Transitional Provisions Rail Safety National Law (Queensland) Act 2017 (Qld)
WHO SHOULD READ THIS
- Organisations involved in rail and rolling stock design, development and operations in Queensland.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
- From 1 July 2017 the new Rail Safety National Law will apply in Queensland with certain transitional provisions.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
- Be aware of relevant transitional provisions and have a plan in place to ensure a smooth transition to the new regime.
Recently, we provided a brief overview of the Rail Safety National Law (Queensland) Act 2017 (Qld) (Act) which, operationally, takes effect from 1 July 2017 and will apply the Rail Safety National Law (RSNL), with minor modifications, as a law of Queensland. To view this update please click here.
Part 6 of the Act provides for the transitional provisions and the Act also allows for transitional regulations to be made to help facilitate the change to the RSNL. Any transitional regulations made will expire within three years of the commencement of the Act.
Sections that apply immediately
Some key aspects of the RSNL will take effect immediately (i.e. without a transitional period) on 1 July 2017. The following table provides some guidance on what to look out for in this respect.
|Notifiable occurences||From 1 July 2017 Reportable Category A incidents must be reported to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.|
|Directions and Notices||Previous issued notices (e.g. improvement notices, prohibition notices and enforceable undertakings) and other directions in force as at 1 July 2017 will continue to apply. Any actions taken pursuant to them will continue to be recognised.|
|Safety duties||General safety duties under the RSNL will apply from 1 July 2017 including new safety duties for loaders and unloaders of freight on or from rolling stock.|
|Drug and alcohol testing||Changes to testing (and who can be tested) will come into effect on 1 July 2017, including reducing the blood alcohol limit from 0.02% to 0.00%.|
|Mining operations and railway safety||Where an above-ground mining railway could be regulated by the RSNL and relevant mining safety legislation, the Act makes it clear that the RSNL will apply to the exclusion of the mining safety legislation. While the RSNL will not apply to a railway in a mine that is underground, or chiefly underground, that is used in connection with the performance of mining operations it will apply to the operation of above-ground railways, resulting in the need for accreditation (subject to the transitional arrangements).|
Some key aspects of the transitional provisions are outlined below. It is important to note that the transitional arrangements for those holding or entitled to exemptions under the current regime will be somewhat different, and the impacts will depend on the type of exemption.
|For entities currently accredited|
|For entities reliant on related body corporate exemptions|
|For entities with Private Sidings exemptions|
|For entities with particular railway exemptions|
|For entities who will only now be caught under the new regime|
Where to next?
The Minister for Transport, Jackie Trad, has stated that the:
‘National Rail Safety Regulator and the Department of Transport and Main Roads will work together to provide rail operators with information and educational resources to guide them through the changes.’10
To assist with the transition, there will be an industry information session for all accredited operators in Queensland scheduled for 5 May 2017. Details will be provided by the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator to accredited operators in Queensland.
Our next article in this series will focus on rail automation.
1 Rail Safety National Law (Queensland) Act 2017 (Qld) s101.
2 Rail Safety National Law (Queensland) Act 2017 (Qld) s67(2).
3 See note in Rail Safety National Law s62(1).
4 Rail Safety National Law s82(1).
5 Rail Safety National Law (Queensland) Act 2017 (Qld) s75(3)-(4).
6 Rail Safety National Law (Queensland) Act 2017 (Qld) s76(1).
7 Rail Safety National Law (Queensland) Act 2017 (Qld) s68(4).
8 Rail Safety National Law s205.
9 Rail Safety National Law (Queensland) Act 2017 (Qld) s66.
10 The Honourable Jackie Trad, ‘National reforms to improve rail safety’ (Media Release, 28 February 2017).
This publication covers legal and technical issues in a general way. It is not designed to express opinions on specific cases. It is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Further advice should be obtained before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication.