​The transport of dangerous goods is a high risk activity involving heavy vehicles on the public road and trains on the rail network. Since the early 1980s Australia has participated in an international scheme that harmonises the way that the transport of dangerous goods is regulated around the world.

The National Transport Commission in collaboration with all the states and territories developed a Model Law on the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road or Rail and a Model Subordinate Law on the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road or Rail. These documents, heavily based on the UN Model Regulations, form the framework for the regulation of the transport of dangerous goods in Australia today.

The Northern Territory has passed laws that mirror the Model Law and the Model Subordinate Law. These are the:

Those laws adopt the Australian Dangerous Goods (ADG) Code.

Australian Dangerous Goods Code

The Australian Dangerous Goods Code is the technical resource written to help Australia’s transport and logistics industry to operate safely when carrying dangerous goods.

The Code is aligned to the United Nations recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods to assist international freight companies and companies that import dangerous goods; but also includes specific provisions that better reflect current Australian practices and conditions.

The Code applies to dangerous goods including:

  • certain gases
  • flammable liquids
  • flammable solids, self-reactive and desensitized explosives
  • substances liable to spontaneous combust
  • substances dangerous if wet
  • oxidizing substances
  • organic peroxides
  • toxic substances, and
  • corrosive substances.

The Code details the requirements for:

  • classification of substances
  • packaging and performance testing
  • use of containers unit loads
  • marking and placarding
  • vehicle requirements
  • segregation and stowage
  • transfer of bulk dangerous goods
  • documentation
  • safety equipment
  • procedures during transport emergencies.

The ADG Code is currently in its 7th edition with either version 7.3 or 7.4 being implemented around Australia.  In the Northern Territory version 7.4 is being implemented.

The ADG Code is freely available for download in PDF format from the National Transport Commission  website.


The Code and legislation does not cover: