Safe railways for Australia

Freedom of information


The Freedom of Information Act 1991 of South Australia (the “FOI Act”), as modified by the National Regulations, applies to the ONRSR in all jurisdictions where the RSNL applies. The objectives of the FOI Act are to promote openness and accountability, and facilitate more effective participation in the processes involved in the making and administration of laws and policies.

Under the FOI Act, the ONRSR has obligations to ensure that certain information concerning its operations is readily available. Additionally, members of the public and Members of Parliament are conferred a legally enforceable right to be given access to documents held by the ONRSR, subject only to such exemptions as are consistent with the public interest (as prescribed in the FOI Act). Members of the public may also seek amendment to the ONRSR’s documents records concerning his or her personal affairs.

A comprehensive introduction to freedom of information can be found on the State Records of South Australia website.

Requesting access or amendment to ONRSR records

It is best to discuss your application or request with the ONRSR prior to lodging. If proper and lawful, the ONRSR will attempt to provide access to information voluntarily in order to minimise applications under the FOI Act and the associated costs. It should be noted that the RSNL already provides for some information to be made available to the public at no cost on the ONRSR website.

Requests for access made under the FOI Act must:

  • be in writing
  • specify that it is made under the FOI Act
  • provide enough information to enable the requested document(s) to be identified
  • include an address and telephone number at which you can be contacted in Australia
  • indicate the type of access being sought (e.g. inspection of a document or a copy of the document)
  • be accompanied by the application fee of $33.50 (current July 2016).

In addition to the application fee, there may be further charges for processing and copying if the document(s) are long or complex.  Fees may be waived on presentation of evidence of hardship or a concession card by the applicant.

The form for FOI applications and requests may be found on the State Records of South Australia website:

Contact

Queries, applications and requests may be directed to:

Corporate Counsel, Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator

Information statement

In accordance with Section 9 of the FOI Act and in addition to the information available on this webpage, the ONRSR provides the following information to meet its general publication obligations.

Structure and functions

A comprehensive description of the ONRSR’s structure and functions, as prescribed under section 13 of the Rail Safety National Law, can be found on this website and through corporate publications, such as the Annual Report, Corporate Plan and Statement of Intent. Please refer to http://www.onrsr.com.au/about-us/about-onrsr and http://www.onrsr.com.au/publications-and-forms.

ONRSR’s functions and members of the public

The Rail Safety National Law promotes the effective involvement of relevant stakeholders, including the public as appropriate, in the provision of safe railway operations through consultation and cooperation.

The functions of the ONRSR largely affect the public indirectly via its regulatory work with rail transport operators, rail safety workers and others involved in railway operations. Many of the types of regulatory decisions made by the ONRSR are open to review and appeal processes, providing affected parties formal avenues to question the decision or decision-making process.

The ONRSR organises a number of committees to encourage the participation of key stakeholders and has formal mechanisms for handling complaints, including confidential reports through the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s confidential reporting scheme, which may trigger a review of ONRSR policies and procedures.

Documents held by the ONRSR

The ONRSR and Rail Safety National Law make publicly available a variety of documentation, including:

  • the organisation’s Annual Report, Corporate Plan, Statement of Intent and media releases
  • ONRSR policies providing guidance to and setting expectations for ONRSR officers in their exercise of regulatory functions under the Rail Safety National Law, and made publicly available for transparency
  • guidelines, fact sheets and safety alerts to provide assistance to duty holders in understanding their requirements under the Rail Safety National and to improve rail safety
  • the National Rail Safety Register and rail transport operator notices of accreditation and notices of registration issued under the Rail Safety National Law.

Documents are generally available on the ONRSR website and may also be inspected, by appointment between 9.00am to 5.00pm on weekdays (excluding public holidays), at the National Office of the ONRSR located at Level 1, 75 Hindmarsh Square, Adelaide South Australia.

The ONRSR also holds the following broad categories of documents. Pursuant to the FOI Act, some of these documents may be exempt documents:

  • corporate files containing correspondence, memoranda, terms of reference and minutes on various aspects of the organisation’s operations and committees
  • corporate risk management records
  • accounting and financial records
  • personnel records
  • work health and safety records
  • internal policies, procedures and guidelines that set out the way various activities and programs are performed
  • legal opinion and advice.

The complete list of exemptions may be viewed in the Schedule of the FOI Act.

Last updated: 7 January 2015