Six recommendations have been put forward to the Office of National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) to achieve a nationally consistent framework to manage the risk of drug and alcohol use in Australia’s rail industry.

Currently, a New South Wales variation of the law means two different sets of drug and alcohol requirements exist. This affects 53 of Australia’s 186 accredited rail transport operators and imposes cost, compliance and productivity impacts whilst limiting the flexibility for the rail industry to mitigate their drug and alcohol risks.

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) Chairman, Bob Herbert AM, will represent the rail industry at the Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) meeting to strongly advocate that Ministers vote in support of the six recommendations.

“The rail industry strongly supports each of the six recommendations put forward by ONRSR to achieve a nationally consistent approach to drug and alcohol management in the rail industry. On behalf of the rail industry, the ARA encourages each Transport Minister to vote in support of ONRSR’s drug and alcohol recommendations,” said Mr Herbert.

“COAG agreed to establish a National Rail Safety Regulator in 2009. If we are to realise the full benefits of a National Regulator, we must achieve a nationally consistent approach to drug and alcohol management.

“ONRSR has completed a detailed review, engaging industry, government and unions and make its six recommendations based on robust research.

“COAG had faith in establishing ONRSR to regulate rail and governments must have faith in ONRSR’s recommendations.

“The ARA has met with and written to state and territory Transport Ministers and heads of Transport Departments. In addition, we have also written to the NSW Premier to outline our support for the ONRSR recommendations.

“ONRSR’s Drug and Alcohol Review has been conducted as a core component of the national rail safety transport reform agreed to by Transport Ministers in 2011. If we do not act now we will be missing out on an opportunity for national consistency and the national productivity benefits that national consistency provides.”

Mr Herbert said rail continues to demonstrate its commitment to safety and the management of drugs and alcohol, and this should be recognised by Transport Ministers voting in support of the ONRSR recommendations.

ONRSR’s Consultation Paper into the Drug and Alcohol Management Review can be viewed here.

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