Regional railway level crossings to be upgraded

The October Federal Budget confirmed the Australian Government will invest $180 million starting this financial year to make railway level crossings safer in regional areas nationwide.

The Regional Australia Level Crossing Safety Program includes $160 million from 2023–24 to 2026–27 for up to 80 per cent of the cost of delivering priority level crossing upgrades.

The key funding focus is on supporting lower-cost, high priority upgrades.

Treatments will be fit-for-purpose for the particular level crossing and will include improvements like signage, boom gates, flashing lights and rumble strips, to better alert motorists approaching railway crossings.

Other activities starting in 2022–23 include:

  • $2 million to improve data to inform risk assessments of level crossings
  • $5 million to support research, including technology trials and uptake, particularly for low cost measures that can be widely and quickly deployed
  • $6.5 million to further build skills and understanding on safe driving around level crossings.

The Commonwealth is also collaborating with states and territories on the new National Level Crossing Safety Strategy announced by Infrastructure and Transport Ministers in February 2022. Led by the National Level Crossing Safety Committee, the strategy is helping drive nationally co-ordinated action to improve safety at level crossings.

Quotes attributable to Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King:

“The Australian Government has been listening to regional and rural communities as well as industries who depend on rail, who have been campaigning for safety upgrades at railway crossings.

“Communities and rail freight industries are tired and frustrated that tragic deaths and serious injuries keep happening, which is why we are delivering significant Australian Government investment across four different areas to help tackle the problem.

“This is about delivering the step change in rail crossing safety that Australians – especially those worst impacted in our regions – need and deserve.

“The substantial funding we have confirmed in the October Budget will go a long way towards addressing railway crossing safety on a national level.

“This is what devastated relatives of those who have lost their lives or suffered serious injuries from railway crossing accidents have long been campaigning for.”