16 Mar 2020
On a daily basis ONRSR engages with a multitude of rail safety stakeholders in carrying out its functions and pursuing its objectives under Rail Safety National Law.
Developing and maintaining effective working relationships with these stakeholders is integral to optimising the co-regulatory environment, and by conducting the latest stakeholder survey the intention was for ONRSR to drive continuous improvement across all aspects of its external facing operations.
The 2019 survey used a purpose designed qualitative and quantitative process that aimed to reach all accredited and registered operators, industry associations and key government stakeholders. The independent third-party provider that undertook the survey for ONRSR conducted 35 face to face interviews and received responses to an online survey from 51% of some 195 key external stakeholders.
As with the first such stakeholder survey in 2016, the results were largely positive with the vast majority of participants holding the view that ONRSR is effectively fulfilling its functions, performing strongly against the objectives of the national rail safety reform and effectively engaging with its stakeholders. Importantly, ONRSR is seen as having a focus on the right rail safety priorities with the results of the survey validating several projects and programs already underway such as level crossing and tourist and heritage specific initiatives.
The data obtained also demonstrates that while a good proportion of stakeholders had a level of frustration with the regulatory reform, there is an appreciation for what a single national rail safety regulator can deliver and a good understanding of the process ONRSR has been through in order to finalise its operating model across Australia.
For example, since 2016 ONRSR has recorded a 17% increase in the percentage of respondents that agree the current regulatory arrangements compare favourably to what was in place before ONRSR was established. Similarly, where all other benchmarked questions (2016 vs 2019) were concerned a comparison demonstrated that ONRSR recorded either improved or steady results this time around.
Some views first aired in 2016 remain topical including observations around national consistency, and requests for ONRSR to provide more educational material. As a result, ONRSR is now working on a range of initiatives in the safety education space including development of SMS guidance for tourist and heritage operators and a fatigue management guideline for the broader industry. Industry will also see more regular updates on major reform and policy questions such as cost recovery and drug and alcohol testing.
Once again ONRSR’s publications and information resources were highly regarded with stakeholders expressing a desire to see ONRSR raise its public profile, particularly around key industry events such as Rail Safety Week. As a first step ONRSR has increased the frequency of its regular e-newsletter, Engauge, to monthly and is developing additional material in relation to what it is seeing on the ground - particularly in relation to investigations - for distribution via its web and social media platforms.
Elsewhere, the early feedback in relation to the ONRSR portal – the new secure digital channel that facilitates the easy and reliable exchange of regulatory activity and reporting data – is very positive. And ONRSR continues to be a strong performer culturally with a high percentage of stakeholders observing that the organisation has strong leadership from the Chief Executive and staff who demonstrate the organisation’s values of independence, respect, integrity, diligence and excellence when performing their duties.
For further information on the 2019 ONRSR Stakeholder Survey please email Executive Director Policy, Reform and Stakeholder Engagement – Julie Bullas