Reframing our regulation
The department reviews the regulatory framework to embrace flexibility and builds a regulatory framework that is fair and reasonable for Queenslanders. Considering local, national and other state regulatory frameworks and processes plays a part in the introduction and reframing of Queensland laws and regulations. This section outlines the new legislations and laws implemented and the changes and amendments to regulations.
New regulations for rideables
In December 2018, the department introduced new laws to allow a broader range of personal mobility devices or ‘rideables’ to be legally used in public spaces across Queensland.
Development of the laws followed work over several years to examine the safety implications of these devices. The department was working to finalise the laws when Lime branded e-scooters were permitted to operate in Brisbane under strict permit conditions.
The laws respond to changing travel patterns and new technologies that benefit the environment and assist in reducing traffic congestion. The laws define a set of specifications to ensure compliant devices safely interact with pedestrians on paths and are used safely.
To educate rideable users on their safety obligations, the department delivered educational campaigns through social media. A ‘No Go’ campaign was delivered in April 2019 to highlight the key safety issues raised by the public. The campaign included billboards on 40 streets in the Brisbane CBD at a cost of approximately $50,000.
For more information on personal mobility devices
New laws were introduced to allow the use of a broader range of personal mobility devices, or rideables, to be used in public spaces.
Clarifications to the laws for power-assisted bicycles
In June 2019, the department updated the laws for power-assisted bicycles to make them clearer.
The changes aim to help bicycle riders, retailers and hire business to more easily understand the requirements for a legal power-assisted bicycle. They also support police enforcement of the laws to help keep everyone safe.
It has always been a requirement that the pedals on a bicycle be the primary source of power, with any electric motor being auxiliary. The changes have made it clear that the electric motor on a power-assisted bicycle must only assist the rider to pedal.
No changes have been made to existing requirements for power output which remain at 200 watts for a power- assisted bike and 250 watts for a pedal. This supports safe and legitimate power-assisted bicycles being ridden on Queensland roads and paths alongside standard bicycles.
The department engaged with a range of stakeholders in relation to the proposal in early 2018 and again following commencement of the laws in June 2019. TMR is also undertaking targeted public communications through social media to educate the public on the changes.
For more information on power–assisted bicycles
Queensland’s new marine pollution regulation
The Transport Operations (Marine Pollution) Act 1995 and Transport Operations (Marine Pollution) Regulation 2018 protect Queensland’s marine and coastal environment by minimising discharges of ship-sourced pollutants into Queensland’s waters. Marine pollutants include oil, chemicals, sewage and garbage. This legislation gives effect to relevant provisions of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973 (MARPOL).
On 1 September 2018, the regulation was remade and the majority of provisions from the previous regulation remain in place, with key changes including:
- updates to align with MARPOL
- amendments seeking consistency with international instruments and national legislation
- amendments seeking to clarify existing regulatory requirements
- amendments to streamline requirements and reduce the regulatory burden.
Changes to domestic commercial vessel services
On 1 July 2018, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority assumed full responsibility for service delivery matters of the administration and regulation of domestic commercial vessels with minimal disruption.
These changes include:
- certificates of competency
- certificates of operations
- certificates of survey
- non-survey vessels
- exemptions and equivalent means of compliance.
From 1 July 2018, the national system changed the way records related to domestic commercial vessels submitted to Maritime Safety Queensland are accessed.
Maritime Safety Queensland will continue to provide Queensland with marine safety services for local waterways management, environmental management, pilotage, navigation aids, ports, harbours and mooring management as well as all recreational boating services. The department will still play an active role in the matters exempt from the transfer and will build on the existing good working relationships with industry.
Brisbane Urban Corridor and use of ANPR technology
The Brisbane Urban Corridor (BUC) is a high-volume route that connects Archerfield to Wishart via Granard Road, Riawena Road, Kessels Road and part of Mt Gravatt-Capalaba Road. Following the raising of significant community concerns, TMR undertook to restrict the BUC to heavy vehicles that do not have a local destination. To identify heavy vehicles ignoring this restriction, Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology was deployed along the route.
In line with government election commitments, TMR has increased law enforcement activities to prevent illegal use of the BUC. This includes using ANPR to issue 109 Penalty Infringement Notices (from 1 January to 30 April 2019) to heavy vehicle operators who unlawfully accessed the BUC.
Audit program of Queensland’s Australian Builders Plate standard
In 2018–19, the department received reports that the information included on some Australian Builders Plate (ABP) on vessels built in Queensland might be inaccurate or misleading. As a result, some vessel builders have been required to recall all of their boats to refit replacement ABPs.
The audit program of boatyards and vessel construction facilities assessed builders’ understanding and compliance with ABP standards and facilitate steps that can be taken collectively to ensure the maintenance of safety standards and Queensland’s national reputation for building quality vessels.
The audit focused on:
- standards used to complete the ABP
- methods and tools used to assess the vessel for an ABP
- evidence of the documentation and processes used to complete the ABP.
At various stages of the audit program, TMR provided updates to industry on any trends or learnings that were found, including:
- a wide-ranging level of compliance with the Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Act and Transport Operations (Marine Pollution) Regulation 2018, from minor discrepancies to no compliancy
- an inherent lack of knowledge of the requirements in general
- a general disregard for the legislation or the safety of the customers.
The ABP, a legislative requirement for boats being sold post September 2006, is a plaque that provides information on a boat’s capability and capacity, providing details on:
- the number of persons to be carried on board
- the maximum engine horsepower to be fitted to the boat
- the maximum weight of the outboard
- the total maximum load the boat can carry.
An example of a blank Australian Builders Plate that are attached to vessels built in Queensland.
New fines for blocking intersections
In November 2018, the department implemented increased fines for several offences to deter drivers from entering blocked intersections and crossings when the road beyond is blocked due to congestion.
The changes responded to community concerns that motorists who enter blocked intersections and remain queued after traffic lights have turned red exacerbates traffic congestion and increases the road safety risk for road users.
Unblocking intersections helps to ease traffic congestion sooner and provides greater access for our police and emergency vehicles. It also provides a safer environment for the large number of pedestrians who move between busy intersections.
The department publicly communicated the changes through its social media channels and reminded motorists that blocking intersections is unsafe and adds to traffic congestion. Most fines increased from $52 to $200.
Transport Operations (Passenger Transport)
The Transport Operations (Passenger Transport) Regulation 2018 (the Regulation) commenced on 1 September 2018.
The regulation replaces the Transport Operations (Passenger Transport) Regulation 2005, which expired on 31 August 2018 in accordance with the Statutory Instruments Act 1992 provisions regarding expiry of regulations.
The primary objective of the regulation is to support the Transport Operations (Passenger Transport) Act 1994 to achieve the provision of the best possible public passenger transport at reasonable cost to the community and government while keeping government regulation to a minimum.
The new regulation:
- ensures passenger transport regulations are of the highest standard
- reduces the regulatory burden as much as possible without compromising law and order
- simplifies passenger transport regulations so they can be better understood by the general public and applied more easily
- modernises passenger transport regulations so that they are relevant.
For more information on the Transport Operations (Passenger Transport) Regulation 2018
Four-wheel drive changes
During the year, TMR consulted on proposed changes to the rules governing four-wheel drive lift modifications. The consultation included TMR hosting a forum in September 2018, at which accredited Approved Persons, industry groups including the RACQ and the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association, motoring clubs, major tyre retailers and suspension equipment suppliers were all represented.
In October 2018, following the completion of the consultation, TMR introduced the new rules through the Queensland Code of Practice: Vehicle Modifications. Queensland requirements are now generally consistent with the National Code of Practice but also provide more flexibility for certain lift modifications.
While TMR’s primary focus during the process was ensuring the safety of all road users, through a process of consultation and collaboration, the new rules also provided the flexibility to four-wheel drive enthusiasts to better manage their driving needs and were well supported by industry.
TMR announced new rules related to four-wheel drive lift modifications in Queensland, including allowing lift heights up to 150 millimetres.