The move will also replace 46 pieces of state, territory and national legislation related to railway safety.

"This is a major safety and productivity reform and it shows what can be achieved through cooperation between federal, state and territory governments," says Mr Patrick Conlon, transport minister of South Australia, which was the first state to pass the legislation. "For over 110 years, our railways have been governed by multiple sets of rules and laws and created confusing red tape and duplication."

The new legislation will allow train operators to receive national certification instead of having to apply for a separate licence in each state. The only exception is New South Wales which has decided to retain its own fatigue, drug and alcohol rules.