Single rail regulator will end blame game, lure investment: NTC

Creating a single national rail safety regulator will put an end to the blame game over the rail safety and tap investment in Australia’s rail, according to the National Transport Commission (NTC).

The NTC has released a draft regulatory impact statement, which concluded that an integrated national regulator could engender more effective, responsive and consistent rail safety outcomes, including a best-practice safety culture throughout Australia’s rail industry.

Australia currently has seven rail regulators plus three rail safety investigators.

“Our analysis shows a single national rail safety regulator, administering a single national act, can improve the clarity and understanding of the new laws and deliver a safer rail network nationally,” NTC chief executive Nick Dimopoulos said.

“The proposal is all about getting better and safer outcomes form the resources, in terms of people and systems, we already have in place.”

Mr Dimopoulos said the multiple jurisdictions and resultant inconsistency in regulations had been hampering industry’s efficiency potential, leaving it lagging behind in the competitive transport market.

“A single regulator with one set of business processes and systems will cut red tape and allow rail operators to get on with the real job at hand – growing their business safely and playing a greater role in the growing transport task,” he said.

“This is a window of opportunity for rail. We believe a stronger rail sector has significant a contribution to make in improving transport safety and reducing carbon emissions.”

The NTC’s draft statement also called for reform of rail safety investigation, supporting the move towards a wider multi-modal national transport investigator for rail, air, maritime and public transport.

The NTC is currently finalising a strategic rail productivity review and national supply chain reviews to further improve the competitiveness of the rail transport sector.

Public comment can be made on the draft statement until 14 December 2008.

A final recommendation will be delivered to the Australian Transport Council in early 2009.

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