ALRTA seeks clarity on livestock CoR duties

The Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association (ALRTA) has lodged a submission in response to the National Transport Commission's (NTC) discussion paper on load restraint and effluent.

The NTC developed the discussion paper after ALRTA representatives convinced a Queensland Parliamentary Committee that the application of Chain of Responsibility (CoR) to effluent-related load restraint was severely deficient and required clarification.

The NTC discussion paper proposed to: Clarify the application of CoR duties for parties in the livestock supply chain; and allow for minor, incidental and unavoidable (in any practical sense) spills that do not compromise the overriding safety objectives of the load restraint options.

ALRTA has made the following recommendations in response:

Recommendation 1: Ministers should support NTC Option 2 – Amend section 111 to specifically include other chain of responsibility parties. If this is not supported, NTC Option 1 should be implemented instead.
Recommendation 2: An infringement notice regime should be implemented to support either Option 1 or Option 2.
Recommendation 3: Ministers should support NTC Option 3 – Allow for a minor, incidental or unavoidable loss of part of a load.
Recommendation 4: If Ministers do not support the application of CoR to effluent related load restraint offences, a new category of exemption should be created specifying that any effluent loss from a heavy vehicle loaded with livestock does not constitute a load restraint offence.

“Our first preference is for clear and effective chain of responsibility that will compel persons preparing livestock for road transport to consider the impact of their practices on effluent generation and consequential load restraint risk,” ALRTA said in a statement. 

“If agreed, this will help to reduce the amount of effluent that must be managed by transport operators after entering road corridors.

“This must also be supported by recognising in the [Heavy Vehicle National Law] HVNL that some effluent generation and loss is unavoidable due to the nature of live animals and the need for ventilated crates. If agreed, minor loss with no impact on safety would no longer be an offence. Importantly, this concept would also apply to other types of loads such as hay, cotton, grain, wet gravel etc.

“We expect that livestock producers will resist any attempt to apply CoR to animal preparation.  It would be blatantly unfair to leave the current situation unchanged wherein drivers are held solely responsible for effluent loss.  If Ministers will not agree to properly apply CoR as intended by the HVNL, we have recommended that the NZ regulatory model be adopted in Australia instead.

“Under the NZ model, the definition of ‘load’ specifically exempts wastes generated by animals being carried on a heavy vehicle.  While this approach will not help encourage curfews, it would at least reduce the driver’s exposure to prosecution while loaded.”

The NTC is expected to make recommendations for consideration at the November 2018 meeting of the Transport and Infrastructure Ministerial Council.

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