AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Rail reform pushes ahead

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The National Transport Commission (NTC) is progressing important reforms for Australia’s rail industry, with work towards the establishment of a National Rail Safety Regulator and the improvement of rail productivity key highlights of the NTC’s latest annual report. </span> <p>“The National Rail Safety Regulator is a key Council of Australian Governments (COAG) priority project for us,” a spokesperson for the NTC told <em>Rail Express.</em></p><p>“The NTC is undertaking the legislation workstream of the project, which is focused on consolidating existing law for inclusion in the new national legislation.</p><p>“We believe that the establishment of a single, National Rail Safety Regulator will deliver substantial safety, productivity and efficiency improvements in the rail sector.”</p><p>Australasian Railway Association (ARA) director government policy Phil Sochon welcomed the NTC’s progress.</p><p>“The ARA urges the National Rail Safety Regulator Board and the NTC to keep focused on maintaining the timetable for the National Rail Safety Regulator. We should not underestimate the complexity and challenge of this task and industry remains firmly committed to the Regulator Project Office in ensuring that the regulator will commence operations in each of the mainland state capitals on January 1 2013,” Sochon said.</p><p>The NTC’s Rail Freight Productivity Review is another key project for the upcoming year, the spokesperson said.</p><p>NTC’s work on reform to improve rail productivity began following its 2009 review which identified opportunities to improve the consistency and efficiency of governments’ freight rail policy directions.</p><p>Endorsed by the Australian Transport Council (ATC), the review recommended the development of long-term policies to facilitate improved freight rail investment. </p><p>The first step for this reform was the NTC’s recent release of The role of Government in Rail Freight Investment Discussion Paper. </p><p>“The NTC will also be doing some maintenance on medical standards for rail safety workers which involves us reviewing and updating medical guidance for assessing fitness of rail safety workers,” the spokesperson said.</p><p>A draft of the revised standards will be developed for public consultation, which is likely to occur in the first half of 2011.<br /><br />To download the NTC’s annual report visit: <a target="_blank" href=""></a><br /><br /><br />&nbsp</p>