AusRAIL, Market Sectors

National Rail Safety Regulator gaining traction

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> One of the most significant advancements in the harmonisation of the Australian rail industry is the appointment of a National Rail Safety Regulator, which will replace the current regime of separate state and territory regulators from January 1 2013. </span> <p>By Jennifer Perry</p><p>“The whole project is a very significant reform to the industry,” Australasian Railway Association director government relations Phil Sochon told <em>Rail Express.</em></p><p>“Historically, the National Rail Safety Regulator is something the ARA has championed since 2004 in response to the need to reduce the significant regulatory burden on rail caused by multiple regulators.</p><p>“Where we’re at now represents progress along a road that started with federation and the establishment of safety legislation in every state and jurisdiction.</p><p>“What’s important is that we’re now moving on from a separate safety regulator in each jurisdiction to a single national regulator.”</p><p>The agreed national legislation is to be approved by April next year in order to enable all states and territories to enact the necessary legislation by January 1 2013. This will allow for the lengthy processes involved in each jurisdiction</p><p>The ARA is coordinating the rail industry input into the draft legislation via a Rail safety Regulator Working Group comprising senior representatives from major interstate operators from around the country, with advice provided by the Australia Tourism and Heritage Rail Association (ATHRA) and, Laing O’Rourke for the wider construction and maintenance sector.</p><p>Industry members are being engaged through the Rail Industry safety and Standards Board (RISSB) Safety Managers Group.</p><p>Industry, through the ARA is involved in the national process that is being coordinated by Julie Bullas who has been appointed project director of the National Rail Safety Regulator Project Office based in Adelaide, in conjunction with the NTC. The Project Director answers to a project board comprising senior government representatives.</p><p>“The current work plan is about upgrading the Model Rail Safety Legislation to incorporate learnings from implementing the Bill in all jurisdictions,” Sochon said.</p><p>The National Rail Safety Regulator will commence operations 1 January 2013 with Regional offices around the nation. <br />&nbsp</p>