Price to pay

Owner Driver - - Owner / Driver -

The court notes the high­est penalty could have been more than $ 2.1 mil­lion but re­garded the case as “midrange of­fend­ing” and the penalty in this case came to 34 per cent of the to­tal avail­able.

The case hinged on a Lake Mac­quarie Coun­cil deal for Re­mondis to han­dle the loads from the coun­cil’s Awaba Waste Man­age­ment fa­cil­ity, to be paid on weight.

Re­mondis em­ployed Jet to trans­port them from Awaba to Jet’s own fa­cil­ity us­ing a coun­cil-op­er­ated weigh­bridge.

Though the weigh­bridge dock­ets recorded in­stances of over­load­ing, these were not re­viewed or acted on.

The mag­is­trate says that though the court ac­cepted “that the re­morse is gen­uine, the chain of re­spon­si­bil­ity leg­is­la­tion un­der which Re­mondis has been pros­e­cuted com­pels that ac­tive and pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures be taken in re­la­tion to the whole process”.

“It was never open to Re­mondis to rely on Jet to be prop­erly trained and in­formed as to the over­weight ve­hi­cles, es­pe­cially when it was Re­mondis it­self that loaded the mulch, us­ing their ma­chin­ery, with­out any pro­vi­sion for each load to be mea­sured or weighed as it was go­ing into the Jet truck,” the mag­is­trate states.

The de­fence ar­gu­ment was noted that de­spite the large num­ber of of­fences, all had stemmed from a sin­gle act of crim­i­nal­ity – “whereby Re­mondis as con­signor had a flawed com­pli­ance sys­tem in place”.

“The Court has found that although that may be so, there were many ram­i­fi­ca­tions be­cause of that flaw, all the way down the trans­port chain,” the mag­is­trate states.

“I am also of the view that to de­scribe the com­pli­ance sys­tem as ‘flawed’ is some­what gen­er­ous – un­til the RMS in­ter­vened, Re­mondis had no mass com­pli­ance sys­tem in place at all, and en­trusted that to oth­ers.”

Now, Re­mondis has: a load­ing pro­to­col, so that ap­pli­ca­ble mass lim­its are iden­ti­fied and can be ver­i­fied at the point of load­ing; load cells at the loader bucket to en­sure that the le­gal load lim­its are not ex­ceeded; com­mu­ni­ca­tion pro­to­cols be­tween the com­pany and the weigh­bridge or driver to en­sure that no truck can exit the site over­weight; and su­per­vi­sion to en­sure com­pli­ance or cor­rec­tive ac­tion when non­com­pli­ance oc­curs.

RMS sees the out­come as bol­ster­ing COR’s im­pli­ca­tion for all those in the chain.

“Chain of re­spon­si­bil­ity in­ves­ti­ga­tions fo­cus on all par­ties in­volved in the trans­porta­tion of goods on NSW roads,” an RMS spokesman tells Owner//Driver.

“Un­der road trans­port leg­is­la­tion, all par­ties in a lo­gis­tics chain are re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing they meet spe­cific du­ties and obli­ga­tions.

“Roads and Mar­itime Ser­vices’ num­ber one pri­or­ity is com­mu­nity safety and will con­tinue to pur­sue of­froad par­ties which op­er­ate un­safe and non-com­pli­ant ve­hi­cles.”

Hold­ing Redlich part­ner Nathan Ce­cil sees it the same way.

“This most re­cent and sig­nif­i­cant Chain of Re­spon­si­bil­ity prose­cu­tion high­lights the on­go­ing pol­icy to pur­sue con­signors, load­ers and con­signees, the crit­i­cal im­por­tance of man­ag­ing the com­pli­ance of con­trac­tors and third par­ties in the Chain and the es­sen­tial need to have in place con­trac­tual com­pli­ance regimes and doc­u­mented busi­ness com­pli­ance prac­tices in or­der to avoid sub­stan­tial fi­nan­cial penalties,” Ce­cil says.

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