New Rail Safety Legislation

Transport Administration Amendment (Independent Transport Safety Regulator) Act 2017 No.4

The object of the bill is to abolish the Independent Transport Safety Regulator which was a NSW Statutory Corporation that provided specific functions and services under delegation from the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator.

The functions that the Independent Transport Safety Regulator currently provides include operating the NSW branch office of the National Rail Safety Regulator and performing a range of regulatory and compliance activities. Under this new legislation those functions will be undertaken directly by a new organisation known as the office of the National Rail Safety Regulator. In abolishing the Independent Transport Safety Regulator the assets rights and liabilities of the Independent Transport Safety Regulator will be transferred to the Crown.

The existing employees of the abolished body in relation to their rights as employees under the old organisation will be maintained. This new legislation in abolishing the Independent Transport Safety Regulator will now allow for the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator to directly deliver rail safety regulation in NSW. In addition to this, New South Wales will then have fully implemented national reforms to establish a national rail safety scheme. The Minister for Transport and Infrastructure also set out in his second reading that “consolidating the NSW Rail Safety Regulation under the National Rail Safety Regulator will deliver clearer accountability on rail safety oversight in NSW. It will create a single nationally consistent rail safety culture and deliver more efficient use of funding and resources by reducing the duplication of the functions”.

He further went on to say, “As part of the Council of Australian Governments, New South Wales is committed to creating a seamless national economy that helps the businesses of NSW to operate effectively and compete nation-wide. As part of this commitment the government seeks to reduce the regulatory and compliance red tape for transport operators who move passengers and freight around Australia while at the same time maintain safety”.

It was known, “that rail operators once had to meet multiple inconsistent standards and regulatory schemes when operating across state and territory boarders”. Six years ago, New South Wales and other jurisdictions agreed to set up a national rail safety regulatory scheme under a single regulator. This is where this current government adopted the Rail Safety National Law in 2017 in order to join that National Rail Safety Rail Regulatory scheme. It was noted that an independent review in 2014 of the delivery of rail safety regulation in this state recommended adopting a direct delivery model and abolishing the independent transport safety regulator and transferring all rail safety functions to the National Rail Safety Regulator. A regulation that the former minister for transport endorsed and is being put in place.

For more information please contact Matthew Williams at our office.