Office of the National Safety Regulator


The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) is an independent body responsible for rail safety regulation across Australia. Consistent with its investigation and safety improvement functions, ONRSR sought to progress a requirement for freight and passenger vehicles to be fitted with audio and video recorders in the driver’s cab. This was prompted by two recent incidents involving loss of life and a few serious near miss incidents, where knowing what was happening in the cab immediately prior to the incident would assist greatly in the investigation and enable safety learnings to be shared with all of industry. 

NineSquared’s role

NineSquared was engaged by ONRSR to prepare a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) to support an Infrastructure and Transport Ministers’ decision on whether to mandate in-cab audio and video safety recording devices for the Australian rail industry. 

As part of the engagement, NineSquared was responsible for:  

  • Preparation of Consultation RIS which outlined the problem to be addressed, the need for government action, the policy options under consideration along with an impact analysis (costs and benefits) of the options including business compliance costs. The Consultation RIS was published for industry feedback.  
  • Preparation of Final Decision RIS which involved collating feedback from industry and using it to refine the policy options and cost estimates identified previously. This included Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) prepared in line with the Australian Government Guide to Regulatory Impact Analysis. Key benefits that were assessed included incident investigation time and resource savings and improved rail safety outcomes as a result of implementing in-cab audio and video recording devices in passenger and freight rolling stock. 

 Results and relevance 

The regulatory impact statement was considered by Transport Ministers in late 2020. Further work on implementation options was subsequently undertaken by ONRSR in consultation with stakeholders. In late 2021, Federal and State Transport Ministers endorsed ONRSR’s policy to mandate in-cab audio and video on mainline passenger and freight trains. Further information is available at In-Cab audio & video endorsed | ONRSR 

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Rachael Marshall


Evelyn Bratchford