Submission in response to the Draft Rail Safety National Law
The Queensland Transport and Logistics Council welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Draft Rail Safety National Law and the Draft Rail Safety National Regulation. The QTLC has reviewed these documents and I, as chair of the QTLC recently attended the forum concerning the proposed legislation hosted by the NTC in Brisbane.
The QTLC, whilst highly supportive of this very necessary move to harmonise regulation of the industry, considers that the legislation meets all of its objectives bar one; reducing the compliance burden.
Whilst the legislation clearly reduces the number of bodies an interstate operator must report to, it is clear that every state has had a hand in ensuring their particular nuances on what must be reported on have found their way into the national legislation.
This has led to 30 items requiring detailed consideration in order to comply with the demands of safety management alone (including unspecified “human factors”). The concern being that the compliance burden may deter smaller operators entering the market whom might only seek to operate on single line or on a hook and pull basis for specific seasonal traffics. Whilst it is acknowledged that there is some scope within the legislation to accommodate circumstance and moderate the regulatory burden, this is highly discretionary.
The “one size fits all” approach will inevitably create winners and losers (ie. Large operators win, small operators lose) in terms of their ability to absorb compliance costs, however it is felt that this is preferable to the current malaise.
Other general comments are as follows:
The requirements to provide data on freight movements are very modest and amount to just the number of kilometres travelled by freight trains on a particular network. It would be good to see tonnages (NTK) at least included and ideally the commodities being hauled to facilitate better rail planning and safety reporting.
The QTLC is not sure why QLD’s extensive crane rail network, which commonly encounters incidents during the cutting season, is excluded from the legislation.
Thank you again for the opportunity to provide comment on this important initiative.