Outlook for 2004-05 and beyond

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In making its contribution to the well being, productivity and development of the Australian community, the department is conscious of the major influences shaping our future and of the need for appropriate policies, programmes and regulations in relation to transport and regional services.

Major influences shaping transport and regional services

The one thing of which we can be certain is that dynamic economic, social and environmental change will continue apace. The work and planning of the department will continue to be shaped by critical factors including:

  • globalisation and the impacts and opportunities that it opens for our regions 1
  • continued rapid technological change 2 and the drive for greater productivity and competitiveness
  • demographic growth 3, population ageing 4 and internal migration 5, 6, and
  • associated changes in needs and expectations among and between communities.

We will also need to continue to maintain a strong focus on sustainable development, and to manage issues such as noise pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity and water.

Pioneering work to improve services to and outcomes for remote indigenous communities in the East Kimberley will continue over 2004-05—group photo
Pioneering work to improve services to and outcomes for remote indigenous communities in the East Kimberley will continue over 2004-05
(see case study page 160). (Photo DOTARS)

Filling Petrol tank
Above: The government has provided extra funds to enable us to promote the new Green Vehicle Guide http://www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au/ (Photo courtesy of Australian Greenhouse Office)

The Australian Government is continuing to address the social, economic and environmental changes that are happening now and are likely to happen. We do this by working closely with industry and communities to achieve better outcomes.

For example, Australia's ongoing changeover to cleaner fuels and cleaner engines is expected to cut major pollutants linked with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases by up to 76 percent in metropolitan areas within ten years, saving billions of dollars in health care costs.

Equally, the government's National Water Initiative will bring certainty, increased investment and improved productivity from our scarce water resources, addressing also the need for the improved health of our rivers and catchments.

Within the department, ongoing research will continue to increase and improve Australians' understanding of transport, regional and safety issues. Key contributors include:

  • the Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics (BTRE), and
  • the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

More strategic and flexible models of planning and funding will also enable us to meet the challenges and opportunities that the future may bring. These include:

Wetland habitatAbove: The Adams Creek project is harvesting stormwater for urban and industrial use, creating a wetland habitat and reducing northern Adelaide's reliance on the Murray. (Photo courtesy of Leanne Muffet, Playford-Salisbury Sustainable Region Advisory Committee)
freight operationsAbove: The amount of freight carried around Australia is forecast to double over the next twenty years, while urban road traffic including cars is forecast to grow by almost 40 per cent7. (Photo Communications Unit DOTARS)

References
1 Regional Business Development Analysis Panel, Regional Business—A Plan for Action, 2003, as available at www.rbda.gov.au/
2 Julian Cribb, science communicator and co-author of Sharing Knowledge: A Guide to Effective Science Communication, 2002. Mr Cribb's book is available from CSIRO, for more information visit http://www.csiro.au/
3 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Yearbook Australia 2004, Cat. no. 1301.0—2004. Parts of the yearbook are available online at http://www.abs.gov.au/
4 Australian Government, Intergenerational Report (Budget paper No. 5 2002-03), as available online at http://www.budget.gov.au/, see also demographics.treasury.gov.au
5 ABS Seachange—new coastal residents, 2004, ABS Cat. no. 2. Australian Social Trends, 2004 also available online at http://www.abs.gov.au/
6 Bernard Salt, Population Movement—Myths and Realities, presentation to DOTARS 11 June 2004. Similar issues are covered in Mr Salt's column in the Australian newspaper and on his website www.bernardsalt.com.au/
7 Department of Transport and Regional Services, AusLink White Paper, 2004, as available at www.dotars.gov.au/

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Our priorities for 2004-05

In 2004-05 the department will continue to advise on and lead national efforts to tackle transport and regional issues. We will focus on fourteen priorities endorsed by our ministers. These priorities, and the groups that are leading work on them, are set out in table 2.1 below.

The Australian Government has also endorsed quantity, quality and financial targets for the outputs and programmes we will deliver in 2004-05. We published these targets in our 2004-05 Portfolio Budget Statements and will review them at several points during the year.

Table 2.1—Our priorities for 2004-05

Priority Lead Group
1. Improve planning and investment in Australia's land transport infrastructure (AusLink) Programmes
2. Work to realise rail's potential as a major freight mover through reforms to planning, regulatory and workplace arrangements in cooperation with the states and industry Policy and Research
3. Work to minimise the risk of terrorist activities that could impact on transport through cooperation with relevant agencies, jurisdictions and industry Regulatory
4. Support the Australian Government's introduction of new airspace arrangements and governance framework for airspace policy, design and management Regulatory
5. Deliver the Australian Government's policy on achieving regional growth through providing an environment and tools that encourage regional communities to lead their own development Regulatory
6. Assist the minister with the implementation of the National Water Initiative Programmes
7. Advise the Australian Government on its relationship with local government Policy and Research
8. Support sustainable growth and opportunities in each of the territories Programmes
9. Review and improve governance of portfolio bodies Programmes
10. Implement the Australian Government's new Cost Recovery Guidelines for Commonwealth Information and Regulatory Agencies across the portfolio Policy and Research
11. Prepare for the incoming government and any machinery of government changes Corporate
12. Deliver effective performance, learning and development and good conditions for staff Corporate
13. Improve communication on the department's governance and corporate performance Corporate
14. Improve our resourcing and its management Corporate

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