Jump to Content

Cross-Modal and Maritime Transport

Contact Greg Feeney
First Assistant Secretary
Cross-modal and Maritime Transport Division
Phone (02) 6274 7663
Email Greg.Feeney@DOTARS.gov.au


Partnerships with industry and government stakeholders are vital in removing barriers to trade and investment in the transport sector, and will improve the efficiency of the transport logistics chain. Through the effective integration of cross-modal transport interests and a strong project focus, the Division improves links among industry, neighbouring regions and the rest of the world.

The Department managed Australias participation in the AsiaPacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Transportation Working Groups (TPT-WG) work toward a more efficient and integrated transport system in the region. Australias participation aims to promote the capacities of Australian providers of transport goods and services, and to identify export opportunities.

In the maritime transport sector, it supports the competitiveness of the Australian economy by facilitating seamless transport links from producers to consumers, and promoting competitively priced, efficient, safe and environmentally responsible maritime transport. In this context, the Department completed restructuring the stevedoring industry, commenced in the previous year, and finalised reviews of both the Navigation Act 1912 and Part X of the Trade Practices Act 1974 as part of the Governments commitment to review all legislation that affects competition. After considering the review report on Part X, the Government decided to retain that legislation and make a number of amendments. A Bill to amend Part X was introduced to Parliament on 28 June 2000. The Department also prepared legislation which restricts the discharge of untreated sewage and the disposal of garbage from ships in the Antarctic area, and requires all ships over 400 tons to be insured to cover clean-up costs in the event of a spill of bunker fuel.

The Department also represented Australia's interests in a range of international environmental treaty-making matters before the International Maritime Organization (IMO), seeking to achieve a balanced outcome between environment protection and the promotion of Australia's economic interests.

The continued provision of assistance under the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme and the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme has again promoted accessibility, economic prosperity and employment for Tasmania.


Establishment of a new division

On 1 July 1999 the Cross-modal and Maritime Transport Division was established through a merger of the former logistics and maritime functions of the Department, recognising the synergies of the international trade facilitation work pursued by both former divisions and the critical role of the maritime sector in meeting Australias trade transport task. This grouping represents recognised emerging emphasis in the transport industry and among transport users on the need for an integrated logistics approach to the movement of freight.

International activities

Departmental officials worked on two APEC TPT-WG meetings in Hong Kong, China (November 1999) and Singapore (March 2000). The Singapore meeting endorsed five of six new Australian project proposals for APEC funding.

A departmental officer, in September 1999, attended the 27th meeting of the IMO Facilitation Committee, which adopted amendments to the Convention on the Facilitation of Maritime Traffic aimed at simplifying and streamlining reporting requirements from ships to regulatory authorities.

In March 2000, a Departmental officer attended the IMO Legal Committee meeting which finalised the text of the Prevention of Pollution from Ships Bunkers Convention for consideration by a Diplomatic Conference in 2001. The draft Convention was initiated by Australia to ensure that adequate compensation is available to those suffering damage from a pollution incident involving oil from ships bunkers.

Departmental officials attended two Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Maritime Transport Committee (MTC) meetings in Tokyo and Kobe, Japan (October 1999) and Paris, France (May 2000). Issues included the proposed broadening of the Committees program to include cross-modal transport issues, consideration of a project proposal on cargo liability regimes, trade in services and the finalisation of MTCs common shipping principles.

Bilateral relationships

The Department hosted a Technical and Administrative Cooperation in Transport (TACT) meeting in Canberra on 29 June 2000. TACT is a consultative relationship between senior officials in the Department and the New Zealand Ministry of Transport.

Departmental officials attended the second meeting of the AustraliaIndonesia Development Area Transport Working Group and the third AustraliaIndonesia bilateral transport discussion in Jakarta, Indonesia in August 1999.

From April to July 1999 the Department undertook a policy officer exchange with the Indonesian Department of Communications, funded by AusAIDs Government Sector Linkages Program.

Departmental officers held preliminary talks with their counterpart agencies in Beijing, China in January 2000 as part of the Departments embarking on a Joint Working Group for Transportation with China.

Air and sea freight councils

The Australian Freight Transport Logistics industry is both a significant service provider to other industries and an industry in its own right. The OECD estimates that cross modal and logistics activities may comprise 1116 per cent of Gross Domestic Product. For Australia, this represents $6280 billion.

Air Freight GraphicAn important element of the Departments work is developing partnerships between industry and Government to reduce overall costs in the total transport chain, increasing the competitiveness of Australias export industries and developing logistics as an export service. An example is its relationship with air and sea freight export councils a national network of more than 400 key industry operators. Councils now operating in all States and the Northern Territory.

Sea Freight GraphicSince their establishment, the councils have successfully increased freight capacity and reduced on-tarmac time. They have also progressed standardising codes of practice and, improving packaging technology for fresh produce, and are involved in a wide range of education and training programs.

Recently the councils adopted an Australian Logistics Strategy for Perishable Exports. Key areas of the strategy include best logistics practice, development of partnerships, knowledge-sharing and sustainable supply chains, quality assurance and the use of appropriate technology, ensuring regional Australias growth, training and evaluation.

Maritime transport

The Department and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority completed a joint review of the Navigation Act 1912 during the year as part of the Governments commitment to review all legislation affecting competition. The review was conducted under the guidance of a Steering Group headed by an independent chairman, Mr Rae Taylor AO. It recommended restructuring the legislation using performance standards to promote safety and environmental protection outcomes.

The Department appeared before the Productivity Commission in relation to its submission to the Commissions review of Part X of the Trade Practices Act 1974 which governs the conduct of collaborative groups of shipping lines (called conferences). It prepared advice concerning the recommendations and findings of the Commissions report, and developed legislative amendments to improve the application of national competition policy to Part X.

Amendments to the Stevedoring Levy (Collection) Act 1998 to increase the appropriation cap under the Act from $250 million to $300 million were passed in August 1999, ensuring that levy-based funding would be available for all redundancies in the stevedoring industry.

Funding redundancies under the waterfront reform program is largely complete. The Maritime Industry Finance Company Limited (MIFCo) has paid approximately $178 million to fund 1487 redundancies. MIFCo provides a separate annual report to the Parliament.

The Department provided input to the development of management plans for Marine Protected Areas. In particular, the management plan for Solitary Islands Marine Reserve (Commonwealth) and the Solitary Islands Marine Park (NSW) recognises transport interests, including the need to provide access to navigational aids.

In accordance with Part VI of the Navigation Act 1912, single voyage permits (SVPs) are issued where no suitable licensed ships are available to carry cargo between designated Australian ports and it is considered in the public interest to allow unlicensed ships to engage in coastal movement of domestic freight.

In April 2000 the Maritime Union of Australia, the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers and the Australian Maritime Officers Union instituted legal proceedings in the Federal Court against the Minister for Transport and Regional Services in respect of the issue of SVPs under the Navigation Act 1912. Justice Kenny found that the permits were issued in compliance with the Act, and dismissed the application.


As well as providing input to specific environment-focused initiatives in the maritime transport sector, such as responsible ballast water management and improvements in safety that lead to reduced risk to the environment, the Department supports and promotes technological innovations such as e-commerce. Policy directions that result in improvements to the efficiency of transport systems benefit the environment and business, and can substantially reduce greenhouse emissions.

The Department is assisting the Australian Maritime Group and Rail Group of the Australian Transport Council to investigate opportunities to reduce freight transport emissions, to develop options and strategies to reduce greenhouse emissions.

The Department provided strategic input on a range of environmental issues, including representation on the Australian Ballast Water Management Advisory Council and National Task Force for the Prevention and Management of Marine Pests, membership of the National Advisory Panel of the Marine Pests Program, input to IMO Marine Protection activities, and input to management arrangements for marine protected areas.

The draft report of the 19992000 Review of the National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil and Other Noxious and Hazardous Substances was completed and is now with the Minister for Transport and Regional Services awaiting endorsement.


The Divisions direct services to its Ministers and Parliamentary Secretary involved more than 200 items, of which 97 per cent were rated satisfactory.

On 1 July 1999 the modified Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme was introduced with the intention of providing a more transparent and appropriate basis of assistance for shippers. Since its introduction there have been no reported complaints about the level of assistance or its administration.. In March 2000 Centrelink conducted a Value Creation Workshop to ascertain claimant views on the administration of the Scheme, results indicating that it is highly valued and well regarded by claimants.

Download Performance Tables [PDFPDF: 53 KB] as Adobe Acrobat PDF document.

Document description:

  • Output 1.1 Policy advice and Ministerial services
  • Output 2.1 Approvals and monitoring of directions, rules and regulations
  • Output 3.2 Administration of programs and grants for communities
  • Output 4.1 Trade facilitation
  • Output 4.3 Economic research and data
  • Output 4.4 Administration of programs and grants for industry
  • Output 5.1 Collection of taxes and levies on behalf of the Commonwealth
  • Administered Item Group 1.1 Services to communities
  • Administered Item 2.1 Services for industry and economic development