The Rail Safety National Law (South Australia) Bill passed the South Australian House of Assembly and will now head to the Legislative Council for approval.
South Australia is the first state to pass legislation to implement a national rail safety regulator.
The other states and territories are expected to do so over the course of the year.
The legislation will replace seven separate regulatory authorities and 46 pieces of state, territory and commonwealth legislation.
From January 2013, for the first time in Australia's history, railways will come under a single safety regulator with one set of national regulations.
The national regulator will be based in Adelaide and have oversight of the country's urban passenger rail networks and interstate freight operations.
Rail operators will be able to get national accreditation instead of having to apply in each state and territory.
Under the rail safety law, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau will become the national investigator of rail accidents.
This article first appeared in ILN's sister publication ConstructionIndustryNews.net.