Environment and safety

Learn about our environment and safety initiatives.

At TfNSW we are committed to a safe and sustainable transport system for the whole state.

This means that all transport infrastructure plans, design, construction, operations, maintenance and management will take into account economic, environmental, health, community and social factors at all times.

To achieve this we partner with other organisations, groups and businesses that are committed to the same environmental and safety outcomes.

Working collaboratively also helps us to ensure that goods carried via freight by road, rail and at ports can reach their markets safely, efficiently and with minimal impact on people and environments.


TfNSW aims to achieve good transport outcomes that support the projected growth of the NSW economy through.

  • Energy and resource management: we are efficient in our energy use, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and use less water
  • Pollution control: we keep air, noise and water pollution to a minimum
  • Climate change resilience: we build and operate to withstand the effects of climate change
  • Minimise impacts: we minimise transport impacts on biodiversity and heritage
  • Liveable communities: we aim to sensitively integrate transport infrastructure and movement with the way people live and work on the land
  • Corporate sustainability: we are resource efficient in all our day to day functions

All of our projects must have an approved Environment Protection Licence (EPL).This is held either by TfNSW, the appointed construction contractor or delivery partner.


With the size of the freight task growing every year, NSW needs a sustainable transport network that balances efficient freight movements with community expectations of safety and positive environmental outcomes.

The NSW Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023 is a call to action for government and industry to collaborate to make the NSW freight task more efficient and safe so NSW can continue to move and grow. The Plan has clear initiatives and targets to improve safety and environmental outcomes.

In addition to controlling risks, improved management of noise and emissions, greater use of ‘green technologies’ and robust safety management practices improve efficiency and lower costs for industry.

Rail freight noise

Rail freight noise can impact on communities who live close to rail infrastructure. The Strategic Noise Action Plan works to reduce rail noise at its source, minimise its impact on communities. It also covers mandatory development guidelines around new and existing rail routes and facilities.

This means we can keep the vital flow of everyday goods for households and businesses moving in NSW.

The Freight Noise Attenuation Program is one active way we help to reduce the impacts of rail freight noise. It offers free or discounted noise reduction treatments for homes affected by high levels of freight rail noise along NSW Government managed rail routes between Nowra and Newcastle, and west to Lithgow.


Our goal is to reduce transport safety incidents, and their impacts on people and property.

Road safety

The Centre for Road Safety develops practical solutions to reduce deaths and serious injuries on NSW roads. The way we develop and target our road safety campaigns, work with the community and design our roads and vehicles can greatly affect the outcome of road crashes in NSW.

The Road Safety Plan 2021 will position NSW to achieve the longer term target of a zero road toll to support the Future Transport strategy, a 40-year vision for transport in NSW to meet the changing needs of customers.

Maritime safety

The Centre for Maritime Safety is responsible for evidence-based strategy, policy, and awareness campaigns, and key stakeholder relations for the Government’s maritime program.

Road freight safety

Using the NSW Road Safety Strategy 2012-21 we aim to achieve the safest roads in the country.

Our Road safety review process plays a key role in achieving safer roads for the whole community. We use this to:

  • Enforce legislation and raise awareness
  • Ensure heavy vehicle compliance checks target speed, fatigue, drugs and distractions
  • Promote the display of safety messages in the workplaces of heavy vehicle operators
  • Increase awareness of Chain of Responsibility legislation
  • Promote the vehicle safety feature guide that encourages safer trucks and safer technology
  • Apply technology, monitoring and research to improve safety
  • Regularly assess the risk of traffic incidents on high volume freight routes
  • Support the development and use of technologies that help improve safety
  • Run a world-first large-scale test in Illawarra of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems
  • Plan safer infrastructures
  • Provide rest areas on major freight routes

To achieve this, we partner with:

Legislation commenced on 3 December 2018 to establish a Written-Off Heavy Vehicles Register in NSW.

All road users will benefit from the Written-Off Heavy Vehicles Register (www.rms.nsw.gov.au), expected to keep severely damaged or poorly repaired heavy vehicles from being re-registered and used in the state.

The Register is expected to provide a significant deterrent for those involved in illegal backyard repairs and illegal heavy vehicle re-birthing.

For your responsibilities as a heavy vehicle owner and operator under the Register please go to www.rms.nsw.gov.au

Rail freight safety

At TfNSW we work closely with the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) to implement rail freight safety reforms.

We also partner with the National Transport Commission to maintain rail safety national law in rail freight operations.

Ports and maritime freight safety

We maintain high standards of marine safety at all trading ports and coastal waters in NSW.

To ensure these standards are maintained, we promote best practice and represent NSW on various safety committees and working groups. This includes:

The Port Safety Operating Licence (POL) covers port safety activity at NSW designated ports. These include the ports of Eden, Port Kemble, Port Botany, Sydney Harbour, Newcastle and Yamba.

We issue this licence to the Port Authority of New South Wales on behalf of the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight under the Ports and Maritime Administration Act 1995 (PAMA).

Trading ships and cruise vessels that enter smaller ports not covered by the Port Authority are safety checked by TfNSW. Smaller commercial and recreational vessel operations are managed for safety by the Centre for Maritime Safety and Roads and Maritime Services.

At TfNSW we manage port safety for the handling and movement of dangerous goods.

We also use the NSW Marine Pilotage Guide to ensure high standards of health and safety for NSW marine pilots.

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