Page 3775 - Week 12 - Thursday, 24 October 2013

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gives full effect to the Heavy Vehicle National Law (ACT) Bill 2013—the application bill. The consequential amendments bill and the application bill form a package, and both bills need to be passed before the national law can be commenced. This two-bill approach allows the consequential amendments bill to be removed from the statute book once its amendments have commenced, ensuring that the ACT statute book is user friendly and of high quality.

Passage of the two bills will enable the territory to fulfil its commitments under the Council of Australian Governments intergovernmental agreement on heavy vehicle regulatory reform—the IGA. Under that agreement, jurisdictions agreed to the establishment of a national scheme for safety and road access regulation for heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonnes across Australia.

The purpose of the application bill is to apply in the ACT the national law that establishes a nation-wide system of heavy vehicle regulation, governed by one national law that brings together model legislation developed through national heavy vehicle regulatory reforms over the last 20 years. This includes registration, fatigue management, accreditation schemes, mass dimensions and loading limits, compliance requirements and enforcement powers for all heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonnes.

The consequential amendments bill primarily amends the suite of legislation known as the road transport legislation. Amendments to that legislation remove the heavy vehicle matters now covered in the national law and its application bill. In particular, matters only relevant to heavy vehicles, heavy vehicle sanctions and the chain of responsibility concept have been removed. To that end the bill repeals the Road Transport (Mass, Dimensions and Loading) Act 2009, the Road Transport (Mass, Dimensions and Loading) Regulation 2010 and legislative instruments made under that act. However, a range of ACT road transport laws will continue to apply in relation to heavy vehicles, including drink and drug driving, careless and dangerous driving, excessive speed and the Australian road rule requirements which are outside the ambit of the national law.

In some cases where there were equivalent enforcement powers in the national law and the ACT road transport legislation, the powers in the ACT laws have been amended to apply to light vehicles only. Other powers continue to apply to both light and heavy vehicles as it is necessary to have powers to enforce the offences that continue to apply to both types of vehicles.

To ensure the heavy vehicle national law scheme operates consistently across participating jurisdictions, jurisdictions have agreed that only Queensland administrative law should apply to the new National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, which is based in Brisbane. The national law specifically applies the Queensland Information Privacy Act 2009, the Queensland Public Records Act and the Queensland Right to Information Act to the regulator. Consequently, the ACT freedom of information and privacy laws will not apply to the regulator, nor will government procurement, annual reporting, audit and financial management requirements, although they will still apply to territory entities exercising functions under the heavy vehicle national law or under agreements with the regulator or by delegation.

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