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Tourist and heritage railways legislation

The Tourist and Heritage Railways Act 2010 establishes a contemporary regulatory framework designed to promote the long term viability of tourist and heritage railways in Victoria.

Both the Act and the Tourist and Heritage Railways Regulations 2011 were developed following a comprehensive review of the sector in close consultation with tourist and heritage rail operators.

The Act and the Regulations came into effect on 1 October 2011.

Information on this page

Tourist and Heritage Railways Act 2010

The regulatory framework established by the Act applies to 17 tourist and heritage railway groups in Victoria.

The tourist and heritage railway sector makes valuable social, cultural and economic contributions to the State. Around 3,500 Victorians are actively engaged as employees, members and as volunteers in the sector.

The Act:

  • establishes an asset register to provide a central source of information about operational tourist and heritage rail assets
  • modernises land tenure and asset allocation arrangements in the sector through a standard lease scheme to enhance consistency, certainty and transparency for tourist and heritage groups
  • establishes a voluntary registration scheme to promote improved sector performance and more viable tourist and heritage rail operations.

The Act also requires the Director of Public Transport to appoint a Tourist and Heritage Railway Registrar and enables the Director to establish an Advisory Committee. This ensures that dedicated support is provided to tourist and heritage rail groups, and that targeted initiatives are delivered through the voluntary registration scheme.

The framework is consistent with the shared transport system objectives in the Transport Integration Act.

Fact sheet

Development of the Act

From 2008 to 2010, the Department of Transport worked closely with stakeholders in the tourist and heritage rail sector to draw up a proposed regulatory framework which identified and addressed key priorities for the sector.

The department coordinated and addressed feedback from stakeholders via intensive workshops, meetings and an issues register. The proposal was amended where appropriate and distributed for stakeholder comment at the end of April 2010.

The proposal received unanimous support from tourist and heritage rail groups at a meeting of the Association of Tourist Railways (the peak industry body), and was supported by the Rail, Tram, and Bus Union. Many groups also independently signalled their support through correspondence with the Department and their MPs.

On the basis of this broad support and clear need for reform, the proposal was pursued as a priority legislative initiative.

Tourist and Heritage Railways Regulations 2011

The Regulations support the Act by:

  • prescribing certain matters in relation to the Advisory Committee established under the Act;prescribing certain matters in relation to the Tourist and Heritage Railway Group Register;
  • creating certain offences concerning graffiti, prohibited language and behaviour, trespassing, rubbish dumping and interfering with or damaging equipment.

Page last reviewed on 14 August 2015

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