Transport Ministers commit to rail safety review

Federal, State and Territory Transport Ministers have committed to a review of Australia’s National Rail Safety Laws, after the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) raised a number of serious concerns.


Last week’s Infrastructure and Transport Minister’s Meeting (ITMM) in Perth agreed to task “senior officials to develop terms of reference for a review of the Rail Safety National Law for consideration out of session as soon as practicable, with officials to also consider the proposed cost recovery model.”

RTBU National Secretary Mark Diamond said the review would be an important opportunity to update the rail safety regime and to ensure it was fit-for-purpose in a rapidly changing industry.

“The RTBU strongly believes that after 10 years of operation of the Rail Safety National Law (RSNL), it is prudent to conduct a review to see how it could be updated to improve safety outcomes.”

Terms of Reference

Mr Diamond said the Terms of Reference for the review should focus issues including:

• The transparency of ONRSR decisions and investigative processes;
• Considering whether the co-regulatory model is working appropriately;
• ONRSRS’s independence from industry;
• Clarity around the overlap of RSNL and WHS laws; and
• Considering whether the employment term for the Regulator should be capped.

ITMM also agreed to an RTBU request to bring forward the first review of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy to commence this calendar year.

“The global COVID-19 pandemic and flooding events across Australia during 2022 exposed serious vulnerabilities in the operation of our domestic and international supply chains.

“It has become clear that our supply chains do not have the necessary flexibility or redundancy to effectively manage these significant disruptions.