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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 1 Hansard (27 February) . . Page.. 273..


The Australian Railway Historical Society has written to the Justice and Community Safety Directorate expressing its strong support for the national law and desire for the ACT government to adopt the legislation. The society holds accreditation under the national law for its operations in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. When the national law is implemented in the ACT, the regulator will vary the society's existing New South Wales rail safety accreditation to cover its ACT operation. Similarly, NSW Trains will have its accreditation varied to include its operation in the ACT.

The national law is intended as a model for the safety regulation for rail systems operating on railway track with a gauge of 600 millimetres or more, together with their rail infrastructure and rolling stock. Such rail operations include heavy rail, light rail, monorail and trams. Notwithstanding this, the national law provides that jurisdictions may prescribe that the national law does not apply to a railway or railway of a certain class.

For example, Victoria has prescribed that tramways or light railways are not subject to the national law, whereas New South Wales has determined that the Lake Macquarie light rail and a number of heritage rail operations—for example, the Illawarra Light Railway Museum Society Ltd—are subject to the national law. In regard to capital metro light rail, the government will consider whether to apply the national law to light rail in the ACT.

Regardless of which of these options is adopted for the ACT, part 17 of the Australian road rules makes provision in relation to drivers operating trams on road. These laws would apply to any light rail operation established in the ACT. In addition, a number of other rules in other parts of the Australian road rules also refer to, or apply to, trams or tramways.

As the proposed legislation is part of a national scheme, commitments made by states and territories through the intergovernmental agreement on rail safety regulation and investigation reform are for essentially uniform application of the national law as legislated by South Australia. To ensure that the national law scheme operates consistently across participating jurisdictions, a number of jurisdictional laws are excluded from applying to the regulator.

The local application provisions of the bill set out which ACT laws will not apply. These include acts dealing with the interpretation of acts, financial matters, freedom of information, the role of the Ombudsman and matters relating to the employment of public servants. Instead, provisions are included in the national law to deal with each of these matters. This approach means that the same law applies in relation to each jurisdiction that adopts the national law.

The bill also includes provisions to make necessary adjustments to existing ACT law to ensure that the regulator is effectively integrated, including amending, omitting, repealing or disapplying local laws that are inconsistent with the uniform operation of the national law or that would interfere with the efficient operations of the regulator in the ACT. Consistent with this approach, the following territory laws do not apply to


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