West Australians could face harsher fines if found trespassing on Public Transport Authority (PTA) property, in a State Government effort to curb risky behaviour on WA’s rail network.
The State Government will seek to increase penalties for people caught without authorisation on the property, following a train surfing incident in Fremantle.
“There has been a number of recent high profile incidents that could have easily resulted in serious injury or death,” transport minister Rita Saffioti said.
“The recent train surfing and bridge jumping incident on the Fremantle Line is an example of the stupid behaviour we need to stop.”
The State Government proposes to increase the maximum fine under section 48 of the Government Railways Act 1904 from the current maximum fine of $200 to $5,000.
A proposed amendment to the Public Transport Authority Regulations 2003 would also enable officers to issue $200 on-the-spot fines.
The current maximum penalty possible for a trespass charge will remain a $12,000 fine and 12 months’ imprisonment.
The proposed changes will make it easier for the PTA to impose harsher penalties on offenders without involving the courts.
WA currently doesn’t have the ability to issue on-the-spot infringements for trespass or fines through the mail.
Ms Saffioti said risky behaviour affected the community and needed to be prevented from occurring.
“If something goes wrong, it drastically impacts a lot of people – commuters, first responders and PTA staff to name a few,” she said.
“That’s why we need to prevent it happening.”
“Walking on train tracks is always illegal except for at designated pedestrian level crossings – otherwise it’s trespass.”
She said there are ongoing measures to continue increasing safety on public transport.
“We will continue to work with the PTA on initiatives to boost safety on our tracks, as demonstrated with the ongoing Stay off the Tracks community campaign and Right Track education program.”