National rail safety system soon in place

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National rail safety system soon in place

Australia is just months away from implementing its first National Rail Safety Regulator, with New South Wales passing legislation last week to join the national rail safety system.

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Australia is just months away from implementing its first National Rail Safety Regulator, with New South Wales passing legislation last week to join the national rail safety system, announced Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese.

The Rail Safety (Adoption of National Law) Bill 2012 (NSW), according to an explanatory statement, is ‘part of a uniform scheme of legislation applying [the Rail Safety National Law] in the States and Territories’.

Albanese said New South Wales joins South Australia and Tasmania in passing legislation that will deliver ‘national consistency’ and ‘maximum safety’.

‘From 1 January 2013, for the first time in Australia’s history, the nation’s railways will come under a single safety regulator with one set of national regulations,’ he said.

The National Rail Safety Regulator is part of a broader reform package, which will see 23 state-based maritime, rail and heavy vehicle regulators reduced to just three from the start of next year.

Separate pieces of legislation underpinning the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) are expected to be passed by every state and territory before the end of the year.

Albanese said these transport reforms will boost national income by up to $30 billion over the next 20 years by ‘ending the need for unnecessary paperwork and multiple fees on the industry’.

National system
 
The national rail safety regulator, headed up by Rob Andrews, will be based in Adelaide and have oversight of the country’s urban passenger rail networks and interstate freight operations.

‘For over 110 years, our railways have been governed by multiple sets of rules and laws which have created confusing red tape and duplication,’ Albanese said.

‘From January, you will be able to drive a train from Brisbane to Melbourne and operate under the same safety laws and that’s good for drivers, passengers and the broader public.’

‘This is a major safety and productivity reform and shows what can be achieved through cooperation between federal, state and territory governments.’

Albanese expects the remaining states and territories to deliver legislation for a National Rail Safety Regulator through their parliaments to join the new national system in the coming months.
 
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