18 Mar 2011

Round-up: Legislation across Australia

by Ron Smooker, Lisa Billington

There have been changes at the Commonwealth, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT.


The Airports Amendment Act 2010 (Cth) (Act) amends the Airports Act 1996 (Cth). The Act was passed by Parliament on 26 November 2010 and was assented to on 17 December 2010.

This legislation gives effect to the legislative reforms announced in the National Aviation Policy White Paper and, in particular, improves the planning regulatory framework.

The Act:

  • strengthens the requirements for airport master plans and major development plans and restructures the triggers for major development plans;
  • requires additional information on proposed developments and prohibits specified types of development which are incompatible with the operation of an airport site as an airport; and
  • integrates the airport environment strategy into the master plan and provides for transitional provisions to address how the expiry dates of environment strategies will be aligned with the expiry dates of master plans.

The Protection of the Sea Legislation Amendment Act 2010 (Cth) was assented to on 9 November 2010 and amends the Protection of the Sea (Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage) Act 2008 and the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution From Ships) Act 1983.

In relation to the Protection of the Sea (Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage) Act 2008, the Act inserts a new section 24A (Responder immunity) to protect persons who act reasonably and in good faith in providing assistance in cases of pollution damage resulting from a spill of fuel oil from ships.

In relation to the Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution From Ships) Act 1983 the Act:

  • makes several provisions relating to the use of fuel oil with a sulfur content greater than the prescribed limit;
  • allows Australian Maritime Safety Authority to approve a place, other than on the ship, for the retention of bunker delivery notes; and
  • makes provisions relating to the requirement to keep records regarding ozone depleting substances and provide for penalties for false or misleading entries in such record books.

Australian Capital Territory

The Magistrates Court (Dangerous Goods Road Transport Infringement Notices) Regulation 2010 (ACT) commenced on 29 October 2010.

The Regulation creates a system of infringement notices for certain offences against the dangerous goods legislation, as an alternative to prosecution.

Amongst other things, the Regulation provides:

  • that the provisions in the Magistrates Court Act 1930 (ACT), which provide that infringement notices may be issued for certain offences, apply to strict liability offences involving breaches of specific duties relating to the safe and accountable transportation of dangerous goods by road; and
  • for penalties payable under an infringement notice, and for higher penalties where the offence is committed by a corporation.

New South Wales

The Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Amendment Act 2010 (NSW) was assented to on 7 December 2010 and amends the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1998. The Act commenced on 31 January 2011.

The Act's objective is to increase the number of demerit points required to be accumulated before unrestricted license holders are subject to licence suspensions and other sanctions. In the case of professional drivers, the number of points required before sanctions are incurred is proposed to be raised from 12 to 14 points.

South Australia

The Road Traffic (Owner Offences) Amendment Bill 2010 (SA) received its second reading speech on 10 November 2010 and proposes to amend the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA).

The objective of the Bill is to amend section 79B (Provisions applying where certain offences are detected by photographic detection devices) to allow persons who trade as corporations to elect to pay a corporate fee to expiate contraventions of road traffic laws where vehicles are used for business purposes and it is not possible to prove who was driving the vehicle.


We reported in our last Transport and Logistics Insights that the Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Act (Tas) had been passed by both houses of Parliament. The Act was assented to on 17 September 2010 and commenced on 1 January 2011.

As previously advised, the purpose of this legislation is to regulate by nationally consistent legislation the transport of dangerous goods by road and rail in order to promote public safety and protect property and the environment.


The Marine Safety Act 2010 (Vic) was assented to on 28 September 2010.

The Act amends the Marine Act 1988 (Vic), which will be renamed the Marine (Drug, Alcohol and Pollution Control) Act 1988 (Vic).

The purpose of this legislation is to provide for improved marine safety outcomes by replacing the current Marine Act 1988 (Vic) with a more contemporary form of safety regulation.

Among various preliminary matters, this legislation:

  • replaces section 29 with respect to preliminary breath tests;
  • amends various provisions under Part 4 (Offences involving alcohol or other drugs);
  • provides a number of new tools to enforce compliance with waterway rules; and
  • codifies the common law duty for all persons involved in recreational boating to take reasonable care to protect themselves and others from harm.

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.