NT Towing Rosters At Risk

Public news

Regulations which set out long established towing rosters in Darwin and Alice Springs are at risk of disappearing, thanks to a legislative tidy up exercise by the Northern Territory (NT) Government’s Economic Reconstruction Commission.

The Commission recently handed down a report which recommended the Statute Law Amendment (Territory Economic Reconstruction) Bill 2021 which proposed a repeal of a number of Regulations, but most concerningly:

  • Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading (Tow Truck Operators Code of Practice) Regulations 1996 (Subordinate Legislation No. 5 of 1996);
  • Amendments of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading (Tow Truck Code of Practice) Regulations 2002 (Subordinate Legislation No. 11 of 2002).

Given the MTA SA/NT is a member of the Tow Truck Operators Code of Practice Administering Authority, NT Consumer Affairs contacted us asking for a response on the proposed changes.

After speaking with potentially affected members in Darwin and Alice Springs, we believe this decision will impact both the taxpayer as well legitimate towing operators who have committed themselves to the roster system in good faith.

It is the MTA’s understanding that the current roster system in Darwin is not always used by NT Police and in some instances, NT Police have directed the NT Fire and Rescue Service to use their appliances to move vehicles onto road verges at the taxpayer’s expense, rather than make use of the established towing roster which more sensibly shifts costs to vehicle owners and their insurers.

Interstate experiences of deregulated towing operations in places such as Perth and the Gold Coast have led to consumers being taken advantage of by dishonest operators and those involved in organised crime through intimidation at accident scenes, price gouging and bribery of public officers for crash information.

With all this considered, the MTA have written to strongly object the repeal of the Tow Truck Regulations, instead recommending that the regulations are updated to ensure they are delivering the best possible outcomes for Territorians.

We believe the NT Government’s Economic Reconstruction Commission has seriously underestimated its decision. We will continue to push back strongly against this proposal and we will keep affected members abreast of all developments.