A comprehensive and accessible rail transport system is an important link in the Australian transport chain that joins communities and strengthens industry.
The department assists the Government to manage its rail investments and to oversee the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and the Moorebank Intermodal Company Limited. The department also assists the government, working collaboratively with states and territories on an agreed national model for rail safety legislation and associated regulations.
The ownership and management arrangements for Australia's rail infrastructure and rail operations are generally divided into “below” rail (track management) and “above” rail (operators of trains and rollingstock). These functions are performed by a mix of Government and private sector operators.
Australia's first rail systems were mostly built when the country consisted of sparsely settled colonies, before they combined to form a Federation of States in 1901.
The Australian Government has committed to a new key piece of national infrastructure by constructing an Inland Railway between Melbourne and Brisbane via central-west NSW and Toowoomba.
Information about rail programs in progress throughout Australia.
The National Rail Safety Regulator became operational from 20 January 2013, administering a single national set of rail safety laws for Australia.
A listing of departmental publications related to Australia's national rail system.