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Economic Research and Environment

Tony SlatyerContact Tony Slatyer
First Assistant Secretary (also holds title of Executive Director)
Bureau of Transport Economics
Phone (02) 6274 6801
Email Tony.Slatyer@DOTARS.gov.au


The Bureau of Transport Economics (BTE) provides expert advice to the Government and information to the community, improving the understanding of the economic factors influencing the transport sector and regional Australia.

BTE reports and working papers issued in 19992000 include Report 102, Road crash costs in Australia, Working Paper 40, Competitive neutrality between road and rail, and Working Paper 41, Regional aviation competitiveness.

The Environment Group is tasked with advising on the impact of major whole-of-government environmental issues on transport and regional interests. The issues include the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, policies on Australias response to climate change, and natural resource management, including dryland salinity. The Group takes the environmental sustainability priority of Government as a key focus for its work.


Australian Transport Data: A Compendium of Sources (Information Paper 44)

Published in 1999, the Compendium is a guide to Australian transport statistics and data. It lists more than 1800 data sources indexed by subject area and author, covers all transport modes including pipelines, and includes a section on externalities, the public costs imposed on society by transport, such as noise, pollution and congestion.

Access to information is essential for high-quality research and policy work, but a detailed literature search is often a luxury in todays environment of limited resources and short deadlines. While not a substitute for other information services, the Compendium was designed to save time and cost by providing a quick reference to sources of transport statistics and data.

The Compendium cites regular statistical publications plus original data published on a one-off basis in documents such as consultants reports, academic papers and submissions to Government inquiries. Publications presenting a collection of statistics from several sources are also cited.

The BTE plans to publish the Compendium on the Internet after the introduction of the Departments new computer system, currently anticipated to be in place by September 2000. References can then be added to the Compendium as they become available.

Competitive neutrality between road and rail (Working Paper 40)

The report:

  • examined competitive neutrality in the interstate non-bulk freight sector the area of greatest competition between road and rail;
  • analysed the impact of competitive neutrality for both before and after the current round of tax reform;
  • found tax reform will tend to increase the competitive advantage held by road, but the advantage is very small.

Regional aviation competitiveness (Working paper 41)

The report:

  • examined the potential for uncompetitive pricing practices in the regional aviation industry by using a structure-conduct-performance framework to examine the competitiveness of regional airlines in Australia;
  • provided a snapshot of the industry and measured competition with an econometric model examining the relative prices (of airfares) between services on routes with and without direct competition from other air services;
  • presented preliminary results to the Standing Committee on Transport Aviation Working Group in June 1999;
  • found that despite a high concentration of ownership, pricing is generally competitive.

The supply of air freight capacity to Asian markets (Working paper 42)

The report:

  • examined how Australian air freight capacity to Asia in 1998 was affected by the contraction in passenger services resulting from the financial crisis;
  • involved the analysis of demand for Australian exports to 12 key Asian markets and the construction of supply and demand scenarios for air freight over the next two years;
  • found negligible effect on air cargo capacity.

Facts and furphies in benefitcost analysis: transport (Report 100)

The report:

  • discussed how the benefitcost analysis technique can be used and abused;
  • covered multi-criteria analysis, the choice of discount rate, the use of national economic models and regional development effects.

Regional impact of ports (Report 101)

The report:

  • provided a general framework for undertaking port impact studies in Australia;
  • included a case study of the Port of Fremantle indicating the output, income and employment generated by port-related activities in 199899.

Road crash costs in Australia (Report 102)

The report:

  • provided a comprehensive review of the cost of road transport crashes borne by the Australian community;
  • found that the total annual cost burden amounts to about $15 billion, and that the cost associated with a fatal crash is about $1.7 million;
  • estimated that safety measures taken to reduce risk have saved the community $3.3 billion over the past decade.

Public road-related expenditure and revenue in Australia (Information sheet 13)

The publication:

  • showed road expenditure by each level of government and revenue from selected motor vehicle taxes and charges;
  • included a road construction and maintenance price index.

Urban transport looking ahead (Information Sheet 14)

The sheet showed the economic cost of current and projected traffic congestion to the year 2015 and projects this amount will rise to around $30 billion per year for mainland capitals if no specific measures to target congestion are intoduced.

Trends in trucks and traffic (Information Sheet 15)

The report showed current and projected road freight growth trends to 2015. The road freight task is projected to increase by 80 per cent over the next 15 years.

Urban congestion the implications for greenhouse gas emissions (Information Sheet 16)

The report:

  • showed greenhouse emissions attributable to current and projected traffic congestion to 2015;
  • found fuel consumption and emissions double under typical congested conditions, and current congestion accounts for around 17 per cent of all transport greenhouse emissions.

Waterline (quarterly bulletin)

The bulletin contains approximately 100 different performance indicators measuring stevedoring productivity, waterfront reliability, port interface costs, coastal shipping permits, non-financial port performance and financial port performance (available on the Internet at www.DOTARS.gov.au/bte/wline.aspx).

Transport Indicators (internet site www.btre.gov.au/publications.aspx)

The internet site presents statistical information on the economy and the transport industry, from approximately 35 indicators.

Aerocost 2

The database estimates the direct cost of operating aircraft jets, freighters, turboprops and piston engine planes over a range of domestic and international air routes.

Environment Group

The Environment Group:

  • participated in the development of draft headline sustainability indicators for Australia;
  • worked with the aviation industry and international aviation and climate change bodies considering options to mitigate the impact of aviation on climate change;
  • managed the Departments responsibilities under the National Greenhouse Strategy; and
  • prepared the Department for the commencement of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, which substantially alters the Departments responsibilities for environmental assessment of its programs.


The BTE, through the provision of research and analysis, advises on policy decisions that influence transport and the environment. Of key interest are the identification and measurement of environmental externalities resulting from transport. The BTE also examines the most efficient means of dealing with environmental externalities. Report 94, Transport and greenhouse: a study of policy options, for example, assesses a range of policy options against environmental, efficiency and fiscal criteria. Information sheet 16, Urban congestion: the implications for greenhouse gas emissions, highlights the environmental costs of congestion and discusses some policy options. The ultimate aim of these and other projects is to add depth to debates of national importance and to aid the formulation of effective policy.

Environment Group develops and analyses policies to reduce the impact of the Australian transport sector on the environment, and assesses the impact of developments in environmental policy on transport and regional interests. The Group itself does not directly undertake environmental measures, but plays a key role in developing policies that promote ecologically sustainable development principles.

Environment Group, with Corporate Division, is currently also examining the impact on the environment of the Departments direct activities, such as its office waste and energy management systems. This move is expected to lead to improvements in environmental practice during 200001.


Three indicators are used to measure the service performance of the BTE:

  • there is a requirement to seek client feedback on research projects and policy consultancy tasks incorporated as part of quality management procedures. Research Managers are required to monitor compliance as part of their quality management responsibilities;
  • client feedback cards are inserted in all BTE publications; and
  • copies of correspondence are circulated and monitored for compliance with the 20-day response time target.

Some projects identified in the 19992000 Portfolio Budget Statements were delayed mainly by staffing losses and the need to address higher-priority activities (see performance tables). However, the BTE recorded a 100 per cent satisfaction rating (that is, no negative response) from the client feedback forms inserted in all BTE publications.

BTEs direct services to its Ministers and Parliamentary Secretary were all rated satisfactory.

Download Performance Tables [PDFPDF: 13 KB] as Adobe Acrobat PDF document.

Document description:

  • Output 4.3 Economic research and data