Rail safety regulation

The Office of the Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has responsibility for regulatory oversight of rail safety in every Australian state and territory. It independently administers the Rail Safety National Law and performs the functions and responsibilities, and exercises the powers conferred upon it by that law on behalf of all state, territory and federal Ministers for Transport.

National priorities

ONRSR has five national priorities. A national priority is defined as a rail safety area of regulatory focus that applies to multiple jurisdictions and operators and warrants a sustained period of regulatory attention. In 2022 ONRSR conducted a comprehensive review of its national priorities. This structured, evidence-based risk assessment has resulted in the identification of some new national priorities and the refining and refocusing of some existing priorities. ONRSR’s national priorities are:

  • Safety critical communication
  • Rail safety worker copetency
  • Altered working arrangements
  • Level crossing safety – regional
  • Contractor management.

More information on each of the national priorities and associated activities is available here.

More information about the investigation of rail safety incidents is available here.

National rail safety data

ONRSR collects and reports a wide range of industry safety performance data – this information is available here.

TrackSAFE has prepared a series of reports on fatalities and injuries on the Australian rail network based on ONRSR and coronial data. These are available here.

Updated 3 January 2023