Safe railways for Australia


The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) is an independent body corporate established under the Rail Safety National Law (South Australia) Act 2012.

The primary objectives of ONRSR are to encourage and enforce safe railway operations and to promote and improve national rail safety.

ONRSR was established in July 2012 and commenced operations on 20 January 2013.

ONRSR has responsibility for regulatory oversight of rail safety in the jurisdictions of South Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia.

Subject to the passage of applied or mirror legislation, it is expected that Queensland will also be regulated by ONRSR.

ONRSR is required to set out a Statement of Intent for agreement by the Transport and Infrastructure Council.

It refers to ONRSR’s goals as set out in its Corporate Plan, which are to:

  • maintain and improve rail safety through a risk-based approach to regulation
  • reduce regulatory burden on industry
  • under a co-regulatory framework, support industry in its operation of safe railways for Australia
  • promote safety awareness and work with industry on safety improvement and research
  • value and enable our people in pursuit of high performance
  • develop our systems to optimise our performance.

To achieve these goals, ONRSR aims to maintain and improve rail safety through consistent risk-based application of the law across jurisdictions, sharing and improving regulatory practice and developing strong stakeholder relationships and engagement.

Timeline: building a national rail safety regulator


Commencement with ONRSR

South Australia
Northern Territory
New South Wales

Joined ONRSR on 20 January 2013


Joined ONRSR on 19 May 2014

Australian Capital Territory

Joined ONRSR on 20 November 2014

Western Australia

Joined ONRSR on 2 November 2015


Scheduled to join on 30 June 2017, subject to the passage of legislation

Last updated: 5 December 2016