Pacific National CEO Paul Scurrah has today welcomed the announcement by Federal Minister Catherine King and Queensland Transport Minister Bart Mellish a national rail level crossing safety roundtable will be convened on 6 March in Brisbane.
Mr Scurrah called for federal and state governments, industry groups, private operators, and unions to convene on level crossing safety to consider life saving measures and reforms following a fatal rail and truck collision on the Barrier Highway at Bindarrah in South Australia (near the NSW border) on New Year’s Eve.
“A roundtable isn’t about pointing the finger at drivers or pedestrians but working together to overcome complexities and simply do better,” Mr Scurrah said.
“We lost two of our experienced and respected train crew, Mick Warren and Kevin Baker, when the locomotive they were driving was struck by a truck.
“Devastatingly, fatalities when vehicles or people enter the rail corridor is just too common and we must do better. Everyone deserves to go home safely.
“With the release of the new National Level Crossing Strategy, we have a blueprint to discuss at the roundtable next month to drive change and improve safety.
“There are more than 23,000 level crossings in Australia, many of which involve constant interactions between rail operations, road traffic, cyclists and pedestrians, which is why we need to ensure the important message of being safe and not taking a chance around level crossings is front and centre for all community members.
“Our message to the community is to be safe, do not enter the rail crossing when a train is approaching. Losing concentration, taking a chance, or being reckless about safety at a level-crossing can kill.”
Pacific National this week also launched its own public advertising campaign to further educate communities on railway level-crossing safety.
“Level crossing safety is critically important, and this campaign builds on existing industry and government campaigns that run annually,” Mr Scurrah said.
“Our message is don’t take a chance, take a look because a train can’t swerve or stop quickly.
“Don’t be reckless around level crossing and cross with care so we can all go home safely, every day.”