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ATSB to take over interstate rail accident investigations

<p>The Australian Transport Safety Bureau will assume control of interstate rail investigations from July 1, after the Transport Safety Investigation Bill 2002 was passed by Parliament on Wednesday (March 26).</p> <p>State safety regulators will continue to regulate intrastate accidents.</p> <p>A spokesman for the bureau said this month’s double derailment of a Pacific National freight train and a V-Line passenger train at Chiltern in Victoria was a clear example of a case in which the bureau would have the power to investigate under the new laws.</p> <p>The bureau cat present has to wait to be invited in by the states.</p> <p>The new legislation stems from a House of Representatives standing committee recommendation that the Commonwealth should be able to investigate interstate rail accidents.</p> <p>The Federal Government is concerned that state government investigations are not truly independent and that inquiry reports are often not made public, a briefing circulated by transport minister John Anderson said.</p> <p>&#8220An independent ATSB role in interstate rail investigation will foster better practice and safety across the industry,&#8221 the briefing said.</p> <p>&#8220The ATSB may still undertake intrastate rail investigations if requested.&#8221</p> <br />