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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2011
50 INDUSTRy SAFETy AND CHAIN OF RESpONSIBILITy Session 5 Geoff Thomas General Manager, Logistics, Woolworths Thomas provided an overview of the Retail Logistics Supply Chain code of conduct (RLSC) – an innovative initiative between a range of competitors to improve the retail industry as a whole. According to Thomas, there are still far too many accidents, so this endeavour focuses on what will make a real difference. RLSC kicked off in 2005 with the active involvement of a variety of operators in the retail and transport and logistics sector, and was formally launched in 2006. The initiative assumes a comprehensive perspective across the entire supply chain, and works towards defining better work standards across the board. There is a 10-point code of conduct, as well as guidelines and an audit tool (the backbone of the code of conduct). The retail supply chain is complex, so it is important to engage all participants. By way of a brief example, Thomas outlined some of the usual steps: Retail orders assembled; • Retailer schedule prepared; • Carrier engaged; • Carrier builds a load; • Driver plan established. • There are more possibilities to be addressed. A lot of work has been done, and much more remains to be done, but the endeavour is making a real difference. Tony Hulett Special Counsel, Lord Commercial Lawyers Hulett provided an experienced and pragmatic overview of the legislative and regulatory landscape of transport and logistics, and offered a few pointers on navigating the terrain. Getting the legals right is rarely easy, but it is fundamental to effecting the desired changes to transport and logistics across the country. It may be essential, but it is not very straightforward. According to Hulett, the NTC has identified 364 inconsistencies in the current heavy vehicle laws across the country – and that takes some fixing. The new draft legislation (released on 28 February), runs to nearly 1,000 pages. Hulett went on to say that a major problem with law reform generally in Australia is that there is usually not enough consultation, even though the consultation period for this legislation is 10 weeks. However, there is a lot to consider. Insufficient consultation does not provide for good law reform or good consideration. There is a big challenge ahead to have this legislation in place by 2013. The role of the law involves both compliance and enforcement, and getting this right is rarely easy. The law is one thing – having the right infrastructure and operator compliance may be another. The capacity of the law in itself to fix the situation is often overestimated. Compliance is always an issue. The principle is prevention rather than prosecution. Enforcement has a wider role than prosecution, which may well be the end result. Everyone hopes for a truly national protocol that is not only consistent but also has teeth. Hulett went on to address issues to do with the chain of responsibility, and where prosecution should be focused, definitions, the nature of criminal prosecution, hearing considerations, insurance, other Acts of relevance, codes of conduct, etc. He was able to provide a comprehensive overview of the landscape and how things might play out. The question remains: will it all be ready for practical implementation by 2013? The role of the law involves both compliance and enforcement, and getting this right is rarely easy.