Transporting Dangerous Goods

Dangerous goods are currently prohibited from travelling through the majority of tunnels in our cities and there is no agreement to allow any dangerous goods through future tunnels such as NorthConnex.

NatRoad Action

NatRoad does not support the current approach of applying a blanket ban on dangerous goods vehicles travelling through tunnels. Instead, the risk of transporting dangerous goods through tunnels should be objectively assessed against the risks of using an alternative route. This assessment should include the consideration of traffic volumes, accident rates, tunnel design as well as the class of dangerous goods being transported. Australia has generally failed to adopt a risk-based approach for tunnel access, although it is being used internationally.

NatRoad recently met with Transport for NSW, RMS and road transport operators to look at improving access for heavy vehicles carrying dangerous goods in NSW. The group discussed running a potential trial removing restrictions of dangerous goods through selected tunnels in Sydney and designating key dangerous goods routes with appropriate access and rest areas.

Australian Dangerous Goods Code

In other dangerous goods news, the National Transport Commission launched the new edition of the Australian Dangerous Goods Code on 1 July 2018. The new edition 7.6 contains changes aimed at reducing the burden on industry when transporting low-risk items and bringing the Code into line with new United Nations transport requirements. Key changes include:

  • exempting the transport of low-risk dangerous goods in limited quantities (such as household cleaning products, perfumes and cosmetics) from onerous labelling and marking requirements;

  • exempting mobile processing units (MPUs) from the Code to remove duplicate requirements in other laws, as long as the MPU is authorised within each jurisdiction to operate, and

  • exempting the transport of various flammable gases from certain provisions of Chapter 6.2 of the Code, as long as there is compliance with applicable international standards.

From 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019, businesses involved in transporting dangerous goods can choose to comply with either Edition 7.5 or Edition 7.6.

From 1 July 2019, businesses must comply with Edition 7.6.

Further information is available here.