I am pleased to see that the ATSB website has been updated to note that the Victorian government will be investigating the Ouyen crash. I'm also pleased to see that the ATSB will have an eye on the Victorian investigation, keeping in mind that the operator of the infrastructure is another agency of the same government department and therefore closer to incestuous than independent.
The continued lack of any action on the Dimboola derailment is even more concerning now that details of the more recent Ouyen crash have been added to the website. I wonder what would be revealed if the ATSB was compelled to release the correspondence and documents relating to this decision in a FOI disclosure?
Certainly.I think you're underestimating the significance of the ATSB investigating that Rio Tinto derailment. To the best of my knowledge, there has never been an independent investigation into any of Rio's (nor BHP's, FMG's or Roy Hill's) incidents.
The Dimboola one involved a line which carries passenger trains, and so should be a high priority. The Ouyen one involved an innocent bystander having to take evasive action.
Both are much more worthy of an ATSB investigation than a Rio Tinto train derailing somewhere in Outer Nowheristan. Let's hope it's simply a case of the person at ATSB who updates the website being on annual leave.
That such a thing has happened now the Pilbara miners have to operate under the ONRSR rather than WA's ORS will hopefully shed a little more light onto serious incidents that would otherwise be kept in-house.
The potential historic significance of an investigation is not - and never should be - included among the ATSB's publicly listed criteria for deciding whether or not there should be an ATSB investigation into an incident.
I have no problem with the Rio Tinto derailment having an ATSB investigation, or even a wider investigation into the safety record of the Pilbara lines if your inference that the WA regulator was giving them a free ride has merit. However, that should not be going ahead at the expense of other investigations of higher priority.
Long term, it may be worth considering the development of a protocol for ATSB to review and ratify in-house investigations of minor incidents, as a middle ground between conducting full investigations and letting them go completely. A derailment on the Defined Interstate Rail Network should never be considered a minor incident though.