Dangerous Goods (Transport by Road and Rail) – The new Regulations

30 October 2018

Victoria’s new Dangerous Goods (Transport by Road and Rail) Regulations came into effect on 25 October 2018.

What are ‘dangerous goods’?

The term ‘dangerous goods’ encapsulates items such an ammunition, gunpowder, signals, and some chemicals.

This list is not exhaustive. A detailed and full list of exactly what items constitute ‘dangerous goods’ can be found at section 3.2.3 of the Australian Dangerous Goods Code.

Why the change?

Before 25 October 2018, the transportation of dangerous goods by road and rail was governed by the 2008 Regulations.

Although the Victorian Regulations were already of a particularly high standard, the new Regulations reflect changes that have been implemented Australia-wide.

Who do the changes affect?

Unsurprisingly, the changes will affect anyone and all bodies involved in the transportation of dangerous goods. This is the case even where dangerous goods are transported in limited quantities.

More specifically, the amendments impact those that:

  1. use a dangerous goods vehicle;
  2. hold a dangerous goods driver’s licence;
  3. transport dangerous goods of a lower risk;
  4. transport cylinders;
  5. carry parts of ammonium nitrate-based explosives to manufacturing plants;
  6. are part of packaging design;
  7. carry ‘empty dangerous goods packaging’; and/or
  8. wish to seek exemption, administrative determination or approval.

What do the 2018 Regulations look like?

The 2018 Regulations set out the obligations for those who are involved in the transportation of dangerous goods over land. They aim is to align Victorian law with the Australian Dangerous Goods Code.

Although many of the Regulations remain unchanged, by way of summary, the 2018 Regulations:

  1. prescribe new fees in relation to licences, design packaging approval (both non-bulk tanker and bulk tanker), administrative determinations and approvals, and exemptions;
  2. set out fees in ‘fee units’, rather than dollar amounts, for the purposes of annual indexing;
  3. define ‘empty dangerous goods packaging’, ‘motor vehicle’, ‘mobile processing unit’, ‘packed in excepted quantities’, ‘rail vehicle’, ‘road vehicle’ and ‘special provision’;
  4. contain minor numbering amendments;
  5. take away the ‘double up’ obligations in respect of explosive component transport;
  6. change regulations relating to explosives; and
  7. amend the law when it comes to the storing and handling of dangerous goods.

Offences and Determinations

Pursuant to section 29 of the Regulations, if a person suspects or reasonably ought to suspect that certain goods fall within the definition of ‘dangerous goods’, that person must not consign or transport the goods until:

  1. the goods have been classified in accordance with the Australian Dangerous Goods Code; or
  2. a determination has been made by the Authority in relation to the goods.
  3. If contravened, this provision carries a fine of up to 35 penalty units for an individual (currently, $5,641.65) and up to 175 penalty units for a corporation (currently, $28,208.25).

Actioning the changes

All individuals and companies involved in the transportation of dangerous goods should familiarise themselves with the amendments as soon as possible. This will assist you to decrease the possibility of accidental contravention.

For further information on what constitutes dangerous goods, the new Regulations and determinations, contact Hentys. We can provide you with tailored advice in relation to your specific circumstances, and ensure your compliance.