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Wednesday, 15 August 2012
Page: 8828

Mr ALBANESE (GrayndlerLeader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (11:18): I thank members for their comments and their contribution to the debate on the Transport Safety Investigation Amendment Bill 2012. This bill is the second piece of legislation considered by this parliament that creates a single national regulatory framework for Australia's transport industry. We have already considered a bill that creates a national maritime safety regulator to be conducted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. This bill supports the creation of a national rail safety regulator by empowering the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to conduct investigations in all jurisdictions.

Right now the Queensland parliament is considering a bill that will establish the national heavy vehicle regulator.

This means that, from 2013, maritime safety, rail safety and heavy vehicles will for the first time have nationally consistent laws. This will cut the number of transport regulators operating across Australia from 23 down to three, producing a benefit for the Australian economy of some $30 billion over 20 years. This reform will also improve safety, simplify the compliance task for transport operators and boost national income. Along with the productivity gains, the safety outcomes should also be at the forefront of our minds. Common sense tells you that a single system across jurisdictions is easier to understand and, therefore, easier to comply with than a complex series of often contradictory and conflicting rules.

It is certainly in the public's interest to know that risks to safety will be identified and rectified. From January 2013, the ATSB will expand its rail jurisdiction from the interstate networks to also cover metropolitan rail travel. The ATSB's investigation jurisdiction will match that of the new National Rail Safety Regulator that will be based in Adelaide. This bill and the broader national transport regulator reforms finally fix the history of inconsistent regulatory and investigation practices between the states and territories that have constrained productivity in road, rail and shipping freight transportation.

This reform continues this government's steadfast commitment to ensuring Australia's future economic productivity. I thank all members of the House who have participated in this debate, and I thank the House for the support of this important legislation. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Ordered that this bill be reported to the House without amendment.