Queensland’s parliament has passed a piece of legislation that will bring the state’s railways under the authority of Australia’s national rail regulator.
The decision means the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) now overseas rail safety regulation in every Australian state and territory.
The Rail Safety National Law (Queensland) Bill 2016, which was enacted by parliament on February 28 and will come into force on June 30, hands regulatory responsibilities for the state’s 9,500km rail network to the ONRSR.
ONRSR will assume the accreditation regime for train operators which is currently managed by the state.
Queensland’s government has said all existing permanent rail regulation staff will be offered new positions within the ONRSR, which plans to locate its branch headquarters in Brisbane.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport Jackie Trad said: “Under the reforms, the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator will become the rail safety regulator in Queensland and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau will operate as the rail safety investigator for no-blame investigations.
“This is a significant step forward and will improve the way safety risks are identified and managed by industry.
“By implementing these reforms in Queensland, we are cutting red tape for industry and making our railways safer.”
The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) also welcomed the move, saying it would bring “efficiencies in terms of accreditation, auditing and compliance processes”.
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