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New logistics whitepaper highlights chain of responsibility obligations in the supply chain

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The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and National Transport Commission have released a discussion paper on Chain of Responsibility (COR), which illustrates the accountability of all supply chain parties, including directors and senior management.

Michael Kilgariff, ALC Managing Director explains that COR is the legal foundation upon which supply chain safety is maintained and strengthened; it is therefore essential the new Heavy Vehicle National Law contains robust COR provisions that are effective, appropriate and fair. As the peak industry body for the freight logistics industry, ALC has provided input to the discussion paper.

According to Mr Kilgariff, the Heavy Vehicle National Law, which comes into effect nationally later this year, needs to undergo thorough scrutiny to examine whether its COR provisions require any revisions. 

ALC’s involvement has also focussed on the critical role played by industry codes of practice such as the National Logistics Safety Code in assisting industry members to manage their COR obligations. ALC developed the National Logistics Safety Code to provide industry with a simple, equitable and effective way to improve and maintain safety across the supply chain.

Mr Kilgariff adds that the Code applies to the wide range of activities within the supply chain, including COR, fatigue, speeding and load management, and assists signatories to implement positive actions to prevent breaches of the law.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator has confirmed that Codes of Practice already registered in states and territories will transition to the HVNL and continue to have their current status in the state/territory in which they were registered.

The National Logistics Safety Code of Practice has been officially registered as a code of practice under Victoria’s Road Safety Act 1986 and will therefore be formally recognised under the Heavy Vehicle National Law. Receiving formal recognition under the Heavy Vehicle National Law as a ‘reasonable steps defence’ will provide Code participants with greater assurance that they are meeting their COR obligations.

Mr Kilgariff said that three industry-specific codes form part of the National Logistics Safety Code: the Retail Logistics Supply Chain Code of Practice, Coal Seam Gas Logistics Safety Code and the Australian Steel Industry Logistics Safety Code. ALC will make announcements in the near future on expanding the code to a number of new sectors.

A copy of the discussion paper can be accessed online on the National Transport Commission website.

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