Director, Transport Safety

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Director, Transport Safety
Government Agency
Predecessor Director, Public Transport Safety
Founded 1 July 2010
Founder Government of Victoria
Headquarters Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Area served
Victoria
Key people
David Hourigan (Director, Transport Safety)
Services Regulation of safety in the rail, bus and marine industries in Victoria

The Director, Transport Safety (the Director) is the independent Government agency responsible for rail, bus and marine safety in the State of Victoria, Australia. The position was created as a statutory office by the Transport Integration Act 2010 and the office commenced operation on 1 July 2010.

The Director, Transport Safety is one of two dedicated transport safety offices in Victoria, the other being the Chief Investigator, Transport Safety. The Director is responsible for regulation and compliance activities in the transport sector while the Chief Investigator conducts no blame or just culture investigations and inquiries. The Director, Transport Safety operates under the name Transport Safety Victoria.

Main responsibilities[edit]

Trains and trams[edit]

The Director is responsible for the safety oversight of the rail sector in Victoria under the Rail Safety Act 2006. This involves the supervision of -

Buses[edit]

The Director is also responsible for the safety regulation of bus services in Melbourne and wider Victoria (large public buses are generally operated in Victoria under contract between the Director of Public Transport and a wide variety of bus operators) including mini bus operators. Power is derived from the Bus Safety Act 2009.

Recreational boating[edit]

The Director, Transport Safety is the safety regulator of recreational boating in Victoria. The monitoring of recreational craft covers the regulation of a wide range of vessels including yachts, speedboats, jet skis, canoes and paddle boats. The Director's jurisdiction to regulate boating predominately arises under the Marine Safety Act 2010 although some powers are exercised under delegation founded under Commonwealth legislation. The commercial sector is regulated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

Governance[edit]

Establishment[edit]

The office of the Director, Transport Safety was established after the passage and commencement of the Transport Integration Act 2010. The office arose from the amalgamation of the offices of the Director, Public Transport Safety[1][2] and the Director of Marine Safety.[3] This resulted in Victoria's first integrated transport safety administration with multi modal responsibilities in land and water-based transport.

The relevant Minister in the Victorian Parliament put the matter as follows -

"The 2004 TFG International Review of the Role and Accountability Arrangements for Public Transport and Marine Safety in Victoria provided the framework -- implemented by the Rail Safety Act 2006 -- to establish the independent Director, Public Transport Safety, and the Chief Investigator, Transport and Marine Safety Investigations. However, the Director of Marine Safety has not yet been given this same independence. The Bill addresses this by merging the Director of Marine Safety and the Director, Public Transport Safety. This is a significant change, creating a single independent transport safety regulator. It will provide a more integrated approach to safety regulation, while it is also likely to drive efficiencies by removing unnecessary duplication in systems and processes. "[4][5]

Transport Integration Act[edit]

The Transport Integration Act provides the Director, Transport Safety with a governance framework - the objects, functions and powers - which comprise the charter of the office.

Objects[edit]

The Transport Integration Act provides that the primary object of the Director, Transport Safety is to "...independently seek the highest transport safety standards that are reasonably practicable...".[6] Other notable objects[7] of the Director include -

  • improving the safety of public transport for public transport users
  • ensuring, in collaboration with other transport bodies and public entities, that public transport operates as part of an integrated transport system which seeks to meet the needs of all transport system users
  • managing public transport in a manner which supports sustainability by seeking to increase the share of public transport trips as a proportion of all transport trips in Victoria
  • seeking to improve the environmental performance of public transport including by minimising its adverse environmental impacts
  • contributing to social wellbeing by providing access to opportunities and supporting liveable communities
  • promoting economic prosperity through efficient and reliable movement of public transport users while also supporting rail freight services.

Functions[edit]

The functions[8] of the Director, Transport Safety include -

  • performing functions or duties conferred on the office by the Marine Act 1988, Bus Services Act 1995, the Rail Safety Act 2006 and the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 and other relevant Acts and regulations made under those and other relevant Acts
  • making recommendations to the Minister about the operation and administration of those Acts and regulations
  • advising and making recommendations to the Minister on public transport and related matters
  • investigating and reporting on public transport safety matters
  • preparing codes of practice and guidelines
  • providing guidance and information on safety matters
  • promoting education and training
  • conducting education and training
  • collecting information and data and sponsoring research
  • promoting awareness in the transport industry and among the public about transport safety initiatives
  • developing operational policy about transport safety regulation
  • conducting cost benefit analysis about mandatory transport safety decisions.

Powers[edit]

The Transport Integration Act provides the Director, Transport Safety with a range of general powers[9] which can be exercised in relation to the rail, bus and marine industries. More specific powers are contained in the key statutes administered by the Director, namely the Rail Safety Act 2006, the Bus Safety Act 2009 and the Marine Safety Act 1988. Supporting compliance powers are established in the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 for the rail and bus industries.[10]

The compliance support scheme enables the appointment of authorised officers and confers coercive powers and a range of administrative and court-based sanctions. The key elements are -

  • appointment of officers transport safety officers[11]
  • powers relating to entry to premises, inspection, securing sites, use of force and seizure of things[12]
  • powers to search, enter and require production of documents and information and to require name and address details[13]
  • sanctions and penalties such as improvement notices, prohibition notices and infringement notices[14]
  • powers to initiate prosecutions, receive safety undertakings and impose commercial benefits penalty orders, supervisory intervention orders, exclusion orders and adverse publicity orders.[15]

The powers of the Director in the marine sector under the Marine Act 1988 cover many of the areas listed above.

Independence[edit]

The Director, Transport Safety is independent of Ministers and Government generally. The Transport Integration Act provides, for example, that the Director "...when performing or exercising his or her functions, is independent and is not subject to the direction and control of the Minister."[16] Independence is supported by provisions requiring that the removal of the Director from office can only occur with the approval of both Houses of Parliament.[17]

Responsibilities under statutory schemes[edit]

Many of the responsibilities of the Director, Transport Safety center on monitoring and enforcing industry compliance with safety standards established by legislation. Examples of the Director's responsibilities are set out below.

Rail Safety Act[edit]

Overview[edit]

The purpose of the Rail Safety Act 2006 is "...to provide for safe rail operations in Victoria".[18] The Act establishes a regulatory scheme with the following key elements -

  • a number of performance based safety duties applying to a broad range of parties who can affect rail safety outcomes[19]
  • an accreditation scheme concentrating on key rail industry operational parties[20]
  • a requirement that rail operators have a safety management system in place[21]
  • alcohol and drug controls on rail safety workers[22]
  • provision for the making of codes of practice to give guidance to regulated parties.[23]

National[edit]

While rail movements in Victoria are predominantly local through suburban passenger services and regional passenger and freight services, interstate freight and passenger services also enter and pass through the State. The Rail Safety Act regulates both local and interstate services. However, companion Rail Safety Acts are also in place in each State and Territory[24] due to extensive efforts in recent years by States, Territories and the Commonwealth to improve national harmonisation in the rail sector. These statutes and the Director's membership of and the activities of the National Rail Safety Regulators' Panel, have each had major beneficial effects on national rail operators in Australia who enjoy nationally consistent safety regulation in Victoria and across the country.

Bus Safety Act[edit]

The Bus Safety Act 2009 regulates the operation safety of large and small buses in Victoria. The Act imposes safety duties on bus operators and all others who have a role in providing both commercial and non-commercial bus services.[25] It does this by -

  • providing that an operator or procurer of a bus service "must, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure the safety of the bus service"
  • providing that a bus safety worker "must take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of persons who may be affected by the acts or omissions of the bus safety worker"
  • providing that a person who determines the location of a bus stop, or designs, constructs, installs, modifies or maintains a bus stop, "must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the location, design, construction or condition of the bus stop is safe".

The Act also establishes an accreditation scheme for the operators of larger buses.[26] Operators of smaller buses or buses not used commercially are subject to a lower impact registration requirement.

Marine Safety Act[edit]

The Marine Safety Act 2010 establishes a range of permissioning schemes for commercial vessels and recreational vessels and their operators and crew. The Marine Drug, Alcohol and Pollution Control) Act 1988 also establishes a scheme to control drug and alcohol use when in charge of a vessel[27] and provisions prohibiting and controlling marine pollution in Victoria.[28]

Other Victorian transport agencies[edit]

There are a range of State agencies responsible for the transport system in Victoria. The Department of Transport (DOT) oversees and coordinates the activities of the agencies which can be divided into three main types - statutory offices, statutory authorities and independent transport safety agencies. Together with DOT, the agencies provide, manage and regulate transport system activities in Victoria including -

Statutory offices[edit]

The statutory office is the Transport Infrastructure Development Agent. The agency is part of the Department of Transport but has a distinct statutory charter and powers.[31]

Statutory authorities[edit]

The statutory authorities[32] are -

These agencies are structurally separate from the Department of Transport.[33]

Independent transport safety agencies[edit]

The Director, Transport Safety is one of two independent transport safety agencies[34] in the State. The other agency is the Chief Investigator, Transport Safety. These agencies are part of the Department of Transport but are functionally independent and report to the relevant Ministers.[35] The Director, Transport Safety has oversight of safety regulation schemes and industry performance under the schemes. By contrast, the Chief Investigator, Transport Safety is responsible for no blame or just culture inquiries and investigations in the transport sector.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Under the then Transport Act 1983 (which has since been renamed the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983).
  2. ^ Detailed background on the creation of the former office of the Director, Public Transport Safety is set out in a separate article on the Rail Safety Act.
  3. ^ This office was established under the Marine Act 1988.
  4. ^ Hon Lynne Kosky MP, Hansard, Parliament of Victoria, Legislative Assembly, 10 December 2009.
  5. ^ For more background, see the companion Wikipedia article on the Rail Safety Act 2006.
  6. ^ Section 172(1), Transport Integration Act.
  7. ^ See section 66(2), Transport Integration Act 2010.
  8. ^ See section 173, Transport Integration Act 2010.
  9. ^ Transport Integration Act 2010, section 193.
  10. ^ This Act was previously named the Transport Act 1983. The renaming occurred under section 199(1) of the Transport Integration Act 2010.
  11. ^ Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983, subdivision 2 of Division 4B of Part 7.
  12. ^ Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983, subdivisions 4, 7 and 8 of Division 4B of Part 7.
  13. ^ Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983, subdivision 5 of Division 4B of Part 7.
  14. ^ Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983, subdivisions 9 to 11A of Division 4B of Part 7.
  15. ^ Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983, Division 6 of Part 7.
  16. ^ Transport Integration Act 2010, section 194.
  17. ^ Transport Integration Act 2010, section 188.
  18. ^ Rail Safety Act 2006, section 1.
  19. ^ Rail Safety Act 2006, Part 3.
  20. ^ Rail Safety Act 2006, Part 5.
  21. ^ Rail Safety Act 2006, Division 4 of Part 3.
  22. ^ Rail Safety Act, Part 6.
  23. ^ Rail Safety Act 2006, Part 8.
  24. ^ See the national section in the article on the Rail Safety Act.
  25. ^ See Bus Safety Act 2009, Part 3.
  26. ^ See Bus Safety Act 2009, Part 4.
  27. ^ See Marine Act 1988, Part 4.
  28. ^ See Marine (Drug, Alcohol and Pollution Control) Act 1988, Part 5.
  29. ^ Note, some shipping matters are controlled by the Commonwealth under legislation such as the Navigation Act 1912. Other matters are within the jurisdiction of States such as Victoria through Acts such as the Transport Integration Act and other statutes like the Marine Act 1988.
  30. ^ Note, many air transport regulation matters are controlled by the Commonwealth Government. The Transport Integration Act would apply, for example, to planning controls at some airports and in respect of transport connections to other airports by road and rail.
  31. ^ The charter and powers of the Transport Infrastructure Development Agent are set out in Division 4 of Part 3 of the Transport Integration Act 2010.
  32. ^ See Parts 5 and 6, Transport Integration Act 2010.
  33. ^ The Act establishes these agencies as structurally separate bodies with their own legal personality. For example, section 81(4) of the Transport Integration Act 2010 establishes VicRoads as a "body corporate" which "may do and suffer all acts and things that a body corporate may by law do and suffer".
  34. ^ Part 7, Transport Integration Act 2010.
  35. ^ Section 194, Transport Integration Act 2010.

External links[edit]