ALC 'disappointed' with draft Rail safety package

Australia’s peak Logistics body says the current legislative package for rail safety isn’t strong enough to realise the full benefits of a national system

ALC 'disappointed' with draft Rail safety package
ALC ‘disappointed’ with draft Rail safety package

August 16, 2011

Australia’s peak Logistics body says the current legislative package for rail safety isn’t strong enough to realise the full benefits of a national system.

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) says it fully supports the adoption of one national law for rail safety, but that the current draft law lacks "teeth".

In its submission on the National Draft Rail Safety Law, the ALC argues provisions enabling existing jurisdictions to administer the rail safety laws may result in seven different interpretations of the national law down the track.

ALC CEO Michael Kilgariff says his organisation’s submission on the draft laws
reflects a commitment to the implementation of national regulators for rail safety, maritime safety and heavy vehicles.

"We see national regulators as a critical reform needed to support greater efficiencies in the transport sector," Kilgariff says.

"Clear, centrally drafted guidelines and procedures are necessary to ensure a consistent regulatory approach which is administered by a single, autonomous, properly funded national safety regulator."

However, with leaders set to discuss national transport reforms at this Friday’s COAG meeting, Kilgariff warns delegating powers to enforce the laws to seven jurisdictions will be counter-productive.

"This approach is obviously not in line with the reform’s primary objective to eliminate inconsistencies across state boundaries," he argues.

Kilgariff says ALC’s submission also highlights concerns about how regulations can be made and disallowed under the legislation.

"Under the draft laws only the South Australian Government can make regulations relating to the laws on the advice of the nation’s transport ministers or as an initiative of the state parliament," he points out.

"ALC would prefer to see the rail safety package adopt an approach similar to the heavy vehicle national laws, whereby the ministerial council can make regulations.

"Similarly, ALC believes a regulation under the draft laws should be able to be disallowed nationally if a single jurisdiction is successful in overturning it.

Kilgariff adds it is disappointing that under the current proposals there is no capacity for an Australian parliament to disallow a rail safety regulation.

"Despite this, the ALC is pleased with the draft law package overall," he says.

"The national rail safety reform process is an essential ingredient to achieving a seamless national economy.

"A consistent regulatory framework for rail safety would improve productivity in the rail sector by eliminating many of the state based inconsistencies which add to compliance costs."

"The implementation of these national safety laws is critical to achieving the efficiency gains we need to meet the growing national freight task," Kilgariff says.

"ALC urges our nation’s leaders not to lose sight of this important fact when they meet in Canberra this week."

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