Saturday 24th Jun, 2017

Legislation reform will integrate light rail to road transport standards

Canberra light rail. Graphic: ACT Government
Graphic: ACT Government

The ACT government has presented the first stage of reforms to the territory’s road transport legislation to support the operation of light rail.

The Road Transport Reform (Light Rail) Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 was introduced to the ACT parliament last week. Shane Rattenbury, road safety minister, said the amendment would lay the foundation for a sustainable transport system into the future.

“The bill integrates the light rail system with the ACT’s road transport legislation and road rules, ensuring light rail can operate safely on our roads,” the minister said.

“Light rail in Canberra will provide more transport options for Canberrans, as part of an integrated transport system. The government is delivering a modern and sustainable transport system for the ACT, which will take us closer to achieving zero net greenhouse emissions in the ACT.”

Under the legislation, light rail vehicles and light rail drivers will be subject to rules and regulations that currently apply to vehicles on ACT roads.

“Canberra Metro is subject to the Rail Safety National Law, which imposes strict safety requirements on the rail operator and rail drivers,” Rattenbury said. “Light rail vehicles will also be covered by the ACT’s compulsory third-party insurance scheme. Compensation will be available for people injured by an at fault light rail vehicle driver.”

ACT minister for transport and city services Meegan Fitzharris indicated the reforms were a welcome contribution to light rail safety, which she said has been central to the development of the project from the start.

“Safety is the most important consideration the Government has had to make throughout the planning and build of Stage 1 light rail,” Fitzharris said.

“Following on from our Budget commitment to provide three new Worksafe officers along the stage one corridor, I am pleased to see further steps taken today, through these reforms, to ensure safety is a key priority during construction and operation of Canberra’s light rail network.”

The ACT government says that further legislation to support the operation of light rail as a public passenger service will be introduced in 2018.