A NATIONAL roundtable has identified “priority actions” to improve level-crossing safety across Australia, the federal government said.

The level-crossing safety roundtable on 6 March brought together Australian and New Zealand governments, along with industry, peak bodies, academia and advocacy groups.

The Queensland government hosted the gathering in Brisbane, and federal transport and infrastructure minister Catherine King opened the discussion.

She said the roundtable covered opportunities for 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.

“Every year, crashes at level crossings result in injuries, loss of life, and significant economic costs,” Ms King said.

“It’s clear the 23,000 level crossings across Australia present significant risk to rail and road network users and to the resilience of our transport systems.

“But we know level crossing safety is a complex issue that requires a range of initiatives to improve safety.

“This roundtable was a critical step in this journey, bringing stakeholders together to discuss additional actions in support of a safer level crossing future.”

Ms King thanked the Queensland government for hosting the event, and the National Level Crossing Safety Committee for bringing stakeholders to the table to discuss the issue.

She also acknowledged the work of rail freight operator Pacific National which, after a fatal crash late last year, called for a national summit on level-crossing safety.

“I particularly want to thank Pacific National and the RTBU [Rail, Tram, and Bus Union] for their advocacy for this summit, following the tragic deaths of Mick Warren and Kevin Baker on New Year’s Eve, and the participation of Australia’s safety regulators.”

Ms King said the Commonwealth is ensuring new technologies are employed in support of high-priority railway crossing upgrades around the country through its $180 million Regional Australia Level Crossing Safety Program.

And, as part of its commitment to the National Level Crossing Safety Strategy 2023-32, the government plans to introduce a national driver education campaign this year in support of a zero harm goal at Australia’s level crossings.

The National Level Crossing Safety Committee intends to continue working together to expedite actions to improve safety at level crossings.