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Friday, 20 March 1987
Page: 1090

Senator FOREMAN —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and relates to yet another level crossing accident, this time between a semi-trailer and the northbound Ghan passenger train at Crystal Brook, north of Adelaide. Fortunately in this particular case no one was seriously injured, but the situation could have had tragic consequences. Will the Minister give assurances that appropriate investigations are now under way into the cause of the accident so that a similar one may be prevented in the future?

Senator GIETZELT —The Senate will be aware that there are hundreds of level crossing accidents throughout Australia and that from time to time fatalities occur. As Senator Foreman has said, yesterday at 1.30 p.m. there was one such accident. The northbound Ghan train struck a semi-trailer at a level crossing in the town of Crystal Brook, north of Adelaide. It was one of those accidents which should and could have been avoided. Fortunately there were no deaths or serious injuries, although eight passengers and a guard were treated for minor injuries and later allowed to proceed home. An investigation has been ordered into the incident to see whether greater precautions can be taken, although I understand that the crossing was protected by flashing lights and bells which, according to preliminary investigations, were working at the time. The police are also currently investigating the crash. The Government and the Minister for Transport are determined that every safety precaution should be taken in these areas. Certainly some accidents occur because of carelessness on the part of road users or train operators. It is essential, therefore, that every publicity be given, particularly to drivers of vehicles, to make sure that they respond to the warning bells which operate for the purpose of stopping such accidents.