ATA Chief Executive, Stuart St Clair, has called for the amendment of the draft national truck laws to impose stronger safety duties on businesses and create a fair business environment throughout the industry.
“The ATA submission proposes six sets of amendments to make the chain of responsibility provisions in the bill stronger and fairer,” St Clair said.
“Under chain of responsibility, which is already in the existing state laws, all the parties in the supply chain have legal obligations to prevent breaches of the road transport laws. This includes trucking operators, schedulers and even the industry’s customers.
“For example, it is illegal for a business that hires a trucking company to demand contract terms that would require a driver to speed or work while fatigued.
“The ATA strongly supports chain of responsibility. Over time, robust chain of responsibility laws will drive the cowboys out of the industry and stop our customers from making demands that can’t be met without breaking the law.
“Our amendments would also ensure that company directors, officers, the members of business partnerships and the managers of unincorporated businesses are innocent of chain of responsibility offences until proven guilty.
“Our submission recommends that trucking business owners and managers should be innocent until proven guilty, like other defendants in court. This would also align road transport law with work health and safety law, where the prosecution bears the burden of proving its case.
St Clair said the submission also recommended that dissatisfied applicants for road access should have the right to appeal to an independent, external review body.