When responding to the draft regulatory impact statement for the new national rail safety laws that are set to take the place of state based laws, the union stated that the reforms could mean that drivers would be working for longer than 10 hours at a time.
The laws have been agreed to by the states and Gladys Berejiklian, the Transport Minister, has won an agreement to keep the stronger fatigue managing requirements in NSW that were devised and put into place after the Waterfall train tragedy.
The Federal Minister for Transport, Anthony Albanese has denied that any safety provisions for the railways will be reduced with the new laws.
A spokeswoman for the minister has said that: “All states and territories have agreed to the national rail safety laws which will deliver Australia’s first rail safety regulator, national consistency and maximum safety outcomes.”
“You will be able to drive a train from Brisbane to Melbourne and operate under the same safety laws and that’s good for drivers, passengers and the broader public,” according to the spokeswoman.
Bob Nanva, the national secretary for the RTBU, disagrees and has said that with the wording currently in the draft federal laws it could mean that inter-urban train drivers end up working for more than 10 hours at a time.
He said that this creates a safety risk for both the general public and train drivers and it needs to be amended.
The submission that the union has prepared in response to the draft of the regulations outlines a number of areas where the national laws have the potential to weaken the laws that are currently in place in NSW.