Rail / Safety / Rail Safety National Law

The main purpose of this Law is to provide nationally consistent rules for safe railway operations in Australia

Rail Safety National Law

The Rail Safety National Law (RSNL) aims to achieve the best outcomes in rail safety, utilising a co-regulatory approach to risk management between duty holders and the Regulator. The objective is to develop a seamless and coordinated national approach to rail safety regulation.

The NTC reviews the Rail Safety National Law annually.


In December 2009 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to implement a national single rail safety regulator and develop a rail safety national law, which the regulator would administer.

The NTC was tasked with developing RSNL, based on the National Transport Commission Model Rail Safety Bill (2007) and Model Regulations (Model Law). The RSNL would also address areas where states and territories had varied from the model bill and regulations.

Following an extensive consultation period with industry, governments and unions a final version of the National Law was submitted to and subsequently approved by the transport ministers in November 2011.

The RSNL was first enacted in South Australia in 2012 with the other states and territories to either replicate that law or pass a law explaining that the RSNL (being the schedule to the South Australian law) is the rail safety law in that state or territory.

For the current laws and regulations, visit the South Australia Legislation website.

Last Updated: 15/11/2018