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Key strategies

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Lead the development nationally of interstate rail network investment and access arrangements
Sustain competition in domestic and international aviation services by negotiating more liberal air services arrangements, where this is in the national interest
Support improved international freight logistics and trade liberalisation in the region, through APEC and other bilateral forums
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
Lead the development of a National Transport Logistics Strategy which brings people in the industry together to find practical solutions to freight logistics inefficiencies
Increase private sector participation in the maintenance and development of transport infrastructure
Support competitive shipping services, and more efficient port and waterfront operations

Lead the development nationally of interstate rail network investment and access arrangements

Key strategy Performance indicators Achievement
Lead the development nationally of interstate rail network investment and access arrangements.
(Contributing division: Transport and Infrastructure Policy)
Governments and the rail industry operating a more efficient and commercial national rail network. Achieved

Key achievements

Australian Rail Track Corporation

The department continued to represent the Commonwealth in negotiations with the NSW Government on the proposal for the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to lease the NSW mainline interstate rail track. This included joint funding with NSW of a study to examine the safety capability of ARTC. Effective control by ARTC of the NSW mainline interstate rail track would greatly enhance the effective operation of the national rail network.

The department, in conjunction with the Department of Finance and Administration, has been responsible for the oversight of the ARTC in line with the Governance Arrangements for Commonwealth Government Business Enterprises. The department provided advice on matters such as board membership, corporate business plans and other statutory obligations, including Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (CAC) Act 1997 obligations.

Since establishment of the ARTC in 1989 the rail industry has become more efficient and commercial. This has been aided by privatisation of certain rail operations. On the mainline interstate rail network from Western Australia through South Australia and Victoria the ARTC has lifted the performance of the network and implemented fairer and more transparent access arrangements.

SCOT Rail Group

The department is a member of the Standing Committee on Transport (SCOT) Rail Group. Two of the current SCOT Rail Group projects are:

  • Developing a strategic approach to managing railway level crossing issues, following a request by the Australian Transport Council (ATC) at its August 2002 meeting. A strategy and action plan was endorsed by the ATC in May 2003 and SCOT Rail Group is considering ways to implement them.
  • Developing the necessary collection, analysis and presentation regimes of statistics to measure performance of rail against the ATC targets. This follows the August 2002 ATC meeting at which transport ministers endorsed the introduction of performance targets and indicators for the Interstate Rail Network.

Funded studies

The department has a facilitating role in supporting the Australian Transport and Energy Corridor Limited (ATEC) and its commercial partners develop the Melbourne to Darwin Inland Railway proposal. This significant infrastructure development project is being driven by the private sector. As part of this, the department is funding a study into the next stage of the Inland Railway from Cloncurry to Tennant Creek.

The department is also funding a study with the Victorian Department of Infrastructure into the feasibility of double stacking into Dynon yards in Melbourne. Double stacking has the potential to offer better infrastructure utilisation and productivity gains for rail operations such as containers, trailer on flat car (piggy back), and triple deck car transport, enhancing rail competitiveness.

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

Key strategy Performance indicators Achievement
Sustain competition in domestic and international aviation services by negotiating more liberal air services arrangements, where this is in the national interest.
(Contributing division: Aviation and Airports Policy)
Opportunities for airlines to provide services with reduced travel costs or improved growth, including in regions. Partially achieved

Key achievements

Domestic aviation

Volatility in the domestic aviation sector related in part to the demise of Ansett continued into 2002-03. Two of Ansett's subsidiary airlines, Kendell and Hazelton, were finally sold to Australiawide Airlines which established Regional Express as a major regional carrier with operations in South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. Skywest, another former Ansett subsidiary, continued to improve its position as a major domestic carrier in Western Australia.

On the major trunk routes Virgin Blue Airlines has significantly increased its market share to the point where on the major trunk routes there are signs it has up to 30 per cent of the domestic market, signalling its presence as a strong competitor for Qantas.

The department has been closely involved in facilitating the improved performance of the aviation sector through removing barriers to competition and minimising government charges and intervention. Highlights included the announcement by the Minister for Transport and Regional Services of the cessation of the Ansett Ticket Levy from 30 June 2003.

Bilateral negotiations

The department continued to pursue Australia's air services objectives through bilateral negotiations.

Australia undertook bilateral negotiations to liberalise its air services arrangements with Poland, Malaysia, Switzerland, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Tonga, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (twice). There were also a number of informal meetings with our bilateral partners including China and Singapore. Australia also ratified its Open Skies agreement with New Zealand.

International forums

Australia has been pursuing liberalisation of air services in the following international forums.

  • World Trade Organization: working to extend the coverage of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in the air transport sector through building support to extend the coverage of the aviation sector under the agreement.
  • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO): Australia presented a paper at the major ICAO World Wide Air Transport Conference in March 2003 developing options for coordinated action amongst ICAO member states to remove or reduce foreign ownership restrictions on international airlines. The paper built on a working group led by Australia. Australia also presented a paper on pursuing liberalisation in the aviation sector through the GATS at the seminar preceding the conference.
  • Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC): Australia was convenor of APEC's Air Services Group (ASG), through which it continued to press for liberalisation of air services in the region.

International Air Services Commission

In relation to the International Air Services Commission, all determinations and decisions were made in accordance with the International Air Services Commission Act 1992 and the minister's policy statement. The Commission produces its own annual report which is available from its website http://www.iasc.gov.au/

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Support improved international freight logistics and trade liberalisation in the region, through APEC and other bilateral forums

Key strategy Performance indicators Achievement
Support improved international freight logistics and trade liberalisation in the region, through APEC and other bilateral forums.
(Contributing division: Transport and Infrastructure Policy)
Positive public benefits seen by industry as a direct result of our international efforts. Achieved

Key achievements

The department has participated in a number of international forums throughout the year to improve freight logistics internationally and trade liberalisation in the region.

APEC

The department hosted the 21st meeting of the APEC Transportation Working Group in Brisbane, 23-27 September 2002. The meeting, attended by transport officials from 19 APEC economies and representatives of Australian industry, allowed for discussion among senior government officials which progressed APEC's regional trade liberalisation and facilitation agenda.

Hosting the meeting also allowed Australia to showcase a range of local transport technologies and provided profile raising and potential export opportunities for Australian companies.

The department managed nine APEC-funded transport projects covering the interests of Australia, and the APEC region in liberalising and facilitating trade flows and building the human capacity. Work included:

  • introducing electronic port manifests
  • demonstrating the advantages of paperless trading
  • developing a register of bilateral training initiatives
  • investigating track and trace technologies appropriate for improving the logistics and security of supply chains
  • identifying non-tariff measures in the transport sector
  • improving the supply chain for perishable goods
  • improving intra-port electronic documentation flows
  • improving the welfare of international seafarers.

Beneficiaries of the department's APEC work include Australian shippers, importers and exporters, and the Australian transport and logistics industry.

China-Australia Joint Working Group on Transport

The department managed the China-Australia Joint Working Group on Transport (JWG-T). This group oversees a transport policy-based engagement with five Chinese transport-related agencies to advance Australian business opportunities in China.

Particular interests include exporting expertise in Olympics management, logistics and safety expertise, and air traffic control technology. Transport-related trade delegations from both the Chinese rail and the aviation sectors visited Australia in 2002-03 as a direct result of discussions held through the JWG-T.

Funded projects

The department has also conducted APEC and AusAID funded projects in Indonesia, Thailand and China to advance Australia's long-term trade interests in improving the performance of international supply chains through the improved use of technology, e-commerce, and logistics chain management practices.

In Indonesia, work focused on raising the level of competence in the handling and movement of perishable goods. The project in China focused on developing an electronic manifest for use in Chinese ports.

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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

Key strategy Performance indicators Achievement
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.
(Contributing division: Transport and Infrastructure Policy)
More informed crossjurisdictional decisions on major infrastructure projects and policy issues. Achieved

Key achievements

AusLink

The department actively engaged a wide range of stakeholders including the states and territories in the development of the government's new approach to land transport and infrastructure planning and funding, AusLink.

While the AusLink White Paper will be released in late 2003, its development has been assisted through special Australian Transport Council and Standing Committee on Transport meetings held during 2002-03.

More information on AusLink is provided under the Priority: Transport infrastructure (p. 52) and is available at www.dotars.gov.au/ or www.dotars.gov.au//transport/auslink/index.aspx

ATC, SCOT and NTS

The department worked collaboratively with state and territory transport agencies to implement aspects of the Australian Transport Council (ATC) and Standing Committee on Transport (SCOT) work programme that addressed national planning and freight corridor issues.

Through ATC and SCOT, the department was also active in leading national initiatives to achieve improved social outcomes and boost national economic performance.

There were two regular and one special ATC meetings in 2002-03 and two regular and six special SCOT meetings. The special ATC and SCOT meetings were required to provide jurisdictions with the opportunity to provide comment and address issues relating to the Commonwealth's AusLink initiative.

Following the review of the National Road Transport Commission Act 1991, the ATC agreed in August 2002 to the establishment of the National Transport Commission (NTC) to continue to drive national land transport regulatory reform. The ATC also endorsed transitional arrangements that included establishing rail and intermodal regulatory reform capacity in the National Road Transport Commission prior to the commencement of the NTC.

In response to the review of the National Road Transport Commission Act 1991, the ATC also agreed to the cessation of the National Transport Secretariat (NTS) and the formation of the National Transport Advisory Council (NTAC). The NTAC will provide strategic analysis and advice to ministers on the long-term development of the national transport system. NTS ceased operations on the 8 May 2003.

The ATC and SCOT also endorsed the formation of the Australian Logistics Council by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Transport and Regional Services, the Hon John Anderson MP, as the industry leadership group responsible for driving implementation of the Australian Logistics Industry Strategy. To foster the necessary government-industry relationship required to implement the strategy, SCOT is represented on the Australian Logistics Council.

A key element of the strategy is greater transparency in government infrastructure planning and decision-making and a greater role for industry in that process. This is consistent with the Commonwealth's AusLink objectives (please see Priority: Transport infrastructure p. 52).

Through the ATC, SCOT and the NTS, the department was able to deliver progress on a number of the government's key policy objectives particularly those relating to improved infrastructure expenditure outcomes via new national transport and strategic freight corridor planning processes, regulatory reform and boosting Australia's logistics capability.

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

Key strategy Performance indicators Achievement
Lead the development of a National Transport Logistics Strategy which brings people in the industry together to find practical solutions to freight logistics inefficiencies.
(Contributing division: Transport and Infrastructure Policy)
Users of transport services seeing improvements in the efficiency of Australian logistics and supply chain industries. Partially achieved

Key achievements

Australian Logistics Council

The Australian Logistics Industry Strategy is a three to five-year strategy to improve the operation of Australia's freight logistics industry, the implementation of which is guided by the Australian Logistics Council (ALC).

The ALC has provided an effective forum for interaction between industry members and with governments. The council has made significant progress in implementing the strategy's 36 actions grouped around the five key priority areas: leadership, infrastructure, people, innovation through technology and knowledge, and sustainability. Security was added as a new priority area in the course of the year in light of international developments.

The council, in this its first year of implementing the strategy, has provided clear guidance on infrastructure issues including the AusLink Green Paper and rail regulation, and examined the impact of third party access and land transport pricing regimes on logistics.

The ALC agreed to resolutions encouraging the industry to adopt open global information standards (EAN.UCC) and environmental standards (ISO 14001). It adopted an education and training vision statement identifying the key issues facing improved education and training in the sector and is contributing to the implementation of the National Occupational Health and Safety Strategy 2002-12.

The council has provided input into security related issues including the transport of dangerous goods, container security and the draft National Transport Security Strategy. Through its cooperation with industry associations, the freight councils and the Integrated Logistics Network, the ALC has been steadily working at implementing the strategy and at improving the profile of and information about the sector.

The Australian Freight Councils Network

The Australian Freight Councils Network (AFCN), comprising sea and air freight councils of the states and the Northern Territory, undertake a range of activities including, information and training workshops, data collection and research into freight handling patterns and opportunities, and provision of advice to exporters.

The AFCN received funding from the Australian Land Transport Development Act 1988 (ALTD Act) for the period 2002-03 to 2004-05, for research projects directed at improving the land side of the air/sea interface. The Commonwealth funding is matched by state and territory governments.

Some of the AFCN chairs are members of the ALC, providing a link between both groups. AFCN research activities have been aligned with the five priority areas of the Australian Logistics Industry Strategy, to further enhance its implementation.

The Victorian Sea Freight Council published the results of two projects: a freight corridor study and a container movement study. The results from most of the funded research will become available in 2003-04.

Integrated Logistics Network

The department has continued its involvement in the Integrated Logistics Network (ILN), which consists of senior Commonwealth, state and territory transport and non-transport government officials involved in the development of freight logistics policy.

The ILN, which reports to the Standing Committee on Transport (SCOT), continued its work on two strategic projects:

  • pilot studies testing a proposed Australian Quality Logistics accreditation system designed to reduce shrinkage of perishable products during transport, including exports
  • the pallet study to review Australian pallet sizes and its relationship to the wider international logistics market using the ISO pallet aimed at improving efficiency in the logistics sector.

The projects are funded jointly by the Commonwealth, the states and the Northern Territory. The SCOT coordinator for the ILN is a member of the ALC.

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Increase private sector participation in the maintenance and development of transport infrastructure

Key strategy Performance indicators Achievement
Increase private sector participation in the maintenance and development of transport infrastructure.
(Contributing division: Transport and Infrastructure Policy)
The use of private sector funds advancing national transport, development and safety objectives by bringing forward infrastructure projects. Partially achieved

Key achievements

Green Paper on land transport infrastructure

One objective of AusLink is to broaden opportunities for the private sector to participate in the planning of, and investment in, land transport infrastructure. The government's Green Paper on land transport infrastructure policy, released in November 2002, canvassed views on the potential for increasing the role and extent of private sector involvement in nationally significant transport infrastructure.

Submissions from key private sector stakeholders confirmed the government's view that private interests could play a larger role in the future. The government's policies will be articulated in the government's White Paper on land transport infrastructure policy to be released later in 2003. The White Paper will form the basis for the government's future policy and programme decisions on land transport infrastructure policy.

Infrastructure Borrowings Tax Offset Scheme

The Infrastructure Borrowings Tax Offset Scheme provides an incentive for private sector participation in public infrastructure. The department and the Australian Taxation Office jointly administer the scheme. Agreements under the scheme provide taxation offsets for income earned on loans to eligible projects. During the year, no new selection rounds were called and the department continued to maintain agreements under the scheme.

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Support competitive shipping services, and more efficient port and waterfront operations

Key Strategy Performance indicators Achievement
Support competitive shipping services, and more efficient port and waterfront operations.
(Contributing division: Transport and Infrastructure Policy and Transport Regulation)
Australian shippers seeing improvements across the combined areas of reliability, timeliness and cost of transport. Achieved

Key achievements

The department examined a range of issues associated with the shipping industry and provided the minister with policy advice as appropriate.

Enhanced efficiency

Australian shippers continued to benefit from improvements across reliability, timeliness and cost of transport. For example, a record average 26 container movements per hour was achieved by the five major ports, which also exceeded the government's benchmark of 25 container movements.

Also during the year the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found that average prices for container movements across wharves by stevedoring services have decreased to their lowest level since monitoring began.

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