Fines for rail deaths woefully inadequate

The Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday issued fines of $375,000 to the Australian Rail Track Corporation and $150,000 to NSW Trains over the fatal derailment of an XPT service at Wallan in February 2020.

RTBU (Rail, Tram and Bus Union) Assistant National Secretary Shayne Kummerfeld said two much-loved members of the railway family were killed and eight passengers were seriously injured in the derailment.

“The fines issued today seem woefully inadequate for an incident where two lives were lost, and many more put at risk,” Mr Kummerfeld said.

“Fines like this will not force rail operators or rail infrastructure managers to change their practices.

“Australia’s rail safety regime is no longer fit for purpose.

“We still have different safe working systems in each state.  Furthermore, the increasing use of Driver-Only operations without proper controls and the conflict between WHS laws and the Rail Safety National Law (RSNL) are areas of significant concern to the RTBU.”

Mr Kummerfeld said the RTBU lobbied State, Territory and Federal Transport Ministers for a review of the RSNL, and that review is currently underway.

“We are hopeful that the review of the RSNL will deliver genuine and meaningful changes to Australia’s rail safety regime that prevent tragedies like the Wallan derailment from ever happening again.”

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