Effectiveness indicators for key strategies

Airports achieving long-run profitability while delivering high quality services at a reasonable cost to users and meeting environmental and other regulatory requirements

Key strategy: Encourage operation of airports for which the portfolio has responsibility in a way that balances commercial and public interests.

Achieved

The Airport Planning and Regulation Branch of the Department administers the Airports Act 1996 regulatory regime to protect the interests of airport users and the general public while promoting the efficient economic development and operation of airports. The annual lease review meetings with Airport Lessee Companies ensure the long-term viability of leased airports and compliance with environmental and regulatory requirements.

The lessees of Federal airports have developed environment strategies that have been approved by the Minister for Transport and Regional Services.

The strategies encompass measures to prevent or minimise:

  • environmental pollution at airport sites
  • impact on biota or habitat
  • interference with sites of heritage value or sites of significance to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.

To facilitate an appropriate balance between the development of airports and the protection of environmental values, Airport Environment Officers (AEOs) have helped ensure a high level of compliance with environmental standards by airport lessees. We managed 17 separate contracts for the provision of AEOs who proactively monitored Federal airports.

Sale of Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport

The Department played a key role in the successful privatisation of Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport which was finalised before the end of 200102. As a member of the sale team, which included the Department of Finance and Administration as well as business and legal advisers, the Department participated in all stages of the process paying particular attention to appropriate transport policy and regulatory outcomes.

Following a very competitive bidding process, the bid by Southern Cross Airports Corporation was assessed, on balance, as best meeting the Governments sale objectives which included optimising sale proceeds and ensuring the buyer had the necessary management capabilities and a commitment to the development of airport services.

The airport site remains a Commonwealth place and continues to be subject to the provisions of the Airports Act 1996 and other relevant Commonwealth legislation. The sale did not change the noise management policies at the airport with the Commonwealth retaining full regulatory control.

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Measures to govern aircraft noise emissions and aircraft curfews are in place and observed

Key strategy: Minimise the adverse environmental impacts of aircraft operations, especially on communities around airports.

Achieved

The Department has a central role in issues relating to aircraft noise. The Department is responsible for establishing and maintaining the policy settings for aircraft noise and for maintaining oversight of Airservices Australia in meeting its obligations set out in the Ministerial Direction issued under the Air Services Act 1995.

The Department is also responsible for the administration of the Air Navigation (Aircraft Noise) Regulations, the Air Navigation (Aircraft Engine Emissions) Regulations and the Air Navigation (Fuel Spillage) Regulations. These regulations require that certain specified standards are met in relation to particular environmental areas.

The Department has implemented the phase-out of the older, noisier aircraft that do not meet the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 16, Volume 1 standards. These aircraft types have been banned from Australian airspace since 31 March 2002. We have also revoked historical aircraft permits for some specific ex-military aircraft on the basis of non-compliance.

In addition, and to further minimise the adverse environmental impacts of aircraft operations on communities around airports, we administer the curfew legislation in place at Sydney, Coolangatta, Adelaide and Essendon Airports. Compliance arrangements are in place and, as a result, an international airline was fined $10,000 for non-compliance with the curfew requirements at Sydney during the year.

The Department has a central role in the establishment and maintenance of noise-related consultative committees at major airports. The committees are usually chaired by the airport operator and provide a forum for discussion and exchange of views for a range of stakeholders.

The Department continues to work with other stakeholders, such as Airservices Australia, airlines, airports and the community, to address issues in relation to aircraft noise, emissions and land-use planning around airports. The Department has worked with other stakeholders at a range of airport locations to address aircraft noise concerns. In some instances positive changes have been possible. In all cases, the Department has consistently considered the issues and taken into account views of communities in arriving at an outcome that has its basis in sustainability and further considers economic, safety and environmental issues.

The Department has promoted the application of land-use planning policies around airports consistent with the Australian Standard 20212000. The Department has acted in a manner that is consistent with the Commonwealths role of asset owner. The Department also seeks to take into account particular concerns for land-use planning around airports that might require special measures such as the protection of areas of land under flight paths outside the noise contours to address noise. The Department has actively participated in reviews of land-use planning for Tullamarine and Perth Airports over the year.

The Department is a member of the ICAO Committee for Aviation Environment Protection (CAEP), which has responsibility for developing international standards on aircraft noise and emissions for aircraft and the development of associated guidelines and related issues. During the period ICAO CAEP agreed a new subsonic jet noise standard to apply to new aircraft prototypes after 1 January 2006 and resolved a number of important issues on noise and emissions.

Impact of collapse of Ansett on the Department

Air New Zealand decided to place Ansett under voluntary administration and cease Ansett services from 13 September 2001. This resulted in a reduction of about 40 per cent in domestic aviation capacity, left many regional affiliates without access to reservation and ticketing systems and left hundreds of people stranded both in Australia and overseas.

In the days running up to and immediately following Ansetts collapse, the Departments then Aviation Division played a central role in liaising with Qantas, Virgin Blue and international airlines to get stranded passengers home and to maintain essential air links in remote and regional communities.

In the following months, the Department developed and administered a system of grants and loans known as the Rapid Route Recovery Scheme, which assisted airlines affected by Ansetts collapse and facilitated the recommencement of services on routes previously serviced by Ansett and its subsidiaries.

In addition, the Department worked with the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations to establish the Special Employee Entitlements Scheme for Ansett employees (SEESA), to guarantee former Ansett staff their statutory employee entitlements. The Department also assisted in establishing the Air Passenger Ticket Levy, which it also administered, to provide immediate funding of entitlements under SEESA.

The Department has worked closely with administrators of the Ansett group of companies in the interests of regional communities. All of the former Ansett regional airlines are continuing to provide services under new commercial ownership.

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Opportunities for airlines to provide services with reduced travel costs or improved growth, including in regions

Key strategy: Sustain competition in domestic and international aviation services by negotiating more liberal air services arrangements, where this is in the national interest.

Substantially achieved

In the field of liberalisation of international aviation the Department has, in cooperation with other economies from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), been identifying issues to be addressed and liberalisation initiatives to be pursued.

In the OECD, Australia led working groups on traffic rights and competition policy, developing a draft text for a multilateral air cargo regime that has been offered to ICAO as the standard air freight multilateral text for future negotiations.

In the APEC, Australia chairs the Air Services Group that, as part of the Transportation Working Group, has developed a multilateral programme of air services liberalisation accepted by all APEC members. The progress of the liberalisation programme is measured annually by a confidential survey of APEC members conducted on APECs behalf by Australia. Aggregated results are released annually.

The Department has also sought to encourage the development of multilateral alternatives to the bilateral system in ICAO, OECD, APEC and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Given the universal nature of ownership and control provisions associated with the international aviation industry, the Department considers that solutions to these problems must be multilateral and is firmly committed to promoting multilateral reform of international aviation.

In ICAO, Australia heads a working group developing options for coordinated action amongst ICAO member states to remove or reduce foreign ownership restrictions on international airlines, to be presented at the ICAO World Wide Air Transport Conference in March 2003.

In the WTO, Australia leads a group of members looking to develop a consensus to increase the coverage of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in the aviation sector. Australia is testing the scope for increasing coverage in the sector by introducing ground handling in the current GATS negotiation round.

Effects of 11 September 2001

Following the events of 11 September 2001, the Department put in place a number of Additional Security Measures at major Australian airports, including:

  • increased passenger and baggage screening, including secondary screening at the boarding gate for higher risk flights
  • increased restrictions on the types of implements permitted within passenger departure lounges and aboard aircraft
  • tighter airport access control such as increased guarding and patrolling requirements
  • increased aircraft searching.

Several revisions of the Additional Security Measures have been issued since 12 September 2001, most recently on 14 May 2002. The Additional Security Measures will remain in place while the current level of threat exists.

The Department is reviewing the long-term policy settings for aviation security in consultation with industry and other government agencies, including the requirements for passenger screening and other related security measures. The outcome of these reviews will assist in the planned appraisal of Australias aviation security legislation.

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Implementation of effective aviation security measures by industry, including additional security measures in response to threat and intelligence advice

Key strategy: Effective management and oversight of Australias aviation security environment.

Achieved

The Department plays a strategic and administrative role in managing and overseeing Australias aviation security environment. The Aviation and Airports Policy Division contributes to international forums that affect aviation security in Australia. Furthermore, the Division is responsible for providing timely and relevant threat and intelligence advice to airports and airlines. The Division also administers several pieces of legislation regarding aviation security for Australia.

The Aviation and Airports Policy Division liaises with other government agencies and the aviation industry to establish risk-based security measures consistent with Australias international and domestic obligations to provide secure air services.

The Department was involved in two ICAO Aviation Security Panel meetings that resulted in amendments to Annex 17 of the Chicago Convention, which details international Standards and Recommended Practices for safeguarding international civil aviation against acts of unlawful interference. The amendments enhanced levels of protection currently afforded passengers, crew, ground personnel, the general public, aircraft and facilities of an airport. The amendments became applicable on 1 July 2002.

The Department also participated in an ICAO Ministerial Conference on Aviation Security that agreed to the implementation of a comprehensive ICAO programme of aviation security audits. The programme is to audit national- and airport-level compliance with ICAO requirements. Australia has agreed to contribute some funds toward this proposal.

In light of the terrorist acts in the United States on 11 September 2001, and based on advice from Australias intelligence agencies, a range of additional security measures was mandated at 29 security-categorised airports and on selected domestic and international passenger aircraft. The additional security measures are under continual review and amended accordingly.

In March 2002, the Aviation Legislation Amendment Bill 2002 was introduced into Parliament. The Bill promotes more effective management of Australias aviation security environment, promotes a new framework for handling aviation security information and proposes greater transparency and accountability for current processes. In addition to introducing this Bill, the Department will oversight the reform of the Air Navigation Regulations, incorporating improved security standards as agreed by the Department, industry groups and other government agencies.

Aviation war risk insurance

One of the outcomes of the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001 was the immediate withdrawal of third-party on the ground war risk insurance cover for the global aviation industry. The Australian Government reacted quickly to ensure that the aviation industry could continue to operate until the global insurance industry was able to recover.

From mid-September 2001, the Department managed the provision of Commonwealth indemnities to Australian airlines, airports and aviation service providers that were unable to obtain sufficient third-party war risk insurance. A small War Risk Insurance Task Force, drawn from different areas of the Department, worked closely with industry participants and insurance providers to ensure continuity of insurance cover for the aviation industry while a longer term solution was developed. At the peak of the schemes operation, around 30 airlines, airports and service providers were in receipt of an indemnity, and the total contingent liability assumed by the Commonwealth exceeded A$20 billion (based on the difference between the amount of insurance available commercially and the entitys previous level of cover).

The Department also contributed to global efforts, through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), to develop an effective international long-term solution to this serious matter.

On 10 May 2002, the Minister for Transport and Regional Services announced that the indemnity scheme would continue for the time being and that a charge would be applied for this cover.

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Contribution to a demonstrable reduction in the road toll and other road crash cost

Key strategy: Progress implementation of the Commonwealths responsibilities under the new National Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan.

Substantially achieved

The National Road Safety Strategy 200110 and the National Road Safety Action Plan for 2001 and 2002 were approved by the Australian Transport Council (ATC) in late 2000. They came into effect from January 2001, with the aim of achieving a 40 per cent reduction in the road fatality rate over 10 years, from 9.3 to 5.6 fatalities per 100,000 population.

The Commonwealth has a monitoring and coordinating role under this national framework, as well as a responsibility to implement or contribute to selected safety measures identified in successive action plans.

As part of this role the Department prepared two national progress reports for submission to the ATC and contributed to the development of road safety measures through the Australian Transport Safety Bureaus research and statistics programme, which included the publication of major reports on speed risks and fatigue.

It also organised and chaired a forum on indigenous road safety. By identifying key factors that commonly define unsuccessful and successful programmes, the forum provided an improved model for future programmes.

The Department produced national road fatality statistics to the end of the financial year showing that the rate of progress will need to be accelerated in order to achieve the strategys 10-year target. The ATC agreed that a task force be established to review the current action plan and to develop a revised and more sharply focused action plan for 2003 and 2004.

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Reduction in the backlog of investigations, and more regular reports of comprehensive proactive safety studies

Key strategy: Improve targeting and timeliness of air and marine safety investigations.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) undertakes best-practice no blame transport safety investigations. The Bureau is an operationally independent multimodal body established to independently investigate, analyse and report on transport safety. It maintains a clear organisational separation from transport regulators and other parties that may be investigated, and operates within a defined legal framework as part of the Department.

The ATSB makes a major contribution to transport safety through its ability to investigate, analyse and report openly on transport safety matters free of any conflict of interest, and independently of transport regulators. Transport safety investigation and analysis of safety data are conducted rigorously and without fear or favour.

The Bureau disseminates a range of publications to improve knowledge and understanding of transport safety measures. These include reports on the facts and conclusions of investigations, safety education material, research reports, discussion papers and statistics (such as monthly road fatality statistics). Reports will often contain recommendations for authorities and parties to action in the interests of safety improvements.

Air investigations Substantially achieved

In 200102, 118 aviation investigation reports were released with a median completion time of 317 days. The investigation report backlog declined from about 125 at the beginning of the year to about 90 by the end. There were 16 outstanding reports on occurrences more than 12 months old compared with 29 at the same time the previous year. By reducing its backlog of investigations and providing more regular reports of investigations and recommendations, the ATSB has more effectively focused the attention of operators, manufacturers, regulators and service providers on the need for safety changes.

Draft proactive safety studies were completed on occurrences in mandatory broadcast zones and on bird strikes.

Marine investigations and proactive safety Partially achieved

The Marine Investigations Unit, within the ATSB, is resourced to investigate up to 12 incidents per year and aims to release its reports within 44 weeks of an incident. In 200102, the Unit undertook 10 new investigations, all of which were still in progress as at 30 June.

In 200102, six investigation reports were released with a median completion time of 76.3 weeks. All but two of these were commenced during 19992000; the remaining two were commenced during 200001. A further six investigation reports had reached the final stages of preparation by the end of the financial year. These results fell short of the Units performance targets because of a range of factors, including the allocation of investigator resources to rail accident investigations, the fact that all but two of the last 20 investigations undertaken were incidents involving foreign-flag vessels (with correspondingly longer times taken for communication and responses from overseas), and the emphasis placed on proactive safety activities.

To further its proactive marine safety activities, the ATSB:

  • conducted an International Maritime Organisation training course in marine accident investigation in Hong Kong
  • made a presentation to commercial shipping interests in Bombay
  • chaired the Marine Accident Investigators International Forum in Korea
  • participated in a working group at the 2002 meeting of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Flag State Implementation Sub-committee
  • conducted a second course in marine accident investigation for the Royal Australian Navy
  • presented the human factors input at four Advanced Marine Pilots training courses
  • made a further two presentations at national and local forums.

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Investigating rail safety on the interstate system, with cooperative investigation agreements with the States/Northern Territory and other authorities, and a national rail safety database

Key strategy: Develop the Commonwealths role in rail safety and investigation.

Substantially achieved

A milestone achievement for ATSB was the development of multimodal investigation legislation, which resulted in the Government introducing the Transport Safety Investigation Bill 2002 on 20 June 2002. One of the aims of the Bill is to introduce best-practice safety investigation methods from the aviation and marine fields to the interstate rail system. An independent ATSB role in interstate rail investigation will foster better practice and safety across the industry. Regulations and cooperative agreements with other agencies such as coroners, police and regulatory authorities are yet to be developed to support the legislation.

Three investigations were undertaken during 200102 at the request of State Governments under State law. A fourth rail investigation involving a merging collision between two inter-urban passenger trains at Epping (Victoria) on 18 June 2002 was commenced at the request of the Victorian Government. Two of these reports and their recommendations have led to a critical review of safety standards in the rail industry.

To help the Department advance transport safety research, the ATSB has also established a National Rail Occurrence Database in the past year. The database provides national safety statistics on the Australian railway system for the calendar year 2001. The Bureau will continue to work with rail safety regulators to broaden the coverage of the database and to provide additional statistical information on Australian rail fatalities.

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Australian shippers seeing improvements across the combined areas of reliability, timeliness and cost of transport

Key strategy: Support competitive shipping services, and more efficient port and waterfront operations.

Achieved

The Governments objectives for waterfront reform boost productivity, lower costs, improve reliability, emphasise skill and training, and introduce an effective occupational health and safety regime are now being met. The approach taken by the Government, in conjunction with the stevedores, has set in train a durable reform process predicated on the notion of continuous improvement that will lead to Australia having a reliable, efficient and world-class waterfront.

The national stevedoring performance, as measured by the Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics (BTRE) in its Waterline publication, shows the five-port average for the June quarter of 2002 as 26.6 lifts per hour. Moreover, monitoring undertaken by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) suggests that stevedoring charges over the last three years have continued a longer term pattern of slow reduction. Stevedoring charges were reported to average $173 per container for the period from July 2000 to June 2001 compared with $254 ten years ago. The National Port Interface Cost Index produced by the BTRE indicates that both international export and import container charges have continued to decrease in real terms since April 1998.

The improvement in freight rates has been accompanied by greater reliability enabling shipping lines to adhere to fixed-day schedules and spend less time in ports. Waterline shows berth availability for the 2002 June quarter as 96 per cent.

Real coastal shipping freight rates for container and break-bulk traffic have never been lower, with the exception of Bass Strait cargoes, which are just slightly above a previous record low in 199596. The lowering of freight rates for coastal shipping reflects a substantial increase in the use of overseas shipping on the coastal trade under permits issued due to the unavailability of Australian licensed shipping.

Other maritime initiatives undertaken by the Department include developing port security arrangements on a national basis, post 11 September 2001 in accordance with International Maritime Organisation measures under the Safety of Life at Sea Convention.

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Positive public benefits seen by industry as a direct result of our international efforts

Key strategy: Support improved international freight logistics and trade liberalisation in the region, through APEC and other regional and bilateral forums.

Achieved

The Department supports trade liberalisation through active participation in management and policy decisions as well as through developing and managing AsiaPacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) projects (for example, the facilitation of international shipping project). Such projects promote the improved efficiency of transport in the region, thus facilitating trade. The Departments attendance at APEC Transportation Working Group meetings and the Third APEC Transport Ministers meeting allowed us to shape the regional transport liberalisation agenda. This works to the medium to long-term advantage of Australian importers and exporters, as it improves the efficiency of regional transport systems. Industry is consulted in the lead-up to such meetings, and kept informed of the outcomes.

Through its participation in the Australia-China Joint Working Group for Transport, the Department has supported transport and logistics companies interested in entering the Chinese market. It also allowed discussion on governance issues that will assist China to improve its transport logistics chain. Australian industry was consulted in the preparation of the first Joint Working Group meeting in Beijing, and a number of companies participated in the Australian delegation.

The Australian transport and logistics industry has supported the Departments involvement in APEC and the China meetings. Benefits to industry have resulted from making business contacts and identifying and working towards the removal of barriers to trade in particular countries.

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Users of transport services seeing improvements in the efficiency of Australian logistics and supply-chain industries

Key strategy: Lead the development of a National Transport Logistics Industry Strategy which brings people in industry together to find practical solutions to freight logistics inefficiencies.

Achieved

The development and promotion of the Freight Logistics Industry Action Agenda has achieved an increased awareness amongst users and providers of transport services of the importance of reducing inefficiencies in Australian logistics and supply chains.

The Action Agenda and the Government response are scheduled to be released as the Australian Logistics Industry Strategy in July 2002. The strategy contains 36 actions to be implemented by government and industry over a three to five year period. The newly formed Australian Logistics Council, an industry leadership group comprising users and providers of logistics services, as well as representatives from the Commonwealth Government and State and Territory Governments, has the responsibility of ensuring that the actions are implemented.

A series of national logistics projects has also been completed by the Integrated Logistics Network (ILN) and the Australian Freight Councils Network (AFCN). These projects have increased understanding of the importance of transport logistics chains to Australian businesses and provide practical solutions that improve the efficiency of freight movement.

Together, implementation of the Australian Logistics Industry Strategy and ongoing work by the ILN and AFCN will continue to provide practical solutions that address impediments and inefficiencies in freight logistics, improving the efficiency of the whole economy.

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Measures being implemented by governments and the transport industry which are effective in meeting greenhouse emissions, smog and noise objectives

Key Strategy: Support the development nationally of measures for addressing the greenhouse, health and amenity side effects of transport services.

Achieved

Activities undertaken by the Department during 200102 that contributed towards government and transport industry measures to address greenhouse emissions, smog and noise objectives were:

  • submissions to the Fuel Taxation Review that considered the cost-effectiveness of using the fuel taxation system to address environmental objectives
  • commencement of work on a Green Vehicles Guide, expected to be operational in 200203, to deliver information to consumers on the emissions and fuel consumption performance of motor vehicles
  • assisting the Australian Greenhouse Office in preparing a proposal to extend the Motor Vehicle Fuel Consumption Labelling Scheme to include all new light vehicles and to require labelling not only of fuel consumption but also of carbon dioxide emissions. This proposal, if successful, would come into effect in 200304.

In working with other Commonwealth agencies and with other levels of government, the Department is active in the development of whole of government policies and implementation of programmes that have strategic impacts upon the transport sector, including:

  • preparation for international climate change negotiations, working towards more refined projections of Australias medium-term emissions profile, and implementing domestic measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Programme
  • working with State and Territory agencies to progress the implementation of the National Greenhouse Strategy and to further approaches to sustainable transport through the National Transport Secretariats work for the Australian Transport Council in this area
  • working on the development of international policy for transport and urban development, including with the OECD, through Australias preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development and at the Ministerial Conference sponsored by the Government of Japan examining policy directions for improving the environmental and social performance of the transport sector.

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More informed cross-jurisdictional decisions on major infrastructure projects and policy issues

Key strategy: Work with the States and Territories through the Australian Transport Council and National Transport Secretariat to improve national transport planning processes and strategic freight corridors.

Achieved

The Department worked collaboratively with other State and Territory transport agencies to implement aspects of the Australian Transport Council (ATC) Standing Committee on Transport (SCOT) work programme that addressed national planning and freight corridor issues. Although the ATC did not meet during 200102, these issues were progressed under the auspices of SCOT. Through its participation in SCOT working groups, the Department was able to deliver the Governments key policy objectives.

The Department also participated in a number of projects initiated by the National Transport Secretariat to provide the basis of advice to the ATC in relation to more effective national transport planning processes and future development of key national freight corridors. Departmental officers played active roles on the steering committees that managed these projects.

Following the Ministers announcement of a revised approach to Commonwealth land transport infrastructure funding and the development of a national transport infrastructure development plan (AusLink) in May 2002, material was prepared for consideration by ATC at a meeting held in Auckland in August 2002. A discussion paper (Green Paper) will be released in the latter half of 2002 that will form the basis for consultation with the States and Territories and other stakeholders during 200203.

As a result of these processes, there is a general consensus with all levels of government for the need to establish a more cohesive approach between government and industry to secure better national transport development outcomes.

AusLink

On 21 May 2002, the Minister for Transport and Regional Services announced the Federal Governments proposal for a new approach to the provision of national land transport infrastructure AusLink.

AusLink aims to develop a longer term planning process that will deliver more strategic spending of Commonwealth transport funding and better opportunities for private sector involvement.

The Minister also announced the commencement of a comprehensive consultative process on AusLink, beginning with the issue of a discussion paper (a Green Paper). He indicated that the Green Paper would lead to the development of a formal statement of the Governments policy (a White Paper) in 2003. He also announced that the Governments intention was to develop a new Intergovernmental Agreement on Land Transport with the States and Territories and local government to implement AusLink.

AusLink is expected to be implemented from July 2004.

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Rail and road transport industries operating to national codes of practice, with regulations supporting continuous enhancement of efficiency

Key strategy: Lead the development nationally of more consistency in road transport and rail regulatory arrangements.

Achieved

The Road Transport Charges (Australian Capital Territory) Regulations 1995 were amended to allow for the initial application of the agreed annual adjustment formula for national heavy vehicle registration charges to apply from 1 October 2001.

Amendments were also made to the Road Transport Charges (Australian Capital Territory) Act 1993 to allow the annual adjustment formula to apply automatically from 1 July 2002.

The Commonwealth made these amendments as part of the agreed national road transport reform process managed by the National Road Transport Commission (NRTC). The States and Territories either reference or reflect the substance of the ACT legislation in their own laws, thus delivering uniform heavy vehicle registration charges across Australia. This is in line with developing a more efficient road transportation system across Australia.

The Department provided secretariat support and led a steering committee that oversaw a review of the National Road Transport Commission Act 1991 for ATC Ministers. The review recommended that the NRTC should be replaced by a National Transport Commission with a mandate for regulatory and operational reform for road, rail and intermodal transport and the establishment of a National Transport Advisory Council to provide strategic analysis and advice to ATC Ministers. ATC subsequently agreed these and most of the other review recommendations.

Under an intergovernmental agreement with the States and Territories, the Commonwealth established the Australian Rail Operations Unit (AROU) within the Department. The unit was tasked to facilitate industry development and implementation of a Code of Practice for the Defined Interstate Rail Network (the Code). Four volumes of the Code have now been published. The final volume of the Code Volume 5 is being progressed with industry.

There is a high level of commitment by track owners and operators to adopt and progressively implement the Code on the interstate network, which will add significantly to rail transport efficiency and safety. The Commonwealth assumed ownership of the Code as a means of assisting AROU activities. Recent reviews suggest that ownership should now be transferred to the rail industry. This is being explored.

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Governments and the rail industry operating a more efficient and commercial national rail network

Key strategy: Lead the development nationally of interstate rail network investment and access arrangements.

Substantially achieved

The rail industry is now operating a more efficient and commercial national rail network through the success of the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) in lifting the performance of the interstate track under its control and implementing fair and transparent access arrangements. This success is illustrated by the acceptance of the ARTC access undertaken by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in May 2002. The ARTC has been successful in attracting freight to the part of the interstate rail under its control, with traffic in May 2002 8.3 per cent higher than for the comparable period last year. Rail currently captures nearly 80 per cent of modal market share on the east-west corridor.

The Department has taken a leading role in the pursuit of interstate rail network investment and streamlined access arrangements for the remainder of the interstate track. With the support of the Government, the proposal to the New South Wales Government for the lease of New South Wales interstate track will, if accepted, represent significant progress towards achieving streamlined access arrangements across the interstate rail network. The Department has also taken a facilitating role in supporting Australian Transport and Energy Corridor Limited (ATEC) and its commercial partners to develop the Melbourne to Darwin Inland Railway proposal. This significant infrastructure development project is being driven by the private sector.

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National transport, development and safety goals evident in planning and implementing roads programmes

Key strategy: Deliver national transport, development and safety objectives through road funding programmes.

Achieved

The Department worked towards achieving transport systems that are safer, more efficient, sustainable and accessible for urban, local, regional and Territory communities in 200102 through the delivery of the roads funding programmes described below.

The Federal Government spent over $1.02 billion in 200102 on the National Highway and Roads of National Importance programmes. This included approximately $50 million for the Western Sydney Orbital, $7 million for duplication of the Bass Highway in Tasmania, $13 million for the upgrade of Portrush Road in Adelaide, $26 million on the Great Eastern Highway in Western Australia and $80 million on the Bruce Highway in Queensland amongst many other important projects across Australia.

The National Highway Programme also funded over $280 million on road maintenance and safety works on the National Highway. The National Highway continues to provide a high standard of travel for motorists and the road transport industry. More than 95 per cent of traffic on the National Highway experiences Smooth Travel Exposure (a measure of the roughness and therefore condition and, to an extent, safety of the road). The Commonwealth also provided almost $60 million to address minor safety issues and to make small-scale improvements to the National Highway.

National road safety objectives were further advanced in 200102 through continued delivery of the Black Spot Programme. The Black Spot Programme is directed at improving the physical condition or management of locations noted for a high incidence of crashes involving death and serious injury for example, by the installation of roundabouts, traffic signals, improved warning signs and edge sealing.

On 1 January 2002, the Black Spot Programme was repositioned to be administered along side the Departments other roads programmes to enhance opportunities for synergies in programme administration and to ensure that national transport development and safety goals are met through the delivery of this programme.

Evaluation of the programme completed by the then Bureau of Transport Economics in 2001 showed that it has been extraordinarily successful, preventing at least 32 fatalities and more than 1,500 serious crashes in its first three years and returning an average $14 in benefit for every $1 invested.

Before the programmes termination in June 2006, it will be evaluated again by the Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics, to determine its effectiveness in reducing crashes as well as the economic benefits and costs.

The Roads to Recovery Programme provided $300 million during 200102 to councils for road works. Over 7,300 projects have now been lodged for funding by 710 councils. About 46 per cent of funds are being used for reconstruction, rehabilitation and widening of existing roads and a further 30 per cent is being spent on regravelling, sealing and resealing work. Looked at another way, almost a third of the money will go to road asset management and about a quarter to road safety improvements.

Councils that receive funding under the Roads to Recovery Programme submit an audited report to the Department at the end of each financial year.

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Safe motor vehicles meeting uniform vehicles standards

Key strategy: Administer the Motor Vehicles Standards Act 1989 to ensure that uniform vehicle standards are applied to vehicles first entering the Australian market.

Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989Achieved

In May 2000, following the review of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989, the Government announced new arrangements to administer the importation of used vehicles, which included a registered automotive workshop regime and a Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicle Scheme (SEVS) to determine the eligibility of a vehicle model for importation.

The Department is responsible for implementing the new arrangements that will return the low-volume scheme to its original intent of catering for specialist and enthusiast vehicles. The changes will also achieve a greater level of compliance with applicable motor vehicle standards and reduce malpractices in the trade.

The changes to the legislation commenced on 1 April 2002. This means that a corporation that satisfies the criteria set out in the legislation may apply for approval as a Registered Automotive Workshop and be able to import, modify and plate used vehicles for first supply to the market in Australia. The legislation also sets out the eligibility criteria to be met under SEVS to allow for the importation of new and used vehicles imported in low volume.

Australian Design Rules Partially achieved

The Department and the National Road Transport Commission are jointly responsible for reviewing the national vehicle safety standards known as the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) for Motor Vehicles and Trailers. While this is a continuous function, currently a specific review of all the standards, considered as a whole, is under way. The aim of this review is to ensure that the standards continue to provide net benefits, remain relevant and, where possible, are harmonised with international regulations adopted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

The review should result in improved safety through alignment with international regulations and reduced costs to the community by removing the need to comply with unique Australian requirements. Further cost savings can also be realised by eliminating standards that cannot be justified. Progress on the review has been slow due to lack of resources, changing priorities and the unpredictable nature of the consultation process.

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The use of private sector funds advancing national transport, development and safety objectives by bring forward infrastructure projects

Key strategy: Increase private sector participation in the maintenance and development of transport infrastructure.

Achieved

The maintenance of private sector participation in transport infrastructure was achieved by the finalisation of a replacement Infrastructure Borrowings Tax Offset Scheme Agreement with Transurban Ltd. This land transport project, CityLink, provides users with a safer, more efficient transport system using state of the art electronic tolling.

This continued private sector investment has helped the Department to move towards achieving our portfolio outcome of a better transport system for Australia.

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An improvement in transport safety standards and data

Key strategy: Support safer aviation, shipping and land transport services.

Achieved

The Department plays several roles in supporting safer aviation, shipping and land transport services. One role is as an information collection and analysis agency. The second is as an advocate of safety standards in committees, forums and conferences in Australia and overseas. The Department has also dealt with the insurance issues impacting on the aviation industry in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States.

As previously discussed, within the Department the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is concerned with the collection and analysis of accident and incident data. The Bureau manages several significant databases covering each of the transport modes aviation, shipping, rail, and road. These databases are used to provide statistical information to the public and industry bodies with a view to improving safety standards in the transport industry.

The newest addition to this set of databases is a National Rail Occurrence Database, established during the 200102 financial year. The database provides national safety statistics on the Australian railway system for the calendar year 2001. The Bureau will continue to work with rail safety regulators to broaden the coverage of the database and to provide additional statistical information on Australian rail fatalities. The database and the rail fatality statistics are available on the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's (ATSB) website www.atsb.gov.au.

The Bureau also produces national road safety fatality statistics. These have been made available in various fixed-format publications to outside users. This information is used to inform safety debates in the road transport industry.

Key research and statistical issue publications released in 200102 include:

  • Driver Fatigue: A Survey of Long Distance Heavy Vehicle Drivers in Australia
  • Heavy Vehicle Seat Vibration and Driver Fatigue
  • Travelling Speed and Risk of Crash Involvement on Rural Roads
  • Further Development of a Protective Headband for Car Occupants
  • Re-analysis of Travelling Speed and the Risk of Crash Involvement in Adelaide, South Australia
  • Driveway Deaths: Fatalities of Young Children in Australia as a Result of Low-Speed Motor Vehicle Impacts.

The Departments Aviation and Airports Policy Division pursues improvements in aviation safety standards through participation in international standard setting and implementation of international standards in Australia.

The Department led the Australian delegation to the fourth meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization Facilitation Panel in Montreal and played a major role in the Panels work, which is concerned with enhancing the movement of passengers and freight through international airports.

The Department was also represented on the steering committee oversighting the development of the competency-based Aviation Training Package under the National Vocational Education Training Framework. It was also represented on the Aerospace Engineering Sub-committee advising on measures to attract people into the aerospace engineering industry sector. This resulted in the Aerospace Engineering Skills Action Plan, under the National Industry Skills Initiative.

We also chair Australias National Aviation Facilitation Committee (NatFAL) which brings airlines, airports and border agencies together to improve the movement of passengers and freight through international airports. Two meetings of NatFAL were held during 200102, and two meetings were also held of Australian-New Zealand Facilitation Committee (ANZFAL)a joint initiative of Australia and New Zealand dedicated to improving facilitation arrangements across the Tasman.

One of the outcomes of the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001 was the immediate withdrawal of third-party on the ground war risk insurance cover for the global aviation industry. In line with governments around the world, the Australian Government reacted quickly to ensure that the aviation industry could continue to operate until the global insurance industry was able to recover. The Department managed the provision of Commonwealth indemnities to Australian airlines, airports and aviation service providers who were unable to obtain sufficient third party war risk insurance.

On 10 May 2002, the Minister for Transport and Regional Services announced that the indemnity scheme would continue for the time being and that a charge would be made from July 2002.

Following consultation with industry, the Department released, in May 2002, the Australian Family Assistance Code, which will assist airlines operating to, from and within Australia to fulfil their responsibilities to passengers and families of passengers in the event of a major accident. The events of 11 September 2001 forced a re-allocation of resources within the Department, which meant that there was limited progress on dealing with responses to the January 2001 departmental discussion paper on the proposed ratification of the Montreal Convention 1999, and proposing enhanced liability protection for air passengers. It is planned that a policy paper will be released before the end of 2002.

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