Corruption allegations have rocked the heavy vehicle industry as a case involving allegations of bribery in exchange for certifying heavy vehicle operators in New South Wales has gone before that state’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
Former New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services heavy vehicle competency-based assessor Christopher Binos appeared at an ICAC hearing to respond to allegations he took bribes to certify applicants for heavy vehicle licences without completing the necessary requirements.
“It is alleged that between 2012 and 2013, Mr Binos solicited benefits from applicants for heavy vehicle licences, and conducted inappropriate or fraudulent heavy vehicle assessments,” a statement from ICAC read. “It is also alleged that, since at least 2012, Mr Binos has been signing log books certifying applicants as competent to drive a heavy vehicle without the applicants completing the necessary assessments, in exchange for cash payments.”
The latest developments come amid substantial change in the regime responsible for heavy vehicle licensing arrangements around Australia, which saw a national law and new regulations come into effect earlier this month across Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
The objective of the reforms revolves around the creation of a national set of rules for all vehicles over 4.5 tonnes, thus eliminating the need for operators to navigate different rules and comply with jurisdictional requirements, which are inconsistent.
While the new rules have broad industry support, groups such as the Crane Industry Council of Australia voiced concern that their implementation would cause initial confusion within the industry.
The rules are expected to apply to the Northern Territory and ACT at a later date. Western Australia has not signed up for the new rules.
The latest developments also come as the Commission prepares to hear fresh allegations concerning former New South Wales Labour power-broker Eddie O’Beid, this time relating to retail property leases.
On October 28, the Commission is set to hear allegations O’Beid used his position as an MP in an effort to influence public officials to exercise their official functions with respect to retail leases at Circular Quay in Sydney without disclosing related interests with respect to those leases.
In July, ICAC found that O’Beid engaged in corrupt conduct with regard to the Mount Penny mining tenement in the Bylong Valley and recommended the matter be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.