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Tougher penalties proposed for rail trespassers

The State Government intends to increase penalties for offenders who trespass on Public Transport Authority property, to reduce dangerous incidents.

The proposed changes will make it easier for the PTA to impose harsher penalties on offenders, without entering into an often prolonged and costly court process.

Most trespass offences are currently dealt with under the Government Railways Act 1904, which imposes a maximum fine of $200.

The Government proposes to increase the maximum fine under section 48 of the Act to $5,000, which reflects the cost to the PTA per court appearance and provides a significant penalty for more serious trespassing incidents.

The harsher penalty is intended to discourage premeditated and deliberate acts of trespass, such as train surfing.

Currently, Western Australia does not have the ability to issue on-the-spot infringements for trespass or issue fines through the mail.

A proposed amendment to the Public Transport Authority Regulations 2003 would also enable transit officers to issue on-the-spot fines of $200.

The maximum possible penalty for a charge of trespass under the Criminal Code remains a $12,000 fine and 12 months’ imprisonment; however, this legislation is not frequently applied to cases of rail trespass.