Sep 13, 2012

New rail safety investigator to make rail travel safer

The Parliament today passed legislation making rail travel safer for all Australians.

The Transport Safety Investigation Amendment Bill 2012 establishes Australia’s first national rail safety investigator by tasking the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) with responsibility for investigating safety events on all metropolitan passenger and freight rail networks across Australia.

Currently, Australia’s rail safety system is a patchwork of regulators and laws.

From 1 January next year, the new national approach will see more investigations conducted across a greater range of safety matters. Better sharing of safety findings between the states and territories will save lives and prevent injuries.

The ATSB has a proven record in conducting independent investigations that achieve practical improvements to transport safety. The findings from the ATSB’s investigations will help improve overall safety and identify areas of improvement.

The Federal Labor Government has provided $11.2 million to the ATSB to enable it to prepare for its role as Australia’s no-blame rail and maritime safety investigator.

The ATSB’s rail safety investigation role will complement the work of the new National Rail Safety Regulator.

The Bill continues the Federal Labor Government’s historic transport reforms.

On 1 January 2013, the nation’s $61 billion transport industry will enter a new era.

Gone will be the existing 23 separate state and federal regulators covering heavy vehicles, rail safety and maritime safety, along with their costly and confusing array of regulations, replaced by just three national regulators administering one set of modern, nationwide laws.

The benefits to our national productivity are clear:

  • Boost national income by up to $30 billion over the next 20 years; and
  • Cut the burden of red tape on our $61 billion transport industry.

The National Rail Safety Regulator means interstate rail operators will no longer have to deal with:

  • 7 separate regulatory authorities; and
  • 46 pieces of State/Territory and Commonwealth legislation including 7 rail safety Acts, 9 occupational health and safety Acts, and 7 dangerous goods Acts.