Transport and Trade Development
Contact: Greg Feeney (02) 6274 7663, Email: Greg.Feeney@DOTARS.gov.au
- Policy advice, Transport Trade Development
- Policy advice and coordination, Transport chain strategies and planning
In 1998-99 the Department took a leadership role in the high-priority area of developing effective partnerships with State and Territory Governments and industry groups with a view to improving Australia's transport trade performance and supply chain efficiency. Such partnerships are vital to remove barriers to trade and investment in the transport sector, and to improve the efficiency of the transport logistics chain from grower or manufacturer to consumer.
The Department continued to promote Australian transport capabilities in such forums as Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), CER-Mercosur (Closer Economic Relations (comprising Australia and New Zealand) and Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay (Mercosur)) and AFTA-CER (ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) Free Trade Area). Priority was given to consolidating Australia's relationship with relevant government authorities in Indonesia, Japan and New Zealand, and to developing a relationship with China.
Seed funding has been provided for the establishment of air and sea freight export councils in each State and the Northern Territory (NT) to bring together transport operators and users to identify and implement ways of improving the logistics chain.
OUTPUT CLASS 7 TRANSPORT AND TRADE DEVELOPMENT
Ministerials, Questions on Notice, Briefings, Speeches, Submissions to Government Inquiries, input to Government-wide trade initiatives
Approximately 200 items of Ministerial correspondence on transport and trade-related matters were processed.
The Department provided in June 1999 a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, Sub-Committee on Trade Inquiry into the trading relationship between Australia and South America.
The Department continued to work closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to contribute to broader governmental consideration of trade initiatives.
OUTPUT 7.1 POLICY ADVICE, TRANSPORT TRADE DEVELOPMENT
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation activities
During 1998-99 the Department led Australia's participation in the APEC Transportation Working Group's (TPT-WG) work toward a more efficient and integrated transport system in the Asia-Pacific. Australia's participation aims to influence the approach to transport issues in the region, and identify opportunities for and promote the capabilities of the Australian transport industry.
As Coordinator of the TPT-WG Human Resources Development Steering Committee, Australia (through the Department) continued to make a substantial contribution to the Group's work, including developing a proposal for mutual recognition of transport professional qualifications.
Australia established the TPT-WG website. This website was launched at the Group's October 1998 meeting.
In April 1999, Australia launched the APEC Virtual Centre for Transportation Research Development and Education website. The site provides a contact point for institutions and researchers working in transport research, development and education.
The Transport Trade Industry Consultative Group (TTICG) was established in 1995 as a vehicle for industry and State and Territory Governments to provide comment on matters relating to Australia's work in APEC and bilateral relationships. Two TTICG workshops during 1998-99 promoted trade opportunities for Australia's transport industries in South America and China.
The Department hosted trade displays at the Transport '98 Conference at Darling Harbour in Sydney in December 1998 and jointly with Austrade at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in April 1999.
Other regional forums
The Department continued to promote transport industry trading opportunities in other international relationships, such as CER-Mercosur and AFTA-CER.
Australia has raised transport logistics issues in the CER-Mercosur forum. The issues were discussed at the CER-Mercosur Senior Officials Meeting in Brasilia, Brazil in November 1998.
The Department developed a transport logistics website within the ASEAN website under the Transport Linkage of the AFTA-CER Forum. The site contains information on transport infrastructure developments in the region, and contact details for officials in ASEAN member countries, New Zealand and Australia.
The Department also obtained $85 000 from AusAID to conduct a review of freight logistics in South-East Asia, with an emphasis on the Mekong region. The study is expected to be completed in February 2000.
At talks held during the Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Forum and Australia-Indonesia Development Area (AIDA) Ministerial meetings in Bali in February 1999, officials from the Department and the Indonesian Department of Communications (DOC) agreed on project proposals to be put to the next AIDA Transport Working Group in Jakarta in August 1999. At that meeting the project proposals were discussed and taskforces formed to progress the projects, subject to priority setting and identification of funding sources.
Four policy officer exchanges took place with the DOC, funded by AusAID's Government Sector Linkages Program (GSLP). The Department also received GSLP funding of $51 850 for a Year 2000 compliance assessment undertaken by Airservices Australia of Indonesian air traffic services.
In November 1998 the Secretary met his counterpart at the Japanese Ministry of Transport to discuss a range of issues and to reinforce close cooperation between the two agencies. The meeting led to expert-level consultations on transport and environment issues in Canberra in March 1999.
The Department participated in the Australia-China Joint Ministerial Economic Commission (JMEC) inter-sessional officials' meeting in July 1998 and the full JMEC meeting in Beijing in May 1999. Discussions were also held with officials from civil aviation, communications and railways ministries as a means of commencing a bilateral transport-trade relationship with China.
Technical and Administrative Cooperation in Transport (TACT) is a consultative relationship between senior officials in the Department and the New Zealand Ministry of Transport. Its focus is to progress bilateral transport policy issues and those related to regional forums. A TACT meeting was held in Wellington, New Zealand in June 1999.
The Department also provided briefings to Ministerial-level bilateral meetings with the United Arab Emirates, South Africa and Iran, and hosted meetings with senior transport officials from Poland, Hungary, China and Vietnam.
OUTPUT 7.2 POLICY ADVICE AND COORDINATION, TRANSPORT CHAIN STRATEGIES AND PLANNING
Supermarket to Asia - Transport and Logistics Working Group
During the year, the Department completed implementation of the first Action Plan of the Transport and Logistics Working Group (TLWG) and is implementing the new Action Plan.
The TLWG raised the issue of pallet size as a potential opportunity to gain efficiencies in the transport logistics chain for exports by adopting the emerging global standard ISO pallet of 1000 mm x 1200 mm. Following extensive industry consultation, the TLWG subsequently recommended, through Standards Australia, that a dual pallet system be adopted.
During 1998-99, the Department continued to work with government and industry in all States and the NT to establish air and sea freight export councils. Air freight councils were established in South Australia (SA), Queensland and Victoria, a sea freight council in SA, and a joint air and sea freight export council in Tasmania. Discussions of council establishment are continuing with the remaining States.
The Department provides secretariat services for the Integrated Logistics Network (ILN), a consultative body for Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments. The ILN is currently implementing its national strategic plan for transport logistics.
National Transport Council
Three meetings of the National Transport Council (NTC) were held in 1998-99, including a consultative meeting with key transport industry and government representatives. Key transport issues on the NTC agenda for the period included government-private sector partnerships in major transport projects, infrastructure investment priorities, rail reform processes, and uniformity of regulations across States and Territories for road, rail and port operations.
Two editions of Transport Trade and Logistics (newsletter) were produced in 1998-99 and are available on the Department's website.