Transport of Dangerous Goods Code to be updated with international best practice

The laws governing the transport of dangerous goods such as chemicals on road and rail will be updated in line with the latest international guidelines, in a package of proposed amendments released by the National Transport Commission (NTC) for public consultation today.

NTC Chief Executive and Commissioner, Mr Paul Retter AM said that dangerous goods comprise 8%, according to the Bureau of Statistics, of total freight transported by road and rail in Australia.


“The changes we have proposed will ensure that dangerous goods continue to be safely and efficiently transported in Australia.”“Dangerous goods can present an acute risk to life, health, property and the environment, especially when being transported,” said Mr Retter.

Some of the changes proposed in the package include:

  • Updating markings and labels to be consistent with regulations for air and sea transport;
  • Improving certainty for business by incorporating approved exemptions into law;
  • A clear requirement for prime contractors and drivers to carry transport documents and emergency information so that they are easily located in the event of an emergency; and
  • Introducing the requirement for prepared emergency plans to be followed in an emergency situation.

The Australian Dangerous Goods Code 7th Edition (ADG7) regulates the transport of dangerous goods by road and rail.

“With many goods being imported and exported within Australia every day, it is important to minimise inconsistencies when transporting dangerous goods, nationally, internationally and across the different transport modes. This improves Australia’s global competitiveness and brings Australia into line with international best practice,” said Mr Retter.

ADG7 is based on United Nations (UN) Model Regulations, which are internationally accepted as the principal technical standards underpinning the transport of dangerous goods. The UN Model Regulations are updated periodically, and this amendment package proposes changes to bring ADG7 in line with the latest editions (16th and 17th) of the UN Model Regulations.

“In addition to the updates based on the latest UN Regulations, since ADG7 was introduced in 2007 our stakeholders have identified a number of issues, including corrections, technical updates and clarifications of existing legislative requirements. These also form part of the amendment package released today.”

ADG7 provides detailed technical specifications, requirements and recommendations applicable to the transport of dangerous goods by road and rail, including requirements concerning classification, packaging, marking and labelling and documentation.

The amendments were developed in consultation with key industry representatives and the Transport of Dangerous Goods Maintenance Group. This Group includes representatives from each state and territory, the Commonwealth, regulators of dangerous goods transport for air and sea, and emergency services.

Items classified as dangerous goods can range from everyday household goods such as cosmetics and cleaning products, to fuels and industrial chemicals.

The amendment document and document explaining the changes are both available from the NTC website at

Feedback on the proposed amendments contained in the package is invited until submissions close on 2 September.

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