes of practice be developed and made available to industry prior to the commencement of the primary duty provisions of the law to assist industry to understand and prepare for the new regime.”


Photography: Brad Gardner

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