With Australia’s national transport reform continually gathering steam, the state of Victoria provided a massive boost with the news that it will implement an important piece of legislation.
The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) announced earlier this week that Victoria will be joining the National Rail Safety Regulator. As such, the Rail Safety National Law Application Act 2013 (Victoria) came into effect as of Monday May 19, paving the way for the national rail safety scheme to extend to the state.
Victoria is therefore the latest state to come on board with the regulator, with South Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales and the Northern Territory already registered under the program.
Transport Safety Victoria has taken on the role as the Victorian branch of the ONRSR. This body will continue to directly oversee tram operations in the state, as well as selected tourist and heritage rail services.
“This is another major step towards fulfilling the goals of the national transport reform agenda,” said Rob Andrews, national regulator and chief executive of the ONRSR.
“The Victorian rail system is a hugely important part of the Australian Rail Network, so this represents a further significant step towards a single rail safety regulator.”
Victorian Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder also welcomed the announcement, which underlines the state government’s commitment to “creating an efficient and consistent regulator across Australia”.
“The level of regulatory oversight afforded to the travelling Victorian public and rail employees will be maintained and remains our highest priority. National regulation will bring productivity benefits for industry, particularly interstate rail operations,” he explained.
The ONRSR has already begun taking steps to ensure the transition to the regulator is as smooth as possible, with training and information sessions having been provided to staff and operators over the last few weeks.
Safety is a crucial consideration in rail asset management, and therefore the news of Victoria joining the National Rail Safety Regulator is likely to be well received across the country. Understandably, the ONRSR will have a huge role to play in maintaining a high standard of rail safety across the country moving forward.