Friday, April 28, 2023
Rail safety workers using fraudulent qualifications will face fines of up to $10,000 under changes being made to Australia’s Rail Safety National Law.
The changes make it an offence to knowingly provide a document or information, for the purposes of an assessment of competency, that is false or misleading.
Certificates of competence can only be issued under the Australian Qualifications Framework. The change to the law comes in the wake of disturbing examples of rail safety worker qualifications being erroneously shared among workers, altered, or in some cases totally fabricated.
The changes are particularly relevant for labour hire companies, with workers contracted under such arrangements subject to safety duties under Rail Safety National Law. This effort to tighten the national legislation and stamp out fraud is to prevent activities that can have a catastrophic impact on rail safety. They come after widespread consultation. In developing the new offence, the National Transport Commission consulted with all states and territories, the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR), individual rail transport operators, members of the rail industry through the Australasian Railway Association, the Association of Tourist and Heritage Rail Australia and the Rail, Tram and Bus Union.
In recent years, ONRSR has made contractor management and the actions of labour hire companies a key focus of its national priority program. Through the program it has issued specific advice to rail transport operators and warned of fraudulent activities they may have been subjected to.
It is expected the amendments to the law will provide further confidence in the training and qualifications of all rail safety workers and help further improve national rail safety. The amendments come into effect on 1 May 2023.
Full details of the Rail Safety National Law (South Australia (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2022 can be found HERE.