The Tow Truck and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (Qld) (the Bill) was introduced into the Parliament in August 2017 and then referred, under Standing Order 131, to the Public Works and Utilities Committee (the Committee) for detailed consideration. The committee has reported, as required, by 5 October 2017, recommending generally the the Bill should be passed.
The Bill implements all of the recommendations of the investigation into the towing industry conducted under the formerestablished in response to complaints of " . . . rogue towing operations ripping-off Queenslanders, . . ”. According to the Minister in a Media Release:
In the Minister's view, one of the biggest issues to come out of the Forde investigation was the excessive fees charged by the alleged "rogue operators". The Bill would make Queensland, according to the Minister, ". . . the first state in the country to cap fees for towing from private carparks". Under the Bill, fees are be capped at $150 if the vehicle is released onsite and $250 for a standard tow from private carparks, including three days storage – with additional storage fees to be capped at $25 per day. The amount of $348 is to remain the cap for crash towing.
The key reforms proposed by the Bill are:
Other than the general recommendation that the Bill be passed the Committee made one other recommendation, namely that:
Clause 31 of the Bill proposes the insertion of a new section 99(2) of the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994 (Qld) which provides:
The recommendation arose from the committee's consideration of the concern raised that the Bill's proposed amendments allowed, but did not "require", a toll road operator to issue a single demand notice for multiple unpaid tolls with a single administration fee.
The changes which bring potential tow-truck drivers in line with bus drivers, whose entire criminal history, including historical offences, is scrutinised has met with approval. However, other changes under the Bill giving authorities tough new powers to raid tow-truck holding yards without a warrant as part of an investigation into an incident. These entry powers have been opposed by the Queensland Law Society, who are reported as arguing the powers were “. . . far broader than police powers of entry, without evidence of the overriding privacy concerns”. In its submission to Parliament the Society stated that:
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Tow Truck and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 (Qld) and supporting materials as reported in the TimeBase LawOne Service
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