Changes to the Dangerous Goods Act 1985

The Dangerous Goods Amendment (Penalty Reform) Act 2019 makes changes to the Dangerous Goods Act 1985 (DG Act) to create a new offence for reckless conduct that endangers people and increases penalties for various offences to better reflect the serious nature of the offending conduct.

Dangerous goods

Dangerous goods are substances that are corrosive, flammable combustible, oxidising or water reactive or have other hazardous properties. Dangerous goods can cause explosions or fires, serious injury, death and large-scale damage.

In Victoria, Dangerous goods are regulated by the DG Act.

Why are we making changes?

The changes are a result of a review into the penalties associated with non-compliance under the DG Act. It also follows a number of industrial fires and the discovery of dangerous goods waste stockpiles throughout Victoria.

What are the changes?

New offence

A new 'reckless conduct' offence has been introduced into the DG Act for:

  • individuals engaging in reckless conduct in the manufacture, storage, transport, transfer, sale or use of dangerous goods that places, or may place, a person in danger of death
  • body corporates engaging in reckless conduct that places a person in danger of death

Higher penalties

Penalties for a range of offences in regards to persons who manufacture, storage, transport, transfer, sale or use of dangerous goods have been increased.

These include:

  • failing to comply with a direction issued by an inspector to dispose of or render harmless dangerous goods or to stop the use, or use the goods under specified conditions, of premises or magazines considered to be dangerous
  • failing to take reasonable precautions to prevent tampering, theft, fire, explosion or damage
  • abandoning, discarding, or neglecting to dispose of dangerous goods safely
  • doing anything in or near any licensed premises which causes or is likely to cause an accident involving dangerous goods
  • failing to comply with requirements on goods too dangerous to be transported.

When do the changes apply?

The changes to the DG Act come into effect on Thursday 7 November 2019.

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