The Australian Dangerous Goods Code should be available on the internet for free, says the Australian Trucking Association.
The ATA made the call in its response to the Productivity Commission’s Draft Research Report on Chemicals and Plastics Regulation.
The Dangerous Goods Code sets out the technical requirements for the land transport of dangerous goods.
The state and territory governments are introducing new dangerous goods legislation that will use the latest edition of the code, ADG7, this year.
The penalties for breaching the legislation and the code can be severe, but companies will have to pay $140 to buy the code in hardcopy or $120 for a CD-ROM to find out what it says.
Many companies will need multiple copies.
The Chairman of the ATA, Trevor Martyn, says the National Transport Commission was forcing companies to pay for the code to help cover the cost of developing it.
“But one of the basic principles of good government is that people should have ready access to the laws they are expected to obey,” Martyn says.
“The NTC’s approach to financing the development of ADG7 would have caused outrage if it was used in a higher profile area of government.
“For example, you can imagine the outcry that would occur if the ATO announced a plan to finance the development of the tax law by forcing people to pay for TaxPack,” he points out.
In its draft report, the Productivity Commission recommends that the code should be available free on the internet and at avoidable cost for hardcopies.
The commission also says the Australian, state and territory governments should make up the shortfall in the NTC’s revenue.
“The ATA strongly agrees with the commission’s draft recommendation,” Martyn says.
Download the ATA’s submission.