Rail Safety (Local Operations) Act 2006 and Rail Safety National Law (review)

This page provides general information and should not be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you are unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.

VCAT can review certain decisions made by the Director, Transport Safety (Safety Director) under the Rail Safety (Local Operations) Act 2006.

 VCAT can also review certain decisions of the Regulator (NRSR) under the Rail Safety National Law which applies in Victoria under the Rail Safety National Law Application Act 2013.

Cases we can hear

Under the Rail Safety (Local Operations) Act 2006    

If you are an eligible person in relation to a decision of the Safety Director, you may be able to apply to VCAT for a review of:

  • a reviewable decision made by the Safety Director
  • a decision made, or taken to have made by the Safety Director under section 88 of the Act in respect of a reviewable decision (including a decision concerning a stay of the operation of the reviewable decision).

Reviewable decisions include decisions in relation to accreditation, registration and exemptions relating to:

  • rail transport operators
  • rail infrastructure managers
  • rolling stock operators
  • tourist and heritage railway operators.

Usually if someone other than the Safety Director has made a reviewable decision, then you must first apply to the Safety Director for internal review.

Section 87 of the Act sets out a table of reviewable decisions and who is an eligible person to apply for a review in respect of each reviewable decision.

You cannot apply to VCAT for review of a decision made by the Safety Director under section 59 of the Act, to hold an inquiry to determine whether proper cause exists for taking disciplinary action against a person.

Under the Rail Safety National Law Application Act 2013:

An eligible person may appeal to VCAT against a reviewable decision made

by the NRSR or a decision made (or taken to have been made) by the NRSR in relation to an application for review of a reviewable decision.

See section 215 of the National Law for a list Definition A List is an area in VCAT that deals with cases of a similar nature. For example, the Residential Tenancies List decides cases between tenants and landlords, and the Civil Claims List handles disputes about buying or selling goods and services. of reviewable decisions.  The National Law is scheduled to the Rail Safety National Law Application Act 2012.

Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications

If you have a decision document, use it to help you complete the VCAT application form and attach a copy of the document to your application.

Time limits

Under the Rail Safety (Local Operations) Act 2006:

You must make your application within 28 days after the later of the day on which:

  • the decision was made; or
  • if you have requested statement of reasons under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act, the statement of reasons is given to you or you are informed that a statement of reasons will not be given.

Under the Rail Safety National Law:

The application must be made:

  • within 28 days after the day on which the decision first came to the applicant Definition The person or organisation applying to VCAT. 's notice; or
  • if the Regulator is required by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 to give the applicant a statement of reasons, within 28 days after the day on which the applicant is given the statement, 

whichever period ends last.

You may be able to apply for an extension to this time limit.

Reviewable decisions and eligibility

Be aware that the law can change. Before you apply to VCAT check the decision is reviewable under the current law and whether you need to seek internal review first before you can apply to VCAT.

What can VCAT order?

Unless the relevant Act of Parliament gives us different powers, VCAT can:

  • affirm the original decision, in which case the original decision will stand
  • vary the decision
  • set aside the decision and substitute our own decision
  • set aside the decision and remit (send back) the matter for reconsideration by the decision maker Definition A person who makes or has made a decision under legislation that gives them this authority. giving directions or recommendations
  • invite the decision-maker to reconsider their decision at any time during the case .

Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?

You do not need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you wish to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission. Be aware that the regulatory body in most cases uses legal representation.

Find free or low-cost legal services that may be able to assist you.

Need help with your application?

We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.

We cannot give you legal advice. This means we cannot tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.

Seek legal help if you are unsure about your options or need advice about your claim. The following services may be able to help you:

Access and privacy

VCAT hearings and files are usually public.

VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality. For more about applying for confidentiality.