Committee set to review penalties

UNDER REVIEW: Proposed national penalty changes under the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator will be reviewed by a Queensland parliamentary committee.
UNDER REVIEW: Proposed national penalty changes under the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator will be reviewed by a Queensland parliamentary committee.

THE Transport Housing and Local Government Committee will review the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator's proposed national penalties for truckies.

But drivers have already have a win with on the spot fines for log book offences dropping to $150 nationally in the Heavy Vehicle National Law Amendment Bill, which was tabled in parliament last week.

Previously the fines in Queensland have been around the $600 mark.

Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson moved that the committee consider the appropriateness of the penalties after the amendment bill was read for the first time and referred to the same committee.

"Generally, penalties in the heavy vehicle national law appear consistent with the current penalties applicable in Queensland, but I want to be sure that the penalties are fair and do not result in an unreasonable burden on the heavy vehicle industry in Queensland," Mr Emerson said.

The Heavy Vehicle National Law Amendment Bill will refine 12 previous "model laws" into one law that will "reduce red tape and greatly improve productivity".

While introducing the law, Mr Emerson said the amendment contained policy refinements and technical amendments as well as significant improvements, including nationally consistent maximum penalties.

Mr Emerson also said the amendment bill saw executive officer liability offences separate to chain or responsibility and ensured liability for corporate fault was not applied to an individual unfairly or unreasonably.

He assured fellow politicians Queensland's practical approach to "operational realities" and access to the network would not be diminished.

"I can reassure my colleagues, all local productivity initiatives currently enjoyed by Queensland, such as the livestock volumetric loading and grain harvest management schemes, will be retained following implementation of this legislation," he said.

"In fact, a key role of the regulator will be to review such initiatives nationally with a view to expanding them to other suitable areas of the country to further promote productivity improvements Australia-wide.

"The resulting application of productivity initiatives on a national basis, rather than state by state, will yield efficiency gains and a reduction in the cost of regulation."

Not every state agrees with the proposed laws."Under the national law, all states and territories, with the exception of Western Australia, will adopt the national fatigue laws when this legislation is applied in their jurisdiction," Mr Emerson said.

"National fatigue laws have been the subject of extensive expert advice and industry consultation and are considered to provide an appropriate balance between flexibility and productivity opportunities for industry, while managing the road safety risks of driver fatigue.

"Western Australia has indicated it will not adopt the national law in so far as it applies to fatigue management of heavy vehicles."

Submissions on the amendment bill to the committee close on December 7.

Topics:  nhvr transport

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