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Regulating rail safety in Queensland

Queensland's rail transport industry is made up of a diverse group of organisations ranging from large rail transport operators operating freight, coal or passenger services to enthusiastic volunteers who operate historic and tourist railways. 

These Queensland rail operators are regulated by the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator and are required to comply with the Rail Safety National Law (Queensland) Act 2017. This Act applies the Rail Safety National Law and includes provisions to suit Queensland's rail environment.

The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator is an independent body corporate established under the Rail Safety National Law (South Australia) Act 2012 and is responsible for regulatory oversight of rail safety in every Australian state and territory.  The Regulator publishes an annual National Rail Safety Report that provides a review of rail industry safety performance based on the notifiable occurrence reporting required under the Rail Safety National Law.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads maintains its role as the Dangerous Goods Regulator for rail under the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994 and the Transport Infrastructure (Dangerous Goods by Rail) Regulation 2018.

No-blame rail investigations

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is an independent Commonwealth Government statutory agency governed by a commission and is the National Rail Safety Investigator in Queensland. The ATSB's function is to improve safety and public confidence in the aviation, marine and rail modes of transport through excellence in:

  • independent investigation of transport accidents and other safety occurrences
  • safety data recording, analysis and research
  • fostering safety awareness, knowledge and action.

The ATSB conducts no-blame safety investigations of rail occurrences across Australia and occurs concurrently with the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator overseeing rail safety regulation in each state and territory.

The ATSB's rail safety investigation reports from 1 July 2017 can be found on the ATSB website. Reports  prior to 1 July 2017 were conducted by the Department of Transport and Main Roads and are available by contacting Safer Rail at railsafety@tmr.qld.gov.au.

Investigation fee

The ATSB is the National Rail Safety Investigator, responsible for all no-blame investigations. It is funded in Queensland through the rail safety investigation fee, detailed in the Rail Safety National Law (Queensland) Regulation 2017

The fee is collected from high frequency rail operators who are most likely to be subject to a no-blame rail safety investigation by the ATSB and operators pay fees relative to the size of their operation. Only the amount required to pay the ATSB is collected.

Safety complaints

All concerns and complaints about rail safety can be reported directly to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau for investigation.

Last updated
16 September 2021