Chapter 4 : Transport outputs and programs
Output 1.1: Transport policy advice
Output 1.2: Transport regulation and standards
Output 1.3: Transport safety investigations
Output 1.4: Transport programmes
Output 1.5: Transport research and data
Australia's major roads and rail lines, which connect us to the global economy via our sea and air ports, are vital enablers of wealth creation. This is especially true for regional Australia, which generates two thirds of our export income.
With increasing globalisation and reliance on international trade, our nation's prosperity depends now more than ever on Australia having a transport system which is secure and safe, nationally and internationally competitive, accessible and sustainable.
We lead portfolio agencies in helping the Australian Government achieve 'a better transport system for Australia'. Other agencies and governments also contribute to this outcome:
Private and not-for-profit bodies also contribute to this outcome.
We are funded to deliver a range of transport-related outputs and programmes. This chapter reports on the outputs and programmes we were funded to deliver in 2003-04, as set out in table 4.1 overleaf. It:
As part of delivering our outputs and programmes, we also work towards specific priorities. In 2003-04, thirteen of our top 20 priorities related to transport. Our performance against these priorities is reported in Chapter 1. Our priorities for 2004-05 are set out in Chapter 2.
a The budget is the revised budget published in our 2004-05 Portfolio Budget Statements rather than that published in our 2003-04 Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements. This change reflects the government decision to bring forward a third set of appropriation bills in 2003-04 in support of several new initiatives.
Output 1.1: Transport policy advice
(Policy and Research Group, Regulatory Group, Safety and Investigation Group)
Report on performance
We provide advice and other services to our ministers in anticipation of being needed, or as required by them. In 2003-04, we continued to achieve more than 95 per cent satisfaction with the briefs and correspondence we prepared. In doing so, we supported our ministers to:
We nominated experts to help draft and review international standards and practices for all modes of transport (sea, air, road and rail). We also administered payments to three key international bodies in line with Australia's membership of these bodies.
We generally aim to deliver our outputs at an agreed price. For this output, our final result for 2003-04 was $12.8 million. This result was significantly lower than planned and than in previous years (see table 4.2). It reflects self-imposed expenditure restraint under the Work out/Work up plan as discussed in Chapter 1.
Safety and security of transport infrastructure and operations
Security and safety issues dominated much of our work in 2003-04. We led work to develop a new maritime security regime and to expand Australia's aviation security regime, as highlighted in Chapter 1 (see also case study). In addition, we:
Competitiveness of international and domestic transport within and between all modes
We also made good progress towards our vision of a competitive transport system for Australia. The government finalised negotiations and signed the lease for key rail infrastructure in NSW, as highlighted in Chapter 1 (see also case study). In addition, we:
In 2003-04 we continued to provide advice and comment as required by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act 1998, to assist the government to meet its broader environmental obligations. We also:
For more information on the disability standards for public transport, see Appendix D or visit www.ag.gov.au/DSFAPT
Australia has been an active member of ICAO since it was set up in 1947. Australia's annual contribution to the ICAO is assessed in US dollars around December each year. In 2003-04, we continued to pay Australia's contribution promptly. It cost less than expected and than in previous years, largely due to a favourable exchange rate at the time of payment (see table 4.2).
Australia has been elected to the ICAO Council as a Category One State of Chief Importance in Civil Aviation every year except 1971. Australia continued to be recognised as such in 2003-04 and had a permanent presence at ICAO headquarters at Montreal 1. The department currently represents Australia on the ICAO Council and on ICAO committees on air transport and unlawful interference.
The 30/30 working group of ICAO recently released a case study on implementing a 30 nautical mile separation standard to allow more aircraft to cruise at the most fuel-efficient cruising height. This new standard will be applied to trans-Tasman flights from 2004-05.
1 All Category One member states are required to maintain a permanent presence in Montreal. Australia's representatives are provided by DOTARS and other portfolio aviation bodies. Departmental staff seconded to the ICAO are not included in the workforce statistics at Appendix H as they are paid through the ICAO during their secondment.
Australia has been an active member of the IMO since it was set up in 1959. Our contribution to the IMO is assessed in British pounds. In 2003-04, Australia's contribution cost less than expected and than in previous years due to a favourable exchange rate at time of payment (see table 4.2).
One of the smallest of all UN agencies, the IMO has successfully led international efforts to cut ship casualty rates and the amount of oil entering the sea from ships. In recent years, the IMO has focused on working with member states to enhance maritime security and to implement the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code. The code, which came into force on 1 July 2004, requires all international ships and port facilities to have an approved security plan.
Compliance with the code is important to minimise technical barriers to trade, and we worked closely with state governments and industry to implement new maritime security arrangements over 2003-04 (see case study).
Australia is a member of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and we support its transport research programme. Australia's contribution to the OECD is assessed in US dollars. In 2003-04, it cost less than expected and than in previous years due to a favourable exchange rate at time of payment (see table 4.2).
Output 1.2: Transport regulation and standards
(Regulatory Group, Policy and Research Group)
Report on performance
We monitor, advise on and administer regulations relating to all modes of transport. Our role extends to advising on issues that go to the role of other transport regulators including CASA, Airservices Australia and AMSA. In this capacity, and as reported in Chapter 1, we:
We directly regulate aspects of transport across all modes of transport, and review the legislation that we administer on a regular basis. In 2003-04, we:
More information about our performance in 2003-04 by sector follows below.
Price of output
We aim to deliver our outputs at an agreed price but a number of government decisions saw us take on substantial new functions and resourcing during 2003-04. Additional resources were mainly associated with decisions to:
Our final result, $45.0 million, was less than our revised budget for 2003-04 but was above our 2002-03 result (see table 4.3).
The price of this output is forecast to increase further in 2004-05. As announced in the 2004-05 Budget, the government will provide the department with substantial additional resources to:
The aviation industry provides crucial transport services linking Australia with other countries and domestically providing affordable and convenient links between communities. The industry has rebounded strongly in the three years since the events of 9/11 and the collapse of the Ansett group of companies. The department's role is to:
Aircraft noise. Regardless of its size, purpose or ownership, all aircraft in Australia are required to comply with aircraft noise regulations under the Air Navigation Act 1920. In 2003-04, we issued fewer aircraft noise permits than in previous years due to a decline in the number of applications (see table 4.4). We also started a review of the Air Navigation (Aircraft Noise) Regulations 1984 as planned.
Curfews apply at four airports to minimise the impact of airport operations on nearby communities. In 2003-04 we continued to manage the curfew system, and issued occasional curfew exemptions, in line with the legislation. We also brought forward changes to the Sydney Airport Curfew Regulations 1995, to deal with changed circumstances in the air freight industry. This regulatory activity, combined with noise amelioration work, has contributed to a substantial reduction in noise complaints, particularly around Sydney airport.
Leased airports. Between 1997 and 2003 a total of 22 airports owned and operated by the Australian Government were privatised. The sales, which involved leasehold rather than freehold title, were conducted in five stages and raised $8.5 billion. We are responsible for administering Commonwealth interests in the ongoing operation and management of privatised airports under the Airports Act 1996.
Under the Act, airport lessees must produce a master plan with a 20-year planning horizon and revisit the master plan every five years. Master plans are focused mainly on development of the airport site itself, but must also have regard to surrounding land or the associated needs of non-airport users. Lessees must also invest in infrastructure at airport sites and submit major development plans to the minister for approval. In 2003-04, we reviewed and the minister subsequently approved:
We confirmed that six airport lessees had met their Period One Development Commitment obligations worth more than $186 million. In addition, we:
Also in 2003-04, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) released a report on our administration of lessee obligations entered into as part of the sale of the first 17 airports. The report, which followed up on audits of early sales, found that the department took some time to develop procedures to administer key aspects of contracts, but that our approach has been influenced by profound changes in the aviation environment and has improved since 2002. While we question some of the ANAO's analysis, we have agreed with six recommendations and agreed with qualification to the remaining three recommendations.
Other. In 2003-04, we administered a range of properties at Badgerys Creek. We also conducted safety checks at 58 remote landing strips belonging to indigenous communities to assess compliance with CASA regulations.
a These statistics refer to scheduled inspections of relevant airlines and airports, and do not include unscheduled inspections, incident investigations or other workload such as industry workshops. The level of inspections scheduled varies over time and takes into account factors such as levels of airline activity and global events such as occurred on September 11, 2001.
Australia depends almost exclusively on shipping to move its exports and imports and has the fifth largest shipping task in the world, in terms of tonnes of cargo shipped and kilometres travelled. The department's role is to:
Regulation of trade. All vessels trading interstate must be licensed or have a coastal permit to carry cargo or passengers under the Navigation Act 1912. The volume of applications for licences and permits fluctuates from year to year with demand for coastal shipping services. As detailed in table 4.5, in 2003-04:
Efficient operation of shipping. Part X of the Trade Practices Act 1974 gives ocean liner carriers immunity from key parts of Australia's trade practices laws: it allows them to form conference agreements to provide regular scheduled cargo shipping services to importers and exporters. These agreements operate on nearly all Australian trade routes and cover varying amounts of trade on each route.
A wide range of agreements are registered with the department under the Act, each of which is specific to an individual trade route. In 2003-04, ongoing changes in the ocean liner industry saw us register fewer new shipping agreements but more variations to existing agreements. We continued to register 100 per cent of agreements and variations within 14 days of receipt.
The Productivity Commission also began a review of the operation of Part X of the Act, and is expected to present its final report to government in 2005.
Protection of the sea. Being an island continent, Australia is economically dependent on its sea lanes and port operations - resulting in a continual risk of pollution to the marine environment. In 2003-04 we:
2 Licences are issued on condition that the crew are paid Australian wages while trading on the Australian coast and have access to the vessel's library.
The Australian Government has jurisdiction over motor vehicles up to the point of first supply to the market. Once a vehicle has been supplied to the market, it falls within the purview of individual state and territory governments. In this context, our role is limited to:
Standards for motor vehicles. Before any road vehicle can be supplied to the market in Australia, it must comply with the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989. The Act, which applies to imported as well as locally manufactured vehicles, requires all vehicles to meet national safety and environment standards. These standards are the Australian Design Rules (ADRs).
We are progressively reviewing the ADRs to harmonise them, where possible, with international standards developed under the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe framework. In 2003-04 we continued our review of the ADRs. We repealed seven regulations and made good progress on:
In 2003-04 we also worked with the Australian Greenhouse Office to develop the Green Vehicle Guide. The guide, which was launched in August 2004, is a world-leading internet tool to help consumers rate and compare vehicles according to their impact on the environment. We will receive an extra $3.2 million over four years from 2004-05 to:
Compliance of motor vehicles. Manufacturers and importers must demonstrate that their vehicle types meet the ADRs before the vehicle types can be supplied to the market in Australia. The vehicle certification process involves the department assessing test data electronically and verifying it through quality assurance audits of manufacturers and inspections of test facilities.
In 2003-04 we scaled back our audit programme in response to greater than expected demand for approvals and inspections, particularly under the Registered Automotive Workshop Scheme (RAWS). Inspection and audit activities are expected to return to more normal levels in 2004-05 as a result of the government decision to provide an extra $3.1 million for this function. This amount includes funding for research, as well as $1.1 million capital for information technology to support compliance activities.
RAWS. Special compliance arrangements apply for manufacturers and importers who supply limited numbers of used vehicles to the specialist and enthusiast market. RAWS, which replaces the former low volume scheme for used vehicles, began on 1 April 2002 and became mandatory on 8 May 2003 for imported used vehicles.
Workshops are inspected when the first approval is obtained and again for each vehicle model that the workshop is approved to process. In 2003-04, it became difficult to keep pace with demand for inspections. However, we were able to reduce turnaround times from 18 weeks in February 2004 to around five weeks at the end of June 2004 by recruiting extra staff.
Motor vehicle imports. In 2003-04 the number of import approvals processed rose by eight per cent. At one point, we had difficulty maintaining our service charter target of 17 working days and this resulted in a number of complaints. We were able to reduce turnaround times to within target levels by the end of June 2004 by recruiting extra staff.
Safety defects and recalls. Occasionally vehicles sold in Australia are found to contain a safety defect. Under the Trade Practices Act 1974, suppliers must recall goods which will or may cause injury. We investigate reports of vehicle safety defects and monitor the effectiveness of each vehicle safety recall. The number of reports and recalls fluctuates from year to year. For complete and up-to-date information on safety recalls, visit dynamic.infrastructure.gov.au/recalls/index.asp
We administer compensation payable to airport lessees following the sale of airport land. In 2003-04 the only airport where compensation was identified was Hobart Airport. Funding has been held over to 2004-05 to be paid once Hobart International Airport Ltd and the Tasmanian Government have finalised their agreement on the land transfer in question.
We make payments to airport lessee companies based on a formula set by the Minister for Finance and Administration, namely 80 per cent of the revenue collected from parking fines after our administrative costs.
We revise programme budgets several times each year in light of the total funds that may be required. Our final result for 2003-04, $1.5 million, reflects lower that usual levels of parking infringements and fines.
The Commonwealth owns and leases out a number of commercial and residential properties at Badgerys Creek. The properties are on and around the proposed site for a second international airport for Sydney and are managed by Zeckendorf Asset Management to ensure they remain in a reasonable condition.
We revise programme budgets several times each year in light of the total funds that may be required. Our final result for 2003-04, $2.2 million, was higher than expected and than in previous years. This result reflects the costs of repairing extensive storm and bushfire damage and of meeting more stringent local council requirements for septic tanks.
We will continue to monitor the costs of this programme closely in 2004-05. There is limited scope, however, to scale back maintenance and repair work given our duty of care to tenants and our responsibility to government to keep the assets we administer in good condition.
Under Australia's Constitution, the states and territories are largely responsible for regulating road transport. Each state and territory has traditionally made its own laws in such areas as road rules, vehicle standards and driver licensing. Over time differences between these laws became more and more of an impediment to the efficient movement of freight and law reform between jurisdictions, especially for heavy vehicle freight transport, became problematic.
The NRTC was established in 1991 to develop uniform arrangements for vehicle regulation and operation, and consistent charging principles for vehicle registration. As reported in Chapter 1, the NRTC was replaced by the NTC as planned in early 2004.
The NTC has a broader charter to continue reform of road transport regulation and operations and to undertake reform of rail and intermodal regulation and operations. It reports to the Australian, state and territory transport ministers through the Australian Transport Council.
While the NTC only came into existence on 15 January 2004, in practice its predecessor the NRTC took on a broader role in rail from 1 July 2003. This explains why, in 2003-04, the contribution of the Australian Government to the NTC rose to $2.4 million, compared to $1.2 million in 2002-03. The Commission's total budget was around $7 million and was used to develop a range of transport reforms. In 2003-04, the NTC also:
In 2004-05 the NTC is expected to focus on identifying improvements to the existing rail safety co-regulatory framework and developing model legislation and other supporting processes and documentation for adoption on a national basis.
For more information about the activities of the NTC, see http://www.ntc.gov.au/
The Federal Interstate Registration Scheme was set up in 1987 as an alternative to state based registration for heavy vehicles weighing 4.5 tonnes or more. The scheme was designed to provide uniform charges and operating conditions for heavy vehicles engaged solely in interstate operations.
Vehicles registered under the scheme may not be used for intrastate work, and must deliver goods to an interstate address in a continuous journey with the origin/destination documented in a consignment note. Special purpose vehicles such as mobile cranes cannot be registered under the scheme. State/territory permits may be required for vehicles carrying large loads or operating in combinations (such as in a road train).
To register, operators apply to the registration authority in their jurisdiction of residence and pay the same charges as for a state-registered vehicle. Federally registered vehicles must also comply with relevant ADRs and any other relevant standards, and must have compulsory third party insurance for the period of registration.
Revenue collected by state and territory authorities is passed on to the Australian Government and then redistributed based on an agreed formula designed to meet the costs of damage to roads caused by heavy vehicles.
Heavy vehicle registration charges were increased as of 1 July 2003. The resultant increase in revenue has been passed on to state and territory governments in full, and explains why the cost of this programme rose to $41.5 million in 2003-04.
Output 1.3: Transport safety investigations
(Safety and Investigation Group)
Report on performance
The ATSB contributes to transport safety, and to public confidence in public safety, by independently investigating and openly reporting on aviation, maritime and rail transport safety matters.
All our investigations are 'no blame' - our emphasis is on learning to improve future safety. We also prefer to report positive safety action, but we do make formal recommendations to safety regulators, manufacturers and other stakeholders where necessary.
The Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003, which came into effect on 1 July 2003, has consolidated and modernised our powers in aviation and marine safety and has expanded the ATSB's powers to enable us to undertake rail investigations on the Defined Interstate Rail Network. The Act has also confirmed that the ATSB has primacy in investigation unless there is a clear case of 'unlawful interference' such as terrorism. It further protects sensitive information from use in criminal or civil proceedings other than coronial inquiries.
In support of the Act, we have signed MOUs with five rail safety regulators, Comcare, and Airservices Australia. These MOUs will facilitate cooperation including where both parties are conducting parallel investigations. Stakeholders with whom we are finalising MOUs include police authorities, safety regulators (CASA, AMSA) and the Australian Defence Force (Defence Flight Safety).
All accidents and incidents relating to flight safety in Australia or by Australian operators must be reported to us. We record accident and investigation data for possible future safety analysis and selectively investigate serious occurrences including fatal accidents that we believe will yield the most useful safety benefits especially for fare-paying passengers.
In 2003-04, we released 63 investigation and technical reports including important reports on fatal accidents at Hamilton Island, Bankstown, Moorabbin and Toowoomba and on a Saab 340 serious icing incident near Bathurst.
We completed fewer investigations than in previous years and the median completion time for investigations increased. This trend reflects factors including the three years it took to finalise the Toowoomba air crash investigation and preparations for a major audit by ICAO.
Resourcing was also an issue, and the government has recognised this by providing extra funding over the four years from 2004-05, for more investigations into aviation accidents and incidents ($8.2 million) and to replace our aviation investigation database ($6.1 million).
Aviation safety messages continued to be well accepted by stakeholders including CASA and Airservices Australia. Changes have been made in response to our recommendations on:
Australia's aviation safety in the decade to December 2003 has improved markedly. The fatality rate for the general aviation sector has fallen from 3.0 per 100 000 hours flown to 2.1 per 100 000 hours flown. Over the same period the accident rate has dropped from 12.2 per 100 000 to 7.9 per 100 000 hours flown. However, one major crash would change this picture - there is no room for complacency.
We maintain a high response capability against the possibility of a major fatal air crash in Australia. We coordinated an on-site scenario exercise called 'Popflot' in October 2003 (see case study opposite). We also worked with Emergency Management Australia on a new umbrella plan for handling a major aviation disaster called AVDISPLAN which was released in March 2004.
As resources permit, we send investigators overseas to assist with, and gain experience in, major accidents. In 2003-04, we completed the joint investigation into the fatal crash of a Lao-registered Ilyushin IL76 Russian cargo aircraft near Baucau East Timor with the Australian Defence Force and in cooperation with Russian investigators.
ATSB also released ten aviation research reports in 2003-04. These are reported under Output 1.5 Transport research and data.
Table 4.7 - Trends in aviation safety investigation a
a Fewer notifications were made in 2003-04 due to changed reporting requirements from 1 July 2003 under the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 and regulations.
Accidents and incidents involving Australian registered ships and foreign flag ships in Australian waters must be reported to us. Often such information will be received through a report to AMSA. As with aviation safety, we do not investigate all marine incidents, but record all data for possible future safety analysis.
In 2003-04, we released 17 marine investigation reports and completed two ferry reports on behalf of the NSW Office of Transport Safety Investigation. Reports released included the Doric Chariot grounding in the Great Barrier Reef and the Star Sea Bridge/Sue M collision, which had been held over pending a criminal trial and was released 32 months after the incident. This explains the slight decrease in the number of investigations more than one year old and the increase in the median completion time for investigations.
The ATSB distributes its marine investigation reports and safety and educational material nationally and internationally and promotes marine safety in Australia and overseas. In 2003-04 the ATSB issued 47 marine recommendations to marine safety regulators, operators and stakeholders.
On 20 May 2004, we launched the Confidential Marine Reporting Scheme. This scheme offers seafarers the opportunity to report unsafe conditions, practices or procedures on board merchant ships without fear of being identified. By being able to do this, seafarers are able to promote their own safety and, by reporting their concerns, they are able to assist with preventing, or minimising the risk of, marine accidents.
Maritime safety messages contained in our reports are widely distributed and well received by all sections of the marine industry. In several cases, the recommendations have been taken up within the industry. In 2004-05, we will be conducting a safety awareness campaign aimed at commercial fishermen around the country. This campaign is designed to reduce the risk of collisions by raising awareness of causal factors identified in our investigations into collisions between fishing vessels and merchant ships.
The Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003, which came into effect on 1 July 2003, empowers us to investigate incidents on the Defined Interstate Rail Network. However, in 2003-04, we also gave priority to completing legacy investigations requested by state authorities under state legislation.
We completed three investigations - the Spencer Street 'runaway train', Aloomba Queensland and Chiltern Victoria rail accidents. The Spencer Street and Aloomba investigation reports were released in December 2003 and we forwarded the Chiltern Report to the Victorian Transport Minister for his consideration. We expect to complete the fourth investigation, into an accident at Benalla in Victoria, later in 2004-05 along with new investigations into five rail accidents that occurred on the Defined Interstate Rail Network in 2003-04.
Rail safety messages have been accepted by relevant state authorities. Common themes included the need for engineering changes to rolling stock to ensure operations were more tolerant of human error, changes to procedures, and training of personnel.
In late 2004 the ATSB will open a rail investigation field office in Adelaide. Existing ATSB rail investigation offices in Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane facilitate onsite accident response throughout the defined interstate rail network plus important industry liaison activities.
The ATSB coordinates the National Road Safety Strategy and two-yearly action plans on behalf of the Australian Transport Council. It also undertakes transport safety research and statistical work and releases associated reports. These activities are reported under Output 1.5 Transport research and data.
Price of output
We generally aim to deliver our outputs at an agreed price. Our final result for Output 1.3 in 2003-04 was $12.5 million. This result reflects lower than planned expenditure for more complex aviation and rail accident investigations in 2003-04.
a Until 1 July 2003, investigations were a state responsibility and the ATSB was involved at the request of state governments. Median completion times for these investigations are not reported due to the time required for state governments to consider reports before their release. Completion time estimates for rail investigations under the ATSB's new powers cannot be reported as none were completed in 2003-04.
Output 1.4: Transport programmes
(Programmes Group, Regulatory Group, Policy and Research Group)
Report on performance
We administer a range of grants, subsidies and other payments on behalf of the Australian Government. In 2003-04 we administered more than twenty transport programmes. These programmes:
We also collect a range of taxation and non-taxation revenues on behalf of the Australian Government. In 2003-04 we collected less revenue than in previous years due to the government decision to cease the Air Passenger Ticket Levy (see case study).
In 2004-05 we will implement the government's new approach to land transport - AusLink. As discussed in Chapter 1, the new AusLink programme will fundamentally transform the way we fund land transport in Australia. Amongst other things, it will replace the former National Highway and Roads of National Importance programme and focus on projects within a defined network of key corridors.
While we will continue to fund many projects fully, particularly on the former National Highway system, we will place much more emphasis on shared responsibility and funding of projects with other levels of government and the private sector, so as to increase the return on every dollar spent by the Australian Government. Figure 4A below illustrates the new AusLink model of transport investment.
We aim to deliver our outputs at an agreed price, but review our budget throughout the year in light of changing priorities and actual results. Our final result for 2003-04, $11.5 million, was less than in previous years but is likely to rise in 2004-05 as we gear up to implement AusLink.
After finalising the 2003-04 Budget, the Australian Government decided to provide grants to help regional airports upgrade their security at a cost of $14.0 million over two years from 2004-05. This measure was described in our 2003-04 Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements.
The government later reviewed the programme in light of wider aviation security issues and the ability of regional aviation operators to match government funds. It agreed to bring the programme forward to 2003-04 and to increase its budget to $35.0 million. This change was described in our 2003-04 Portfolio Supplementary Additional Estimates Statements.
Regional airports can now access funds to install basic security infrastructure such as fencing, lighting and alarms/surveillance systems to improve security.
We expect regional aviation security will continue to improve over 2004-05, as a related programme starts up. This programme will pay for hardened cockpit doors to be installed on existing regional passenger aircraft with 30 or more seats, and will cost $3.2 million.
4 Performance indicators for this programme have not been published before due to the timing of its introduction. The indicators shown here are consistent with those used for related programmes e.g. aviation security enhancements to regional passenger aircraft in 2004-05.
Following a major outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the UK in early 2001, the government announced a range of measures to strengthen Australia's quarantine borders against exotic pests and diseases.
In previous years, this programme funded new and improved infrastructure at Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Darwin and Cairns international airports, to enable Customs and AQIS to screen and inspect a much larger amounts of passenger luggage. Together with other measures, it has contributed to increased quarantine intervention rates. Intervention rates currently average around 81 per cent, up from approximately 25 per cent in early 2001.
Works at Melbourne Airport could not be completed in 2003-04 due to unforeseen delays in other important upgrades being carried out at the airport. We now expect to complete construction of queuing and staff facilities in 2004-05.
This one-off grant will enable the ARTC to invest in rail infrastructure, particularly the unreliable NSW north coast line. The average speed of trains on the north coast line is currently just 47 kilometres an hour.
Better track conditions will reduce the time it takes for freight trains to travel between Sydney and Brisbane by at least 3 hours, and will make rail more competitive on this key route.
In 2002-03, the Australian Government allocated $250 million for upgrading interstate rail networks. Part of this, $143 million, was to be spent on the NSW interstate track subject to NSW reaching agreement with the ARTC on suitable track access arrangements 7.
The agreement was finalised in June 2004 (see case study). We have now made the payment in the form of an equity injection to the ARTC, which will use these funds to meet its obligations to upgrade the rail infrastructure it is leasing.
5 Performance indicators for this programme have not been published before due to the timing of its introduction.
This programme, which will be replaced by AusLink from 2004-05, has funded all maintenance, rehabilitation and construction on the National Highway as well as declared Roads of National Importance such as the Pacific Highway.
In 2003-04, we continued to make payments in line with our legal and other obligations. Major projects completed in 2003-04 included:
New works are designed to meet the latest safety standards. The National Highway, which covers roughly 18 500 km in all as illustrated in figure 4B below, is among the safest roads when traffic volume is taken into account. At least $36.4 million or four per cent of programme funding was spent on safety and urgent minor works in 2003-04.
Smooth travel exposure (the absence of roughness) on the National Highway remained above 95 per cent in 2003-04. Smooth travel exposure is a major indicator of road condition and user satisfaction with roads. It is reported by state authorities and assessed against an Austroads standard.
Australia's first Road Safety Black Spot Programme was set up in 1990 as a direct response to the unacceptable nature of road trauma statistics. The current Black Spot Programme was started in 1996 and is now in its eighth year, having been extended twice.
Funding is mainly available for the treatment of black spot sites with a proven history of crashes 8. To be eligible, sites must have a history of at least three casualty accidents over a five year period and proposals must demonstrate a safety-benefit cost ratio of at least 2:1. Up to 20 per cent of funds are available for treatment of sites which don't meet the above criteria, but which have been recommended on the basis of an official road safety audit report.
From 1996 to 30 June 2004, more than 2900 projects at crash sites across Australia have been approved to receive funding from the Black Spot Programme - an investment in road safety of more than $316 million. The number of projects approved each year varies depending on the cost of approved works (see table 4.10).
Roughly half of all black spot funds in each state (other than Tasmania, ACT and NT) are reserved for projects in rural areas, as around 60 per cent of all fatal crashes and 50 per cent of serious injury crashes occur outside metropolitan areas. In 2003-04 roughly 55 per cent of funding went to rural projects.
A Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics (BTRE) evaluation of the current programme in 2001 estimated that it had prevented at least 32 fatalities and more than 1500 serious crashes in its first three years of operation, and returned an average $14 in benefits for every $1 invested.
Since the national Black Spot Programme was introduced, total funding by state and territory governments for black spot treatment has increased. Several jurisdictions have also introduced and funded black spot programmes along similar lines to the national programme.
The national and state black spot programmes have played a major role in reducing the number of people killed and injured on Australia's roads. Other measures which have contributed to this outcome include continuing improvements in design rules for vehicle safety as well as increased enforcement of seat belt wearing, random breath testing and speed limits by state and territory authorities.
The Roads to Recovery Programme addresses the fact that many local roads are about to reach the end of their economic life but that replacing them is beyond the means of many councils. The Roads to Recovery Act 2000 specifies the funds available to each council over the life of the programme - from 1 January 2001 to 30 June 2005. As at 30 June 2004, 222 out of 715 councils had received their full allocation under the Act 9.
Councils can use programme funds to construct, upgrade or maintain roads.'Roads' are defined broadly and include traffic lights and signs, street lights, vehicular ferries, bridges and tunnels and bike paths. Funds cannot be used for capital items such as road building plant. Approximately 12 700 projects have been registered for funding over the life of the programme (see table 4.10).
Councils must lodge audited financial statements confirming how they have spent programme funds and an annual assessment of the works undertaken against desired outcomes. All councils met this requirement in 2003-04.
Feedback from councils indicates that they often use programme funds to leverage funding from other sources, create economies of scale and meet multiple objectives such as indigenous employment. On average, there is a return of $1.80 in benefits for every $1 invested under the Roads to Recovery Programme.
The programme has recently been extended at a cost of $1.2 billion over four years from 2005-06, and is being integrated into the AusLink framework.
The Federation Fund has contributed funding towards a number of transport projects, including the Alice Springs to Darwin rail link and the Beaudesert Shire Railway. The projects to receive funding in 2003-04 were the Caboolture Motorway and the Murray River bridges.
The Caboolture project is widening the Caboolture Motorway/Bruce Highway from four lanes to six from Dolhes Rocks Road to Boundary Road in Brisbane. Unfortunately bad weather has delayed the completion of the project by around 81 days. We expect the new section will open to traffic later in late 2004 and anticipate making associated payments then.
The Australian Government has committed $44 million towards three new bridges across the Murray River between the towns of Corowa-Wahgunyah, Robinvale-Euston and Echuca-Moama.
Delays due to planning and native title issues have meant that less than one third of funds have been spent. While construction work started promptly on the bridge at Corowa, there was no work done on the bridge at Robinvale during 2003-04, Victoria has yet to sign the deed of grant for the Echuca-Moama bridge. Arrangements to carry funds over until required.
For details of each project, see table 4.11 below.
The Darwin-Alice Springs railway is now completed. The first freight train left Alice Springs on 15 January 2004 and arrived in Darwin on 17 January 2004. However, we did not make any payments in 2003-04 because, as noted in our last annual report, payments planned for 2003-04 were brought forward to 2002-03.
The railway is of national importance. It has been estimated that the railway will return as much as $1.88 for every dollar spent on it 10, and will increase national GDP by $4.5 billion during its first twenty years of operation 11. A November 2003 report by Access Economics 12 confirms that the railway is also delivering benefits to the region. The railway:
While the railway is effectively complete, work is continuing on related infrastructure at the East Arm Port and beside the rail terminal in Darwin.
10 1999 analysis by Booz-Allen and Hamilton. Such estimates are normally based on existing activity. They would not normally include multiplier effects or likely new activity such as freight generated by mining or transhipped from ships at East Arm Port.
This programme was set up in 1998 and has funded projects including a major crossing loop extension ($53.4m), track upgrades in Victoria ($24.5m), and rail rectification and sleeper replacement over the 127km between Perth and Kalgoorlie ($18m).
Work on the Wodonga Rail Bypass was originally planned for 2001-02 but has been delayed by issues within Victoria. As reported in our 2002-03 annual report, we expect the Australian Government's $20 million contribution towards the project to be paid in 2004-05.
The Wodonga Rail Bypass will be the last project funded through this programme. Proposals for future investment in rail will be considered through AusLink.
More people are moving to the Gold Coast than to any other local government area in south east Queensland. In anticipation of the impact this will have on the area, the Gold Coast City Council and Queensland Transport are jointly managing a feasibility study for a proposed light rail project. The study is being undertaken by private consulting firm Parson Brinckerhoff.
While normally a state and local government responsibility, the Commonwealth contribution recognises the scale and potential impact on the region of such a proposal.
The Australian Government provided $0.230 million for the project in 2003-04, bringing its total contribution to date to $0.503 million. The Australian and Queensland Governments have each committed up to $0.650 million to the project.
The study is well advanced, and has identified four options for linking existing heavy rail routes (the Gold Coast rail line near Parkwood) to major destinations in Broadbeach via Southport. Further work is needed to understand the likely financial, social and environmental impacts of the project. We expect this work to be completed by the end of 2004.
The Australian Government is not committed to any particular option or to funding any other work once the feasibility study is completed.
We make payments to MIFCo to meet its financial obligations, namely loan repayments and administrative expenses. The $9.7 million represents expenses relating to the administration costs of the programme and interest charges associated with MIFCo's loan facility. Other expenses relating to the balance of actual payments to MIFCo have been recognised in previous years. Cash payments to MIFCo in 2003-04 totalled $36.3 million, reflecting higher than anticipated levy collections.
Waterfront productivity is reported quarterly by the Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics (BTRE) in its Waterline publication and has improved markedly since 1998:
a This scheme only started on 1 January 2002.
In mid-1998 Airservices Australia introduced a new pricing regime to remove cross-subsidisation of some parts of the aviation industry by other parts. As some smaller airport users faced large fee rises, the government introduced a subsidy for a transitional period.
In 2003-04 subsidies were paid for services at 14 airports in all: Albury, Archerfield, Bankstown, Camden, Coffs Harbour, Essendon, Jandakot, Launceston, Mackay, Maroochydore, Moorabbin, Parafield, Rockhampton and Tamworth. Hobart Airport was not directly subsidised but has benefited from price capping arrangements.
The subsidy was due to have ceased in 2004-05 but has been extended for one year only, to enable Airservices Australia to review its pricing arrangements. In the meantime:
For more information on this and other support for regional aviation, see table 4.12.
Under this programme, certain small airlines are exempt from Airservices Australia's Enroute Charges. These airlines provide regular public transport and/or aero-medical services to regional areas, using aircraft with a maximum take off weight of less than 15 tonnes.
In 2003-04, a total of $4.3 million was reimbursed to 45 operators. The programme, which is essentially demand driven, cost less than in 2002-03 because a backlog of payments was made in that year.
A survey was sent to all airlines registered for the scheme in October 2004 to assist in a review of the programme and assess client satisfaction.
For more information on this and other support for regional aviation, see table 4.12.
This scheme ensures weekly air services to around 220 isolated communities in remote parts of Queensland, NT, WA, SA and Tasmania. As the communities are in remote areas where road access is often cut off for months at a time during the wet season, a regular air service is the only reliable means of transport.
Communities rather than operators apply to be in the scheme, and rely on these services for passenger transport and for goods such as fresh food, prescription medicines, spare parts and educational materials. Around 30 per cent of communities receiving support under the scheme are identified as indigenous communities. Other communities include cattle/sheep stations and tourist centres.
Air operators providing RASS services are selected through a competitive tender process and engaged for a fixed term. We began an open tender process to select operators for new two-year contracts in May 2004.
We pay operators monthly in arrears based on agreed services levels. Operators are responsible for setting passenger fares and freight rates, and bear the risks associated with this. The actual number of passengers carried has remained steady at around 1600 a year, while 39 220 kg of freight was carried to or from communities in 2003-04.
The cost of the scheme has continued to rise by more than 10 per cent a year due to rises in the cost of aviation fuel, parts and insurance. However, the overall cost of the scheme remains modest. In 2003-04 it equated to less than $230 per community per week.
The government will provide an additional $7.7 million over four years from 2004-05 to continue the scheme at its current size. Without this funding, services would have to be withdrawn from approximately 60 communities.
For more information on this and other support for regional aviation, see table 4.12.
The college, which is based in regional Australia, offers accredited training to enable students to become licensed aircraft maintenance engineers. The college also offers vocational education to schools in the Tamworth area and to TAFE students.
In 2003-04, 134 students were enrolled in the college, with 60 per cent of students employed by major companies like Qantas, Boeing, and British Aerospace. The remainder are employed by smaller regional airlines such as REX. The college intends to market its services in China next year.
More information on this and other support for regional aviation is provided in table 4.12.
This scheme, which is demand driven, has succeeded in enabling Tasmanian industries to compete on an equal footing in markets on the Australian mainland. The number and overall cost of claims continued to rise in 2003-04. Higher than anticipated demand saw a modest increase in the cost of the scheme, which reached $83.6 million in 2003-04.
Around 80 per cent of rebates paid are for goods produced in Tasmania and shipped to the Australian mainland for use or sale. Rebates paid on this northbound trade reached $66.2 million in 2003-04.
The major northbound items subsidised were:
Goods shipped to Tasmania as an input to a production process may also be eligible for assistance. Rebates paid on southbound trade reached $17.4 million in 2003-04. Raw materials for the manufacturing and mining sectors were the major goods shipped ($14.6 million).
More information on this and the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme is provided in table 4.12.
This scheme, which is demand driven, enables ferry operators to offer reduced fares. It has contributed to a substantial increase in the number of people choosing to take self-drive motoring holidays in Tasmania. When the scheme was introduced in 1996-97, around 63 000 cars crossed the strait each year. This number had doubled by the end of 2001-02. It then jumped significantly in 2002-03 due to:
In 2003-04, the number of vehicles shipped continued to rise, reaching 228 300 vehicles. The total cost of the scheme also rose to $34.3 million. This was slightly more than expected, in part due to a new ferry service between Sydney and Devonport from January 2004.
Some 87 per cent of all vehicles shipped were cars, with motor homes and campervans, motorbikes and cars towing trailers accounting for most of the balance of vehicles being shipped.
The rebates payable for each crossing did not change in 2003-04 and will remain the same in 2004-05. The rebates are:
For more information on this and the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme, see table 4.12.
The Sydney Airport Noise Amelioration Programme was introduced in November 1994, and the Adelaide Airport Noise Insulation Programme in May 2000. Under both programmes, the Australian Government pays for noise insulation to be installed in eligible homes and public buildings such as schools and colleges, preschools, health and aged care facilities and churches.
Both programmes are nearing completion. All eligible residences and public buildings have been identified and the majority insulated. There is no marked change in the noise contours for 2004.
To date, over $400 million has been spent, with over 4500 eligible residential dwellings and over 100 eligible public buildings insulated against aircraft noise. Lower than expected take-up of the programmes and delays in council approvals saw us spend less than planned in both programmes. Our 2004-05 estimates will be adjusted accordingly.
We require works to be completed to a high standard, and ask residents to rate the quality of work through a post-insulation survey. In 2003-04, over 80 per cent of respondents continued to rate the quality of work done as very good or better.
The programmes have been effective in reducing the impact of aircraft noise on homes and public buildings under flight paths. As illustrated in figure 4C opposite, complaints about aircraft noise in Sydney have dropped from 4000 complaints a month to about 4000 complaints a year. Airport curfews and other regulatory measures have also contributed to this outcome.
In November 1996 the Australian Government announced that it would sell AN, apart from its interstate track elements. Parts of the business were progressively sold over 1997 and 1998.
In 2002-03 we completed environmental remediation of more than 600 sites belonging to AN at a cost of $50 million. All legal obligations were met and responsibility for the ongoing environmental management of these sites was transferred to the relevant state governments.
In 2003-04 we continued to enable industry and enthusiasts to access more than 180 000 plans and drawings of rolling stock and infrastructure as housed in the AN's Plan Room. The future of the Plan Room, including archiving arrangements for historic documents of national significance, will be addressed in 2004-05.
The owners of oil tankers must take out insurance to cover the cost of any oil spills from the tankers. However, the owners do not have unlimited liability. Their liability depends on the size of the tanker - the bigger the ship, the larger the liability with the maximum liability for the biggest tanker being approximately $180 million.
Where the cost of compensation resulting from an oil spill exceeds the tanker owner's liability or, for some other reason, the tanker owner is unable to pay those costs, compensation is payable by the IOPC Fund. The maximum aggregate amount payable by the tanker owner and the IOPC Fund is limited to approximately $415 million for any one particular incident.
Contributions to the IOPC Fund are made by all persons who receive more than 150 000 tonnes of crude oil or heavy fuel oil in a calendar year by sea in a country that is a party to the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage. Australia has been a party to that Convention since January 1995.
Receivers of oil are levied annually by the IOPC Fund to meet the anticipated payments of compensation and the estimated administrative expenses during the forthcoming year.
In 2003-04, we reported payments totalling $12.1 million in relation to the fund. This comprised transfers to the IOPC fund of levies received from oil companies ($5.6 million) as well as transfers from the IOPC fund to oil companies to refund excess levies paid in previous years ($6.5 million).
There has never been an oil spill in Australian waters that exceeded the tanker owner's liability, so there has been no need for the IOPC Fund to make any contribution towards the costs of an oil spill in Australia.
Output 1.5: Transport research and data
(Safety and Investigation Group, Policy and Research Group)
Report on performance
Within the department, two main areas contribute to transport research and data: the ATSB and BTRE. Each area maintains unique data collections and is the sole source of data available on particular transport issues. More information about the contribution of each area follows.
We generally aim to deliver our outputs at an agreed price. The combined result for this output in 2003-04, $9.5 million, was significantly less than planned and than in previous years. This result partly reflects a $1.0m transfer of ATSB funding from 2003-04 to 2004-05 for a proposed new novice driver training initiative.
ATSB transport safety statistics and information
In 2003-04, the ATSB released 22 road safety research and statistical publications. These included research reports on changing rural speed limits, retrofitting seat belt reminder systems in cars, using daytime running lights and improving safety at passive level train crossings, 17 statistical reports and a special report on Road Safety in Australia to commemorate World Health Day 2004.
The ATSB also coordinates the National Road Safety Strategy and two-yearly action plans on behalf of the ATC. ATSB analysis indicates that:
However, ATSB analysis also indicates that more needs to be done if Australia is to achieve the current national target, of no more than 5.6 deaths per 100 000 people by 2010. ATSB's ongoing challenge is to work with state and territory authorities to find new ways to:
The ATSB also researches and analyses data on the safety of other modes of transport. This work is closely linked with ATSB's investigations of actual accidents as reported under Output 1.3 Transport safety investigations.
The ATSB released 10 aviation safety reports including on alcohol and cannabis use in aviation, general aviation accidents, and the aviation safety climate survey. These generated widespread interest. The alcohol and cannabis report along with the ATSB Hamilton Island accident report underpin the joint departmental/CASA inquiry on alcohol and cannabis in aviation. Four reports based on the national rail occurrence database were also released.
The ATSB also continued to publish and distribute a range of educational materials to key groups such as learner drivers, parents of young children, and motorcycle riders. Most items, which include posters, wallet cards and videos, are available free of charge. For more information visit http://www.atsb.gov.au/ or ring 1800 621 372 or email email@example.com
BTRE transport research and analysis
BTRE's transport research and analysis is used in policy development and to inform industry and the community. The focus of our research in 2003-04 included freight transportation, rail industry harmonisation, the external impacts of transport and project evaluation.
We published 14 major research and statistical publications. A list of these and their relevance to Australia's national research priorities are set out in Appendix B.
BTRE's transport research is widely cited in, for example:
We also collect a large range of transport statistics and offer regular monthly or quarterly digests of these. During 2003-04 we added a new dataset to our collection so Australian travellers can now access information on the timeliness of major domestic carriers.
We are proactive about communicating our findings. All our publications are available free online (http://www.bitre.gov.au/). We also made presentations to 13 conferences and seminars on transport issues and are planning our fifth transport research colloquium for 2004-05.