Transport Australia says it will work to improve its infrastructure to help train operators avoid the risk of being shut down, but a series of rail crash incidents has made it clear that infrastructure is not the only thing that is at risk.
Transport Minister Scott Emerson has announced a plan to expand passenger rail services and make more trains in use in the event of a breakdown.
The minister says he will also work with the Australian Rail Transport Association to identify ways to make services more reliable, but those are not the same as addressing safety and the needs of the passenger.
“The priority for us right now is getting people to their destination safely, but there is still work to do on all of the rail systems,” Mr Emerson said.
In his speech, Mr Emerson also flagged the need for improved rail networks in regional Australia and the Commonwealth.
Mr Emerson said there is a “significant” gap in regional rail network capacity between the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
He also flagged a review of how the Australian Government operates regional rail systems and said it was not working to provide “a high quality service”.
Mr Fraser said that the Government has invested $250 million over the past three years in rail infrastructure, including the $350 million investment in the Western Australian rail network.
But he said the rail network in Australia was “totally inadequate” and needed to be improved.
There are about 20 million people living in regional areas, with more than 30 per cent of Australians living in one of the most remote areas in the world, Mr Fraser said.
“We have to take all the actions we can to make sure that we can continue to get people to work and get people out of the car,” he said.