Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand)

ONRSR welcomes passage of national law in WA

The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has welcomed the Western Australian Parliament’s decision to approve the full application of Rail Safety National Law (RSNL). 

While Western Australia formally adopted the national legislation in 2015, until now it was implemented using what is known as “Mirror Legislation” – effectively locking down a 2015 localised version of the national act. 

ONRSR Chief Executive and National Rail Safety Regulator, Dr. Natalie Pelham said the decision to bring WA into line with all other states and territories would remove any inconsistencies and ensure that rail operators in the west benefited from a range of amendments made to the RSNL since 2015. 

The new law will not come into effect until the second half of 2024, and ONRSR will use the time to conduct a comprehensive engagement program with all WA based rail transport operators and rail safety workers and their representatives. 

“This is about making sure that railways in Western Australia are as safe as they can be and that ONRSR is as efficient and effective as possible in regulating safety across Australia,” Pelham said. 

“For the most part, and certainly for the time being, it will be business as usual, but this decision does give clarity and certainty, with operators and rail safety workers having the same requirements in WA as everywhere else in the country, ultimately reducing the complexity of regulation and costs.”

A series of information sessions, to be conducted by rail safety officers and senior staff from ONRSR’s Perth office, will be held to ensure operators and rail safety workers understand the application of the national law in Western Australia. 

“We will work closely with all our stakeholders in Western Australia over the coming months to explain exactly how this change will be managed and what it means for them,” Pelham said.