From Monday 1 October, people in the trucking industry will have the same rights as other Australians. They will be innocent till proven guilty of chain of responsibility offences.
In NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT, people in the trucking industry chain of responsibility are assumed to be guilty of many offences and must prove their innocence.
From Monday, when major reforms to the law come into force, they will be innocent till proven guilty.
ATA Chair Geoff Crouch said the reforms will improve the industry’s safety.
“There will be a strong general safety duty on everyone in the road freight chain of responsibility, including customers, and massively increased maximum penalties. There will also be a personal due diligence obligation on business directors and executives, so they can’t ignore potential safety issues,” Mr Crouch said.
“These safety requirements will be matched by increased fairness. Under the reforms, the prosecution will have to prove its case in court. That’s the way Australians expect our legal system to work and the way it needs to work.
“I believe this reform package is one of the ATA’s greatest achievements, along with the introduction of comprehensive fuel tax credits in 2006 and the 2016 repeal of the Gillard Government’s attempt to fix prices and drive owner-drivers out of the industry.”
Mr Crouch said the next step in the reforms would be the release of the master code developed by the ATA and the Australian Logistics Council.
“The master code will provide trucking businesses and industry customers with clear guidance on how to comply with the law,” he said.
“At the 2018 Technology and Maintenance Conference, to be held in the Melbourne docklands from 15-17 October, delegates will take a deep dive into its guidance on maintenance risk management.”
Mr Crouch said the work on reforming the Heavy Vehicle National Law needed to continue.
“The rest of the HVNL needs to be pulled apart and redone, starting with the prescriptive work and rest hours for drivers and the road access arrangements for trucks,” he said