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Chief Investigator, Transport Safety

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Chief Investigator, Transport Safety

Chief Investigator, Transport Safety
Type Government Agency
Predecessors Chief Investigator, Public Transport and Marine Safety Investigations
Founded 1 July 2010
Founders Government of Victoria
Headquarters Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Area served Victoria
Key people Chris McKeown, Chief Investigator, Transport Safety
Services No blame or just culture investigation of safety-related trends and incidents in the rail, bus and marine industries in Victoria

The Chief Investigator, Transport Safety (the Chief Investigator) is the independent Government agency responsible for investigation of safety-related trends and incidents in the rail, bus and marine industries in the State of Victoria, Australia.

The position was created as a statutory office by the Transport Integration Act 2010 and commenced on 1 July 2010. The investigator is one of three independent transport safety agencies in Australia along with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, a Commonwealth agency, and the Office of the Transport Safety Investigations in New South Wales.

The Chief Investigator, Transport Safety is one of two dedicated transport safety offices in Victoria, the other being the Director, Transport Safety. The Chief Investigator is responsible for no blame or just culture investigations and inquiries in the transport sector while the Director has responsibility for safety regulation and compliance.

The Chief Investigator contributes to transport safety by independently investigating, analysing and openly reporting on transport safety matters. All investigations are "no blame": this means the emphasis is on understanding causes and trends and learning to improve future transport safety.

The Chief Investigator is separate from other transport regulatory authorities such as the Director, Transport Safety (Transport Safety Victoria), WorkSafe (the Victorian WorkCover Authority) and State, Territory and Commonwealth regulators and investigators, including the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. The Chief Investigator is also independent of transport operators such as Metro Trains, V/Line, Yarra Trams and bus and shipping companies.

The Chief Investigator reports to two Ministers: the Minister for Public Transport in respect of rail and bus matters and the Minister for Ports in respect of shipping and boating matters. However, independence is underscored by the fact that the Ministers have few powers over the Chief Investigator, the prime power being the capacity to require the Chief Investigator to conduct an investigation into a transport safety matter.[1]

Main responsibilities

Trains and trams

The Chief Investigator is responsible for no blame or just culture safety oversight of the rail sector in Victoria under the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983. This involves investigations relating to -

Buses

The Chief Investigator is also responsible for no blame or just culture safety investigations of bus services in Melbourne and wider Victoria (large public buses are generally operated in Victoria under contract between Public Transport Victoria and a wide variety of bus operators) including mini bus operators. Power is derived from the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983.

Commercial shipping and recreational boating

The Chief Investigator, Transport Safety is also the no blame or just culture safety investigator of the commercial shipping and recreational boating sectors in Victoria. The responsibilities of the Chief Investigator focus on the monitoring of trading, fishing and Government vessels as well as hire and drive vessels. The monitoring of recreational craft covers the investigation of a wide range of vessels including yachts, speedboats, jet skis, canoes and paddle boats. The Chief Investigator's jurisdiction to investigate shipping and boating arises under the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983.

Governance

Establishment

The office of the Chief Investigator, Transport Safety was established following the passage and commencement of the Transport Integration Act 2010. The office arose from the abolition of the former office of the Chief Investigator, Public Transport and Marine Safety Investigations.[2]

Transport Integration Act

The Transport Integration Act provides the Chief Investigator, Transport Safety with a governance framework - the objects, functions and powers - which comprise the charter of the office.

Objects

The Transport Integration Act provides that the primary object of the Chief Investigator, Transport Safety is to "...seek to improve transport safety by providing for the independent no-blame investigation of transport safety matters...".[3]

Functions

The primary functions[4] of the Chief Investigator, Transport Safety are to -

  • investigate transport safety matters
  • report the results of any investigations to the Minister.

The Transport Integration Act provides[5] that in investigating an incident, the Chief Investigator, Transport Safety is to primarily focus on -

  • determining what factors caused the incident, rather than to apportion blame
  • identifying issues that may require review, monitoring or further consideration.

Additional functions of the Chief Investigator include -

  • performing functions or duties conferred on the office by the Marine Safety Act 2010 and the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 and other relevant Acts and regulations made under those Acts
  • liaising with international, Commonwealth and State bodies that have similar functions to those of the Chief Investigator, Transport Safety
  • administering voluntary reporting system established under the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983
  • improving the quality and professionalism of investigations through education of those involved in the operation or use of rail, bus and marine transport.

Powers

The Transport Integration Act provides that the Chief Investigator has the power to investigate any transport safety matter.[6] More specific powers are contained in the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 and the Marine Safety Act 2010. Supporting compliance powers are established in the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 for the rail and bus industries.[7]

The compliance support scheme centres on provisions enabling the appointment of authorised officers and conferral of coercive powers. The key elements are -

  • appointment of officers transport safety officers[8]
  • powers relating to entry to premises, inspection, securing sites, use of force and seizure of things[9]
  • powers to search, enter and require production of documents and information and to require name and address details[10]
  • power to require persons to attend and answer questions[11]

The powers of the Chief Investigator in the marine sector under the Marine Safety Act 2010 cover many of the areas listed above. Special provisions relating to disclosure and admissibility of evidence apply to the Chief Investigator.[12]

Reports

The Chief Investigator is required to give a copy of reports on transport safety investigations as soon as practicable after completing investigations.[13] Before issuing reports to the Minister, the Chief Investigator must consult with the Director, Transport Safety, the Director of Public Transport, the Secretary of the Department of Transport, any person who assisted the Chief Investigator with the investigation and any other relevant person or body.[14]

Independence

The Chief Investigator, Transport Safety is independent of Ministers and Government generally. The Transport Integration Act provides, for example, that the Chief Investigator "...when performing or exercising his or her functions, is independent and is not subject to the direction and control of the Minister."[15] Independence is supported by provisions requiring that the removal of the Director from office and can only occur with the approval of both Houses of Parliament.[16]

Relationship to ATSB

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) investigates safety matters in the aviation industry as well as certain matters in the rail and marine industries. For example, ATSB investigates incidents on the Defined Interstate Rail Network (DIRN) due to its national significance. ATSB also conducts investigations into accidents and serious incidents involving Australian registered ships anywhere in the world, foreign flag ships within Australian waters and certain other ships. ATSB's powers are derived from the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 of the Commonwealth.

Powers over all bus incidents and all other rail and marine matters vests in the Chief Investigator, Transport Safety. The Chief Investigator is, however, given power by the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 of Victoria to ask ATSB to investigate any transport accident or incident that has occurred in Victoria.[17]

Other Victorian transport agencies

There are a range of State agencies responsible for the transport system in Victoria. The Department of Transport (DOT) oversees and coordinates the activities of the agencies which can be divided into three main types - statutory offices, statutory authorities and independent transport safety agencies. Together with DOT, the agencies provide, manage and regulate transport system activities in Victoria including -

Statutory offices

The statutory office is the Transport Infrastructure Development Agent. The agency has a distinct statutory charter and powers.[20]

Statutory authorities

The statutory authorities[21] are -

These agencies are structurally separate from the Department of Transport.[22]

Independent transport safety agencies

The Chief Investigator, Transport Safety is one of two independent transport safety agencies[23] in the State. The other agency is the Director, Transport Safety. These agencies are part of the Department of Transport but are functionally independent and report to the relevant Ministers.[24] The Director, Transport Safety has oversight of safety regulation schemes and industry performance under the schemes. By contrast, the Chief Investigator, Transport Safety is responsible for no blame or just culture inquiries and investigations in the transport sector.

See also

References

  1. ^ Transport Integration Act, section 191.
  2. ^ Under Part V of the then Transport Act 1983 (which has since been renamed the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983).
  3. ^ Section 180, Transport Integration Act.
  4. ^ See section 181(1), Transport Integration Act 2010.
  5. ^ See section 181(2), Transport Integration Act 2010
  6. ^ Transport Integration Act 2010, section 182.
  7. ^ This Act was previously named the Transport Act 1983. The renaming occurred under section 199(1) of the Transport Integration Act 2010.
  8. ^ Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983, subdivision 2 of Division 4B of Part 7.
  9. ^ Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983, subdivisions 4, 7 and 8 of Division 4B of Part 7.
  10. ^ Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983, subdivision 5 of Division 4B of Part 7.
  11. ^ Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983, section 84AB.
  12. ^ Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983, sections 85C, 85D, 85DA and 85E.
  13. ^ Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983, section 85.
  14. ^ Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983, section 85A.
  15. ^ Transport Integration Act 2010, section 194.
  16. ^ Transport Integration Act 2010, section 188.
  17. ^ Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983, section 85H.
  18. ^ Note, some shipping matters are controlled by the Commonwealth under legislation such as the Navigation Act 1912. Other matters are within the jurisdiction of States such as Victoria through Acts such as the Transport Integration Act and other statutes like the Marine Act 1988.
  19. ^ Note, many air transport regulation matters are controlled by the Commonwealth Government. The Transport Integration Act would apply, for example, to planning controls at some airports and in respect of transport connections to other airports by road and rail.
  20. ^ The charter and powers of the Transport Infrastructure Development Agent are set out in Division 4 of Part 3 of the Transport Integration Act 2010.
  21. ^ See Parts 5 and 6, Transport Integration Act 2010.
  22. ^ The Act establishes these agencies as structurally separate bodies with their own legal personality. For example, section 81(4) of the Transport Integration Act 2010 establishes VicRoads as a "body corporate" which "may do and suffer all acts and things that a body corporate may by law do and suffer".
  23. ^ Part 7, Transport Integration Act 2010.
  24. ^ Section 194, Transport Integration Act 2010.

External links

  • Transport Safety Victoria
  • Department of Transport website
  • Government of Victoria website
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