rail freight priority container being lifted by forklift

Freight groups put forward election priorities

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) and the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) have released their priorities for Australia’s freight logistics industry ahead of the federal election.

Australian Logistics Council

Freight: Delivering Opportunity For Australia identifies 39 priority actions for the incoming Federal Government to pursue that address challenges and opportunities relevant to all modes of freight transport.
“The priorities ALC is releasing have been identified by industry participants as critical to improving the efficiency and safety of Australia’s supply chains, and meeting a growing freight task,” said ALC CEO Kirk Coningham.
“With our industry having received a bipartisan commitment to finalise the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, the first priority for whichever party wins on 18 May must be to work with state and territory governments to finalise and implement action plans that will ensure the strategy delivers for industry.
“In that context, the priorities ALC is now putting forward will help to bolster the effectiveness of that strategy by addressing some of the long-term infrastructure, investment and regulatory issues that act as an impediment to a seamless national freight network.
“Enhanced supply chain performance is not a niche issue. Every individual Australian relies on freight every day, no matter where they live. If we are going to meet the challenges that arise from a growing population and changing consumer expectations around rapid delivery, it will be necessary to implement the sorts of reforms ALC has set out.
“The priorities that ALC has identified touch on a range of issues, including a more consistent national approach to planning and investing in freight infrastructure, enhancing the productivity of our road and rail networks through regulatory reform and strengthening our export performance through enhanced freight infrastructure in Northern Australia.
“There are also suggestions for improving the industry’s environmental performance by encouraging uptake of electric freight vehicles, ensuring the industry is able to access data that will allow more effective monitoring and measurement of supply chain performance, improving the wider community’s understanding of this industry and enhancing its ability to interact safely with freight vehicles.
“While many of these reforms will be challenging, they are absolutely essential to securing Australia’s continued economic success and creating more liveable communities.
“Although this reform agenda must be led by whichever party forms government, success will ultimately depend on cooperation and collaboration with all members of the 46th Parliament. It is important that all parliamentarians recognise that responsibility, whatever their political stripe.
“To that end, ALC will seek to work closely with all political parties in the next Parliament to secure these policy reforms, and implement a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy that allows this industry to keep delivering for all Australians.”

Australasian Railway Association

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has also released its priorities policy development paper for the 2019 federal election.
Titled Rail: Creating Vibrant Cities, Thriving Regions and a Connected Nation, the paper sets out key transport infrastructure challenges facing the Australian government and offers practical, affordable and achievable policy solutions where rail can play a key role.
“As our cities continue to grow and our freight task increases the pressure on our existing infrastructure network also increases,” said ARA CEO Danny Broad.
“Avoiding and reducing congestion is one of the biggest benefits that can be achieved by moving passengers and freight onto properly planned and funded rail solutions, integrated with other transport modes.”
The ARA’s five priorities are:

  1. Making cities liveable: the Australian government must continue to increase funding of urban passenger and freight rail projects which are essential to reduce road congestion, improve quality of life and increase productivity.

“With increasing support from both main political parties for passenger and freight rail projects, we look forward to this continuing and urge against stop start approaches to rail infrastructure funding.”

  1. Connecting our regions: the Australian government must plan and resource inter-regional fast rail projects and east coast high speed rail through a national planning agency.

“Pleasingly, both major political parties now support the establishment of a national planning agency to underpin their respective visions for inter-city rail connectivity, examine funding options and acquire the sought-after corridors.”

  1. Supporting employment: Skilled labour shortages threaten the delivery and cost effectiveness of new and existing rail infrastructure projects. The Australian government needs to lead the response to critical rail skills shortages by formalising a high level taskforce to lead reforms, build partnerships and implement expert recommendations to deliver fit-for-purpose education and training.

“If we are to reap the benefits of rail, industry and government need to make the necessary reforms together and increase investment in fit-for-purpose education and training.”

  1. Strengthening our economy: We need safer, more sustainable and efficient ways to move freight by rail. The Australian government needs to implement the national freight and supply chain strategy and incentivise jurisdictions to support its delivery. The ARA urges continued funding and political support of the Inland Rail project to ensure its timely delivery.

“The government also needs to level the playing field between road and rail. We need independent price regulation of heavy vehicles and mode neutral policies. Freight rail operators, charged at full market rates to access infrastructure have endeavoured to compete with heavy vehicles that access publicly subsidised roads.”

  1. National coordination to support industry: Rail contributes $26 billion to the national economy, while employing thousands of Australians in many small to medium size enterprises. However, its efforts are dissipated by fragmented approaches to investment, procurement, construction and regulation across eight different jurisdictions.

“Strong industries don’t develop by chance. The Australian government must lead the development of a national rail industry plan to achieve a coherent national approach to rail, covering procurement, local content, manufacturing, innovation and research, and harmonisation of standards.”
“We look forward to working with government to realise the full national benefits of these rail policies,” Mr Broad concluded.

Infrastructure Priority List welcomed by the freight sector

The Infrastructure Priority List recently released by Infrastructure Australia (IA) has won widespread approval in the freight sector, including the Australian Logistics Council, Australasian Railways Association and the Australian Trucking Association.
ALC: The priority list highlights freight infrastructure opportunities
The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) said the Infrastructure Priority List released by Infrastructure Australia (IA) highlights continued need for targeted investment in freight infrastructure projects that will enhance supply chain efficiency and safety, and make Australia more internationally competitive.
“It is essential that Australia makes infrastructure investment decisions that are based on sound principles and evidence-based assessments regarding a project’s capacity to contribute to our economic strength, and liveability of our communities,” said ALC chairman Philip Davies.
“In the past, the Infrastructure Priority List has helped to build support for investment in critical freight infrastructure projects which are now being undertaken, including Western Sydney Airport, Inland Rail, the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal and more recently the Port Botany freight rail duplication, which was supported in the 2018 Federal Budget.”
“It is especially pleasing to note this year’s list again includes the development of a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy as a high priority initiative.”
“To further boost the effectiveness of that Strategy when it is released later this year, ALC urges governments to prioritise investment in key freight-related initiatives IA has included in this year’s list, including:

  • Upgrading Chullora Junction to enhance Sydney’s freight rail network;
  • Constructing the North East Link in Melbourne to alleviate traffic congestion and enhance freight efficiency;
  • Pursuing a dedicated freight rail connection from Inland Rail to the Port of Brisbane;
  • Enhancing capacity and traffic flows on the Mitchell and Kwinana Freeways in Perth;
  • Completing the upgrade of the Adelaide North-South road corridor to enhance capacity and efficiency of freight movement to the airport and port precincts;
  • Investing in road and rail improvements on the Burnie to Hobart freight corridor;
  • Implementation of the Advanced Train Management System on the ARTC network; and
  • Establishing a national electric vehicle fast-charging network to overcome ‘range anxiety’ among freight logistics operators.

“Australia must do everything possible to eliminate capacity constraints in our freight networks if we wish to succeed in an increasingly competitive global market. Securing investment in these priority projects will help to deliver that outcome.”
ARA backs IA’s strong rail focus in Infrastructure Priority List
The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has also welcomed Infrastructure Australia’s (IA) 2019 Infrastructure Priority List.
“IA plays an important role in identifying key infrastructure problems and opportunities to ensure investment is appropriately targeted to areas of greatest need,” said ARA CEO Danny Broad.
“The rail projects included in IA’s 2019 Infrastructure Priority List are important nation-building initiatives and are endorsed by the rail sector,” he continued.
“Pleasingly, there are more rail projects and initiatives in the report compared to the 2018 Infrastructure Priority List, with 54 of the 125 projects and initiatives rail-related.
“As Australia’s population grows, rail infrastructure will increasingly become the backbone to meet Australia’s growing passenger and freight needs. To manage the challenges posed in our cities and regions in the long-term, Australia will need to ensure that it continuously invests in rail infrastructure.
“We know that rail is an efficient, environmentally and socially beneficial mode of transport. We also know that rail has lower emissions than road transport, is safer and can help reduce congestion in our cities.
“The significance of these rail projects identified by IA warrants investment from governments at all levels. Our networks of infrastructure and services connect people and communities, support freight transport across the country, help deliver our resources to overseas markets and continue to generate economic growth and employment,” he said.
ATA welcomes updated Infrastructure Priority List
Infrastructure Australia’s updated Infrastructure Priority List illustrates the importance of evidence-based investment decisions, chairman of the Australian Trucking Association Geoff Crouch said.
“The Infrastructure Priority List provides critical focus on the need to invest in safer regional roads and fixing urban congestion,” Mr Crouch said.
“The new project calling for regional road network safety improvements to invest in fixing high-risk sections of regional roads and deliver safer road infrastructure is a critical priority.
“Infrastructure Australia reports that relative to population size, the number of fatalities in regional areas is over four times higher than for major cities.
“This project now requires government support across Australia, and the ATA strongly welcomes the inclusion of a similar new project by the NSW Government to make regional road safety improvements in NSW.
“Governments should also support the call for a roads network optimisation program to address urban congestion.
“First added to the priority list in 2016 but still without a government proponent, Infrastructure Australia has again reconfirmed the need for governments to make multiple, co-ordinated, productivity enhancements to the road network to reduce congestion.
“These investments should be based on data and seek to optimise traffic flows through investments such as intersection treatments, traffic light sequencing, clearways and incident management.”
The ATA also welcomes the continued inclusion and expansion of projects to address major road investment priorities.
“There’s a long list of proposed road, highway and motorway projects which would make a significant investment to improving safety, connectivity and productivity on the road network,” Mr Crouch said.
Future updates to the Infrastructure Priority List should expand the network-based focus on improving roads to include regional and outback highways and corridors.
“The need to make better use and enable more productive connectivity extends beyond our major cities and their rural hinterlands, and Infrastructure Australia should include network optimisation and access for investing in better regional and outback highways in future priority list updates,” Mr Crouch said.
 

Bust railway congestion in the budget: ARA

The Australasian Railways Association (ARA) is calling for the Australian government to play a more significant role in supporting and promoting passenger and freight rail infrastructure in the 2019-20 federal budget.
Australia’s population growth is making rail transport an essential component of addressing Australia’s growing public transport and freight needs.
“Cities are increasingly looking to integrated transport systems that link high-capacity metro systems with current rail networks, light rail, regional rail and other transport modes to encourage active and engaged community-based lifestyles,” said ARA CEO Danny Broad.
“Rail provides the backbone of public transport systems, for our growing cities.
“Similarly, Australia’s growing population requires an increased allocation of goods, adding pressure on our freight networks. Rail freight provides a cost-effective, safe and environmentally sound solution for reducing congestion from heavy vehicles on urban, regional and interstate roads. Rail freight will need to play a greater role in the future to meet Australia’s increasing freight task and to maintain our international competitiveness,” he concluded.
The ARA’s National Rail Industry Plan for the Benefit of Australia presents a compelling case for amore collaborative approach between Australian governments and the rail industry to overcome inefficiencies inherent in our federal system.
Specific programs that have been identified in the ARA’s submission for funding include

  1. Resourcing the Australian and New Zealand Industry Pipeline to provide a comprehensive list of rail projects to allow better industry planning for new rail infrastructure and rolling stock.
  2. Supporting a high-level task force of the rail industry, governments and education providers to address critical skilled labour shortages and provide ‘fit-for-purpose’ training in rail construction, manufacturing, maintenance and operations.
  3. Providing appropriate resources at the federal level to progress and implement measures contained in the final National Freight and Supply Chain strategy, including both infrastructure upgrades and the strengthening of regulatory frameworks.
  4. Implementing independent price regulation of heavy vehicle charges. For too long we have had unequal charging and regulatory systems, placing rail at an unfair competitive disadvantage.
  5. Support passenger rail operators to comply with Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (DSAPT).
  6. Tackling urban congestion by allowing Australians to salary sacrifice the purchase of public transport tickets, positioning public transport as a viable alternative to car travel.
  7. Taking steps to preserve and secure the corridor of land required to establish a high-speed rail link between Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

The ARA also provided the government with a list of rail optimisation projects to consider, where existing rail services could be enhanced.
The full submission can be found here.

Renewed focus

This article appeared in the February/March 2018 issue of Logistics & Materials Handling.
Australia’s rail freight industry has been in the spotlight in recent months, with the Inland Rail project on track to bring back the mode’s visibility – and, importantly, its viability. AusRAIL PLUS 2017 looked to champion the mode’s successes, and potential.
All governments recognise the importance and benefits of rail to Australia,” said Danny Broad – CEO of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA), as he opened the ARA’s annual event, AusRAIL PLUS 2017, in Brisbane. “Investment in rail made in the national interest will enhance rail’s contribution to the economy through greater efficiency in both public transport and supply chain networks – all Australians will be the beneficiaries.”
With forecast investment in both new rolling stock – or rail vehicles – and rail infrastructure of $100 billion over the next 15 years, and Inland Rail and a national rail industry program securing $20 million in funding in the FY17 Federal Budget, “rail certainly is the place to be,” he noted.
“An important era lies ahead of us – it is a pivotal time, and the implementation of the national rail industry plan is essential.”
Darren Chester, then-Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, echoed Broad’s comments, noting that the federal backing for the Inland Rail project and other key rail infrastructure is a clear vote of confidence in the future of the industry.
“[This is] the most exciting time in the past 100 years to be in involved in rail,” said Chester. “Australia needs Inland Rail – without it, we won’t be able to cope with a projected doubling of our nation’s freight task.
“Currently, about 25 per cent of Melbourne-to-Brisbane freight is carried on rail, and around 75 per cent is carried on road. This project will help to even the ledger.”
Seeing the value
The ARA commissioned consultancy Deloitte to produce a report looking at future strains on passenger and freight rail networks, rail safety, rail’s benefits over road, and environmental considerations for modal choices. Broad released the Value of Rail report at the event, noting that it highlights the significant role the rail industry will play in enabling Australia to cope with future challenges.
“Australia’s population is increasing at a rate of 370,000 people per year,” he said. “By 2060, both Sydney and Melbourne populations will have grown by approximately three million people.
“Freight is likely to grow with gross domestic product (GDP) rather than the population growth – with a potential 88 per cent increase in kilometres travelled by 2050, and an increase in vehicle stocks of about 2.5 million trucks and light commercial vehicles.
“To manage these challenges, Australia will have to develop its multimodal transport systems, with light rail and heavy rail at its spine.”
The report found that Australia’s population will double by 2075, reaching almost 45 million people. It notes that rail currently contributes approximately $26 billion to the Australian economy each year, while offering lower emissions and safety and congestion benefits compared to other transport modes.
“Significant investments are being made into Australia’s rail infrastructure,” the report continues. “In some sense, these investments are making up for a prolonged period of underinvestment.”
Dealing with disruption
Change was a central topic at the conference – in particular, uncertainty about the pace and extent of change to work, technology and population.
As Craig Rispin, Business Futurist and Technology Guru at The Future Trends Group, explained, the ability to obtain and analyse data will be key in the years ahead.
“Data is the new oil, and artificial intelligence (AI) is the new oil,” he said – since the ability to collect data means nothing without the ability to analyse it.
By 2028, he shared, the world will be far removed from the one we live in today. Fifty per cent of jobs will have been replaced by machinery, the majority of cars will be driverless, and six in ten people will be living in cities – with one in three aged over 100. The significance, he said, is businesses cannot expect to continue to keep working the same way while the world changes around them.
He pointed to the rise of the start-up culture as one risk to established companies, with organisations such as Airbnb and Uber enabling individuals to do what entire companies used to do. While competing with new, lean rail start-ups, the industry will also have to remain mindful of advances in emission-reduction technology in trucks, allowing them to travel from Melbourne to Sydney in one charge, recharge and head back again. “Be part of the future,” said Rispin. “Or try to avoid the inevitable.”
Port partnership
For ports to handle the incoming onslaught of freight, they will need to increase their reliance on rail, shared Jonathan Lafforgue, General Manager – Operations and Environment at NSW Ports.
“The 2016–2017 ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) Stevedore Monitoring Report came out [in early November 2017], stating that Port Botany is now Australia’s largest container stevedoring port,” said Lafforgue. “While we welcome that news, we’re more excited about the potential capacity we’ve still got in our port to grow – right now, we’re handling a little under 2.5 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) per annum. The port itself has the capacity to grow to 7.5–8 million TEU– meaning we have enough key lines, berths, and land behind that to facilitate that volume of freight.”
He noted that the only way NSW Ports will be able to put that much freight across the key lines of ships is by getting 40 per cent of containers on rail. “Right now, we’re proud of the fact that it’s about 20 per cent – but we need to double that to reach that next-level capacity.”
The majority of Port Botany’s freight is regional rail at present, and 80 per cent is delivered within a 40km radius of the Port.
“To get to that next step, we’ll need to start targeting the import freight, rather than the export freight – and to do that, we’ll need the intermodals,” said Lafforgue.
One voice
According to Priscilla Radice – Principal and Australasian Business Leader at professional consultancy Arup, the privatisation of Australia’s ports has had an unexpected effect on the conversation around freight in the country.
“With the privatisation of the ports, I don’t think anyone predicted how strong a voice [ports would] have,” said Radice, adding that their input in creating a strong supply chain is key, since ports are mode agnostic. Now, privatised ports are contributing to the conversation.
Radice noted that oppositional conversation about freight in unhelpful, especially in the government space.
“Having worked alongside governments, looking at light rail, passenger rail, road and inner-city shaping policies, I see that the oppositional speak of freight – road versus rail, freight versus commuter – I don’t think [it] helps,” she said. “Governments are shifting more and more towards city shaping, understanding their current ecosystem – they need the freight industry to provide a coordinated ‘one’ voice that is very clear […] so the supply chain does not happen in isolation.”
Radice advocated a holistic and united approach to infrastructure planning, noting that rail freight will always have to jostle for its slice of the pie after passenger rail.
“NSW Ports, your target of 40 per cent freight on rail is potentially in direct conflict with the densification of population along freight lines,” she said. “Look at what the freight piece is in the wider context for cities – you’ll never beat the commuter push. Governments need to know that the population is going to double, by getting smarter around all the technology freight will be what that looks like in terms of its infrastructure. You can’t continue to be oppositional.”
The rail freight industry has been handed an opportunity to prove itself viable as an alternative to road transport, though the years ahead will not be free of challenges. Key will be industry development focused on remaining competitive, speakers noted, whether that be through the development of intermodal freight terminals, sophisticated route planning and tracking technology, autonomous capabilities or otherwise.
With the nation’s rail experts already strategising for the various unknowns, the rail industry could be on the right track.

ARA unveils report heralding benefit of rail

At the AusRAIL PLUS 2017, held this week in Brisbane, Australasian Railway Association (ARA) CEO Danny Broad launched the Value of Rail Report, a report prepared by Deloitte Access Economics.
“It is my absolute pleasure today to launch the Value of Rail Report, which highlights the contribution of rail to Australia,” said Danny Broad, CEO, ARA.
“We know that Australia’s population increases at a rate of 370,000 people every year. By 2060, both Sydney and Melbourne will have grown by approximately three million people each.”
He noted that improved transport solutions will be needed to deal with congestion experienced as Australia’s population increases.
“To manage these challenges, Australia will have to develop its multimodal transport solutions with light and heavy rail as its spine to provide the solutions that Australia needs in shaping our cities and our regions into the future.
“The story with growth in freight traffic is even greater – a potential 88 per cent increase in kilometres travelled by 2050, and an increase of some 2.5 million trucks and light commercial vehicles on our roads,” he added.
“This growth in freight underscores the need for an efficient supply chain and for a heavy vehicle pricing framework that accurately captures the cost of road infrastructure provision and the negative externalities of road usage, such as congestion, vehicle emission and accidents – a point which is reinforced in the report.”
He added that rail makes a significant contribution to the Australian economy, injecting around $26 billion into the national economy, contributing 1.6 per cent of GDP and acting as a key enabler of exports.
“We create over 140,000 jobs in our cities and our regions, provide safe, efficient, environmentally and socially beneficial modes of transport,” he said.
“We ask governments to get on board and implement our National Rail Industry Plan to provide the rail industry and the broader Australian community with long-term certainty of improved transport solutions for the benefit of all.”

Rail industry takes National Rail Plan to Parliament

Representatives from the rail industry met with Commonwealth Ministers on 12 September to discuss the need for a National Rail Industry Plan for the benefit of Australia.
“Today is a significant day for the rail industry as we build momentum for a National Rail Industry Plan and meeting with Commonwealth Ministers is our first step,” said Danny Broad, CEO, Australasian Railway Association (ARA).
“The rail industry makes a significant contribution to the Australian economy. Investment in rail by Australian Governments will be in the order of $100 billion through to 2030. We are meeting with Commonwealth Ministers today to say – we need a plan to coordinate this effort and we need your support.
“Through better coordination and long-term certainty, we can ensure the industry is well positioned to take advantage of all the lessons from the past and position ourselves for the future.
“The Commonwealth Government will be investing $89 billion in naval shipbuilding through to 2055. This investment will be supported by a Naval Shipbuilding Plan. Rail’s contribution to Australia is no less than shipbuilding.”
He noted that a combined effort by commonwealth, state and territory government, and industry support, would be required.
The National Rail Industry Plan will need to include five key areas of focus, he shared, including recognising the importance of rail for Australia’s infrastructure development, urban planning and freight movements; harmonising standards, minimising regulations and maximising economies of scale; growing the capabilities of individuals and companies; maximising opportunities for rail companies; and fostering innovation, research and development.

Ten-point plan for supply chain efficiencies

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has submitted its ‘Ten Point Plan to Creating Greater National Freight and Supply Chain Efficiencies’ to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development’s inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities.
“The ARA supports the development of a national freight and supply chain strategy to guide long term decision making and investments by both government and industry,” said Australasian Railway Association chief executive officer Danny Broad.
“With Australia’s freight task expected to grow by more than 80 per cent between 2011 and 2031 combined with our national population expected to increase to 30.5 million by 2031, it is critical that we act now to ensure that we are able to meet the freight needs of tomorrow.
“The ARA, on behalf of the rail industry has identified ten areas that require attention to enable greater efficiency and productivity for rail freight. They include linking future infrastructure funding to the delivery of reform, commitment to a competitively neutral policy approach to ensure domestic rail freight markets can operate as far as possible on a level footing with other modal choices, a national framework for corridor protection, equitable access pricing for road and rail, as well as Commonwealth, state and territory government investment into rail.
“Other areas for improvement also include maximising efficiency on the existing network, addressing ‘externalities’ that impact upon the Australian community negatively, supporting technology developments, addressing jurisdictional inconsistencies and continuing to identify ways to address challenges associated with different track owners.
The ARA’s ‘Ten Point Plan to Creating National Freight and Supply Chain Efficiencies’ submission to the Inquiry into the National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities is available here. A summary of the 10 Point Plan is available here.

ARA submits advice for national supply-chain strategy inquiry

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has released its submission for the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development’s inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities – the Ten Point Plan to Creating Greater National Freight and Supply Chain Efficiencies.
“The ARA supports the development of a national freight and supply chain strategy to guide long-term decision-making and investments by both government and industry,” said Danny Broad, CEO, ARA.
“With Australia’s freight task expected to grow by more than 80 per cent between 2011 and 2031, combined with our national population expected to increase to 30.5 million by 2031, it is critical that we act now to ensure that we are able to meet the freight needs of tomorrow.
The ARA identified 10 areas in need of attention to enable greater efficiency and productivity for rail freight, including linking future infrastructure funding to the delivery of reform, committing to a competitively neutral policy approach to ensure domestic rail freight markets can operate as far as possible on a level footing with other modal choices, a national framework for corridor protection and equitable access pricing for road and rail.
“Other areas for improvement also include maximising efficiency on the existing network, addressing ‘externalities’ that impact upon the Australian community negatively, supporting technology developments, addressing jurisdictional inconsistencies and continuing to identify ways to address challenges associated with different track owners,” he said.
The submission can be viewed on the ARA’s website.

QLD Govt joins National Rail Safety Regulator

On 1 July, Queensland joined the regulatory fold of the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR), with the newest branch office officially opening its doors on Monday, 3 July.
The Queensland branch delivers the final piece of the ONRSR puzzle, with the Brisbane office joining National Office and Central Branch (Adelaide) and the New South Wales (Sydney), Western Australia (Perth) and Victorian (Melbourne) branches.
ONRSR CEO and National Rail Safety Regulator, Sue McCarrey, said the establishment of jurisdiction in Queensland is a fantastic result and the culmination of a lot of hard work over many years.
“This is a great milestone for ONRSR and those that have been involved in the national reform to bring about a single national rail safety regulator…1 July marks the point when we will have responsibility for rail safety regulation in every Australian state and territory,” said McCarrey.
The establishment of the new office is the culmination of collaboration between the ONRSR and the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR), particularly those within the TMR Rail Regulation Unit.
Many of those within the new branch are joining from the Rail Regulation Unit and bring with them experience and local knowledge.
Leading the new team will be Mark Fernan, who was recently appointed to the role of Queensland Branch Director. He previously worked with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
With more than one third of accredited rail operators in Australia conducting their operations in more than one state, ONRSR provides a more national consistency in regulatory approach than what was achievable with separate states’ previously unique rail safety legislation.
Under the national transport reform agenda, with the ONRSR having assumed regulatory responsibility in Queensland from 12:01 on 1 July, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has taken on the role of national rail investigator in that state.
The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) congratulated the Queensland Government, noting that it joining was an important step in the establishment of a national rail safety regulator, something the rail industry has called for over the past decade.
“It is great for industry to have ONRSR as the rail safety regulator in all Australian states and territories,” said Danny Broad, CEO, ARA.

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