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Defence (Road Transport Legislation Exemption) Bill 2005 [2006]

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2004 - 2005

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

DEFENCE (ROAD TRANSPORT LEGISLATION EXEMPTION) BILL 2005

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by the authority of the Minister for Defence,

 

 Senator Robert Hill)

 



Defence (Road Transport Legislation Exemption) Bill 2005

 

 

 

OUTLINE

 

 

This Bill will clarify the extent of Defence’s exemption from the operation of particular State and Territory road transport laws in certain circumstances.

 

The principal purpose of the Bill will be to underpin the Exemption Framework which has been developed in consultation with the States and Territories in accordance with clause 20 of the Intergovernmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational Reform in Road, Rail and Intermodal Transport. That Framework covers matters such as mass limits for vehicles and vehicle components, load sizes, vehicle projections, warning signals, licensing and fatigue management.  It intends to match load limits on vehicles with the current capacity of roads and bridges.

 

The Bill provides an exemption from the provisions of State or Territory road transport laws to particular persons in respect of anything done or omitted to be done in connection with a defence-related purpose, (or an arrangement approved by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) for a foreign armed force), that is permitted or required by the Exemption Framework. The existing immunity from State and Territory laws provided to members of the ADF under the Defence Act 1903 is to be limited to ensure that the road transport exemptions set out in the Exemption Framework can operate in the manner they are intended to.

 

The exemption is to cover the ADF, members of the ADF, defence civilians as defined under the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 and, to a limited extent, any civilians and contractors operating a Defence vehicle for Defence purposes that has a specific engineering exemption.  It will also cover the armed forces of foreign countries and members of those foreign armed forces acting in accordance with an arrangement approved by the ADF.

 

 

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

This Bill has no financial impact.

 

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Defence (Road Transport Legislation Exemption) Bill 2005

 

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1: Short Title

1.         This clause is a formal provision specifying the short title of the Bill.

Clause 2: Commencement

2.         The Bill will commence on Royal Assent.

Clause 3: Definitions

3.        This clause sets out definitions of terms used in the Bill, some by reference to

meanings set out in the Exemption Framework.  The Exemption Framework is the Framework developed in accordance with clause 20 of the Intergovernmental Agreement that was entered into in relation to the National Transport Commission Act 2003.

 

Clause 4:  Definition of road transport law

 

4.         This clause provides that any written law of a State or Territory that relates to the use of vehicles in a place to which the Exemption Framework applies, or any law declared by the regulations to be a road transport law, is a road transport law for the purposes of this Bill.  The regulations may also declare that a State or Territory law falling within the definition is not a road transport law for the purposes of this Bill.

 

Clause 5:  ADF exemption from road transport laws

 

5.         Sub-clause 5(1) provides for the exemption of particular persons from State and Territory road transport laws in relation to anything done or omitted to be done for a defence-related purpose provided the thing is done or omitted in accordance with the Exemption Framework. The particular persons who are to be exempt are the Australian Defence Force (ADF), members of the ADF, and defence civilians (within the limited meaning of the Defence Force Discipline Act 1982 ).

 

6.         Sub-clause 5(2) provides a limited exemption in respect of defence contractors and defence employees who are operating a defence vehicle that has a specific engineering exemption. The vehicle must be being used for a defence-related purpose and the exemption only applies to the extent of the matters to which the specific engineering exemption relates.  Defence contractors and defence employees will still be required to comply with all the other State and Territory road transport laws that apply to them, such as the requirement to hold a valid operating licence and comply with road rules.

 

7.         Sub-clause 5(3) provides the definition of  defence-related purpose.   The purposes described include a wide range of ADF operations in connection with the defence and security of Australia, and the provision of civil aid, humanitarian assistance and support to significant community activities.

 

Clause 6:  Foreign forces exemption from road transport laws

 

8.         Clause 6 exempts the armed forces of foreign countries and members of those forces from State and Territory road transport laws for anything done or omitted to be done in connection with their operations provided they are done or omitted in accordance with an arrangement approved by the ADF and the Exemption Framework.

 

Clause 7:  Application of the Defence Act 1903

 

9.         Sub-clause 7(1) provides that this Bill does not limit the operation of the Defence Act 1903 except as provided in sub-clause (2). 

 

10.       Sub-clause 7(2) relates to subsection 123(1) of the Defence Act 1903.  Subsection 123(1) provides an extensive immunity to members of the ADF from any State or Territory law requiring the member to have permission to use, possess or register a vehicle or other thing belonging to the Commonwealth or that requires the member to have permission to do anything in the course of the member’s duties. By adopting the Exemption Framework, Defence is choosing to limit this immunity but only to the extent that subsection 123(1) is not to apply to a permission or requirement under the provisions of any State or Territory road transport law which is dealt with under the Exemption Framework.  Any ADF activities not specifically covered by the Exemption Framework retain their existing immunity under section 123 and other Defence powers.