Apply for an exemption

The bus operator accreditation and registration schemes have been simplified and consolidated into one accreditation system. These changes came into effect on 1 March 2022.

Information about the changes is available on the front page of the Bus Safety section of this website in Latest News. Online information sessions about the changes to the Bus Safety Act 2009 and the accompanying regulations will be promoted here shortly.

Bus operators may apply to us for an exemption from some of the provisions of accreditation or registration in certain circumstances.

An exemption will be considered when a bus operator can show the regulatory burden they face is 'excessive' or 'unreasonable'. This will be determined in accordance with the Bus Safety Regulations (BSR).

To be granted an exemption, a bus operator must demonstrate:

  1. That the exemption will not reduce the safe operation of the bus
  2. The competence and capacity to manage the risks to safety posed by the exemption, and
  3. The means to meet reasonable accident liabilities.

This is not an exhaustive list and operators intending to apply for an exemption should consult the BSR.

Exemption guidelines: Who can apply?

Most bus operators should be able to comply with the requirements of the Bus Safety Act (BSA) and BSR without needing to seek an exemption.

If an exemption is granted, the bus operator is only exempt from the specific requirements nominated. All other requirements of the BSA and BSR must be complied with, including safety duties.

More information about the circumstances in which an exemption may be sought, and how an application for exemption will be received, assessed and finalised, is contained in the following guidelines:

Bus service details

You will be asked to describe the scope and nature of the bus service for which you are seeking the exemption/s.

A commercial bus service (specify which type/s)

  • Route
  • Demand responsive
  • Tour and charter
  • Courtesy

A local bus service

Commercial minibus service

Community and private bus service (specify which type/s)

  • Religious
  • Educational
  • Health
  • Welfare
  • Philanthropic
  • Sporting
  • Social body

Courtesy bus service

Non-commercial courtesy bus service

Hire and drive bus service

Bus service type

You will be asked to provide a description of the service to which the exemption/s relate.

Please include:

  • Days/hours of operation, geographical locations covered (suburbs), the type of patrons (general public, wedding parties, sporting groups etc.)
  • Whether or not passengers are charged a fee to use the service.
  • How many buses are to be operated.

Environment type

When applying for an exemption, you will be asked to describe the type of environment where the bus service generally operates.

Note: A built-up area is where there are buildings and/or houses next to the road or there is street lighting at intervals not over 100 metres apart for a distance of 500 metres or more.

Environment 1 (E1) – Built-up areas, high population density, low speeds, shorter journeys.

Environment 2 (E2) – Outside built-up areas, lower population density, higher speeds; longer journeys; narrow and or undivided roads; hazards such as livestock, wildlife, trees close to the road; heavy vehicle traffic at higher speeds.

Environment 3 (E3) – Outside built-up areas with extreme risk factors e.g. long steep roads with precipitous drop offs; high volumes of heavy vehicle traffic at high speeds; narrow, unsealed, winding, undivided roads; blackspots, climate conditions such as fog, snow and ice.

Supporting documents

You must provide the following attachments as part of your application. Failure to provide any of these attachments will result in delays to your application.

All applicants

  • Evidence that the provision/s from which exemption/s is/are sought impose a regulatory burden that is excessively onerous or unreasonable having regard to the purpose and objects of the Bus Safety Act and the principles of bus safety.

If applying for exemption from accreditation

  • Evidence of how the exemption will not reduce the safe operation of the bus service in respect of which the exemption is sought.
  • Evidence of how you will have sufficient competence and capacity to manage risks to safety associated with operating the bus service.
  • Evidence that you have the financial capacity or public risk insurance arrangements to meet reasonable potential accident liabilities arising from the bus service in respect of which the exemption is sought. If you hold public liability insurance, this includes a copy of the public liability insurance policy.
  • Will any part of the bus service for which exemption is sought be carried out by another person or persons besides the applicant, you must attach a separate document that lists the name and contact details (address, telephone and email) of each such person and provide details of the activities that it is intended that the person will carry out on behalf of the applicant.

Business documents

(not applicable to individual applicants)

Note: Corporations Act refers to the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

For a body corporate which is a company within the meaning of the Corporations Act

  • A copy of the certificate of incorporation
  • A list of the names of all directors of the company, current as at the date of application.

For a body corporate other than a company within the meaning of the Corporations Act

  • A copy of the certificate of incorporation or registration or a copy of the document creating or evidencing the existence of the body corporate or, for Government authorities or organisations incorporated under legislation, a letter on a letterhead stating the name of the legislation under which they are incorporated)
  • A list of the names of all directors and/or office bearers of the body corporate, current as at the date of application.

For an unincorporated association or body

  • A copy of the certificate of business name or other document creating or evidencing the existence of the unincorporated body or association. For example a certificate of registration, a printed extract from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission website.
  • A list of the names of all members of the committee of management of the unincorporated association or body, current as at the date of application.

For a partnership

  • A copy of the partnership agreement
  • A list of the names of each of the partners of the partnership, current as at the date of application.

Application form

How will my application be assessed?

All applications will be assessed on:

  1. The nature and scope of the bus operator's operation
  2. The exemption sought
  3. The requirements prescribed under the BSA and BSR.

Please note that we are unable to exempt bus operators from requirements related to certain provisions, such as general safety duties under Part 3 of the BSA. Details of these certain provisions are provided in the above exemption guideline.

Ongoing compliance

We will ensure ongoing compliance with an exemption through normal compliance and enforcement activities, such as safety audits and inspections.

We may impose conditions or restrictions on an exemption sought. We may also vary the conditions or restrictions, suspend or revoke an exemption granted at any time. The bus operator can apply to vary the exemption.

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