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More Funding For Transport Safety Investigation

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services

13th May 2003

The Federal Government will provide the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) with an extra $13.6 million over the next four years -- $3.6 million in 2003-04 -- to enable it to investigate interstate rail accidents and incidents and to augment its existing aviation and maritime safety roles.

"The Government is increasing the ATSB's funding, because one of the best ways of improving transport safety is to ensure that accidents and incidents are investigated by an independent body that issues public reports and makes hard-hitting recommendations," the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Senator Ron Boswell, said today.

"From 1 July 2003, the ATSB will be responsible for investigating serious rail accidents and incidents on the interstate rail network, in addition to its responsibilities in the aviation and marine sectors. We are providing the ATSB with an additional $10.1 million over the next four years to carry out its expanded role in rail safety.

"The Budget also allocates $2.8 million over the next four years to expand the ATSB's capacity to analyse information in its aviation safety accident and incident database.

"The funding will increase the ATSB's ability to identify the first signs of emerging safety trends from the vast amount of information it receives each year. It is expected that the ATSB will issue as many as 10 new aviation safety publications a year as a result of the initiative.

"The ATSB will establish a new confidential marine safety reporting system, at a cost of $0.6 million over the next four years. It will be comparable to the confidential aviation reporting system, which has been very successful since it was established in 1988.

"The new system will accept safety reports from anyone connected with shipping in Australian waters, such as pilots, Australian seafarers and the crews of vessels operating under coastal voyage permits. The identity of the person making the report will remain confidential and a

de-identified report will be sent to the relevant regulatory body for action.

"The system is expected to be available by the end of 2003 and will identify safety problems involving large international and interstate ships that might otherwise go unreported and unrecorded," Senator Boswell said.

The confidential marine reporting system was recommended by the Review of Ship Safety and Pollution Prevention Measures in the Great Barrier Reef, which was commissioned by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, the Hon John Anderson MP.

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