Rural residents call for action not words on level crossings

Minister Catherine King at the roundtable in Brisbane on Wednesday 6 March.

VOLUNTEER ambulance officer Jodie Williams has issued an invitation to Federal Transport Minister Catherine King to witness the dangers of a level crossing at Morrows Road, Nana Glen.

The National Level Crossing Safety Committee has been included in the invitation.

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“(They should) see how dangerous these crossings are and how we cannot wait for grants and trials to be undertaken,” said Jodie, a member of the Nana Glen Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

It is estimated that nationally over 23,000 crossings pose a significant threat to rail and road users, the Morrows Road crossing being one which also threatens the safety of pedestrians.

The Australian Government held a National Level Crossing roundtable on Wednesday 6 March in Brisbane.

The roundtable discussed opportunities to harness innovation and new technology to upgrade level crossings to improve safety, as well as the need for a consistent national approach to increasing awareness and education.

While the Government claims it is committed to finding better ways to improve the safety of level crossings in the regions, Jodie is seeking more immediate action.

“It certainly is good to see discussion taking place, but there is no talk of fixing them at this stage,” said Jodie.

The Government also announced that applications are open for Round Two of Level Crossing Safety Research and Innovation Grants.

The grants, which are a component of the Regional Australia Level Crossing Safety Program, aim to fund and support research and investigation of new technologies and approaches to improve level crossing safety, and
trials of innovative and lower-cost level crossing safety improvements, or better train illumination and visibility.

The results of the trials will be shared with governments and the rail industry to inform ongoing activities under the National Level Crossing Safety Strategy.

“The grants offered are only aiming to fund and support research,” Jodie said.

“The results will be shared, but no mention of implementation.”

In Round One of the Level Crossing Safety Research and Innovation Grants, the six successful projects were funded to a total of $2.8 million.

The projects are looking to trial a range of technologies, including rumble strips and flashing posts, train visibility, solar powered wireless technology and data monitoring.

“This is not an active fix,” Jodie said, “we are concerned and want to see action now, not sometime in the future.

“Surely this money could be better spent upgrading and installing safer crossings immediately.”

In a media release earlier this month, Minister King stated that every year, crashes at level crossings result in injuries, loss of life, and significant economic costs.

“The Australian Government needs to hold itself, and the contracted companies maintaining and caring for our railways, accountable for fixing the unsafe crossings,” Jodie said.

“When supposedly educated engineers tell you that the crossing does not meet current safety standards, such as the Morrows Road crossing into Hilltop Farm and Equestrian Centre, you have to wonder why then it is not immediately addressed,” she said, having experienced that exact conversation.

“Unfortunately, I see nothing coming out of this roundtable discussion that is decisive and taking action to prevent further injuries/fatalities to rail and road users.

“How many more must occur before it is taken seriously?

“This should be a major priority for the state government, not a grants process or trials but definitive action to improve all dangerous rail crossings in rural, regional and remote NSW.”

As part of the Government’s commitment to the National Level Crossing Safety Strategy 2023-32, a national driver education campaign will be introduced this year in support of the Government’s zero harm goal at Australia’s level crossings.

“The national drivers education campaign is yet another band-aid in addressing the bigger problem of unsafe railway crossings,” said Jodie.

“Surely this money could be better spent just fixing the issue of safety?”


The open rail crossing at Morrows Road used to access Hilltop Farm and Equestrian Centre.

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