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Newsflash: In-Cab Audio and Video Update

Dec 15, 2021Bulletins

As members would be aware, the RTBU has been campaigning for protections regarding in-cab audio and video recordings with government and ONRSR.

Over the past three years we have continued to advocate a strong no campaign.

During this time however some operators such as Watco, Aurizon and The Bowen Rail Company have purchased locomotives with this technology in built and there are little or no legislative protections in place for members working in these companies.

The operators and manufacturers are attempting to roll out this technology across the industry without input or considerations on the impacts on Traincrew, with this all-in mind the RTBU has been engaged with ONRSR who were directed by the government ministerial council to consult with us on the proposed policy.

The RTBU has now won additional protections which have been included in the legislative policy which, although far from perfect, are the likely maximum that can be achieved between the parties at this stage. These include:

  • Limitations which only allow ONRSR, ATSB and the police access to historical recordings (rather than live feeds) after a notifiable occurrence
  • Access to recordings can only be for rail safety reasons
  • Limitations on the publication and disclosure of recordings
  • Access constraints for testing
  • If an Operator tries to access the devices as a live feed, that the employees affected need to be notified in advance (We understand that this is insufficient but it is a base protection we could achieve at this stage)
  • The requirement of Operators to consult with Train Crew affected prior to introduction and use of recordings by the companies (including live feed)

For those protections which the RTBU was unable to successfully secure at this stage, which includes an absolute ban on in-cab recording devices being used for live feeds by employers, the RTBU will continue to press for those protections during the legislative drafting stage which is likely to commence mid next year.

The RTBU will be involved in the legislative drafting and we will need to be satisfied that Traincrew are protected prior to in-cab recordings being mandated in any form. Members will be kept updated on all developments during this process.

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