Public Transport Victoria forum hears call for more Maryborough train services
State Government Commits to Developing Rail Infrastructure for Victoria
Horsham residents to be quizzed about future use of dormant rail corridor land
No choppers here: Malcolm Turnbull takes the train to Geelong
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy backs Melbourne Airport rail link
Jail time for train threats to Vline Staff
Premier Daniel Andrews hears efforts to address Central Goldfields disadvantage, push for more Maryborough trains
The Inland Rail Link Melbourne to Brisbane a Similar Case as the RAA's Bendigo - Geelong Rail Link
North-West Rail Alliance urges more council support amid push for return of Mildura passenger rail
Grampians Rail Trail: Shire calls for community to step up and manage facility
THE man in charge of safety on Victoria's public transport says that new laws passed this week are an attack on his independence.
Transport Safety Victoria was established as an independent watchdog in 2006, which could take action, without political interference, to prevent deaths and injuries on public transport.
This week the state government passed laws transferring some of the office's powers to Transport Minister Terry Mulder.
The Transport Legislation Amendment Bill this week changed the law so that, where VicRoads or a council are in dispute with Transport Safety Victoria, Mr Mulder will now decide. Mr Mulder said the changes, which were supported by the ALP, had not diluted the safety watchdog's powers, and would apply only in ''rare circumstances''.
Mr Mulder said that despite the change, Transport Safety Victoria would remain independent.
But Alan Osborne, the director of Transport Safety Victoria, yesterday said the changes would ultimately see some safety decisions become more politicised, and that they would ''nibble away'' at his independence.
''I'm not here to make a minister with political persuasions happy,'' he said. ''I'm here for safety. The legislation has been rushed through, and the legislation has not been thought through.''
Planning Minister Matthew Guy told Parliament this week that Transport Safety Victoria's powers had in part been changed following a dispute the agency had with lord mayor Robert Doyle in February over plans for Swanston Street.
A re-design of the street will see bicycle lanes installed alongside tram tracks. Transport Safety Victoria had raised concerns about cyclists hitting passengers getting off trams on Swanston Street.
The plans are now going ahead, only after reassurances from Yarra Trams that the superstops will not be dangerous for pedestrians. Cr Doyle was furious about Mr Osborne's intervention in February, saying any delay would threaten funding.
Mr Guy told Parliament this week that the Swanston Street issues had in part driven the legislation.
''A dispute in relation to a superstop in Swanston Street was the impetus,'' Mr Guy said in response to a question from Greens MP Greg Barber.
Mr Barber said yesterday that the changes meant the safety watchdog ''has now been leashed''.
The bill has also exempted the Department of Transport from a safety order Mr Osborne issued last year - which was ignored. Now, instead of following that compliance order, the department has assisted Mr Mulder in changing the laws. Mr Osborne said this was worrying: "Every time we issue a notice against the department, the law changes, which does not seem that right."
Mr Mulder defended his department last night, saying he had been advised that the original order issued by Mr Osborne was ''misconceived and inconsistent with the state's rail safety framework''.
Next week, Transport Safety Victoria may also issue an order to Metro Trains over the doors on Comeng trains, which can be forced open when moving.
In 2009 a man died after forcing open the doors on one of the trains and becoming trapped. A Metro spokeswoman said the rail operator was looking at ways to modify the doors so passengers could not force them open.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/public-transport-chief-says-new-laws-erode-his-job-20110915-1kbya.html
About this website
Railpage version 3.10.0.0037
All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest is © 2003-2019 Interactive Omnimedia Pty Ltd.
You can syndicate our news using one of the RSS feeds.