The Gillard Labor Government’s commitment to establish Australia’s first ever National Rail Safety Regulator is one step closer to being delivered with the passage of critical legislation through South Australia’s lower house last night.
The Rail Safety National Law (South Australia) Bill passed the South Australian House of Assembly, and will now head to the Legislative Council for approval.
South Australia is the first state to pass legislation to implement a new national rail safety regulator. The other states and territories are expected to do so over the course of the year.
This is a major safety and productivity reform and it shows what can be achieved through cooperation between federal state and territory governments.
It will replace seven separate regulatory authorities and 46 pieces of state, territory and Commonwealth legislation.
For over 110 years, our railways have been governed by multiple sets of rules and laws and created confusing red tape and duplication.
From January 2013, for the first time in Australia’s history, our railways will come under a single safety regulator with one set of national regulations.
The national regulator will be based in Adelaide and have oversight of the country’s urban passenger rail networks and interstate freight operations.
Rail operators will be able to get national accreditation instead of having to apply in each state and territory.
Under the new rail safety law, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) will become the national investigator of rail accidents.
This builds on the Gillard Labor Government’s transport reform program, which was endorsed by COAG in August last year, to reduce 23 state-based maritime, rail and heavy vehicles regulators to just three.
These national transport reforms will boost national income by up to $30 billion over the next 20 years by ending the need for mountains of paperwork and multiple fees on our transport industry.