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Chapter 2 : Introduction and Overview

About Us

Case Study B1 : Enhancing corporate governance of portfolio bodies

Following a major government report into the corporate governance of statutory authorities - the Uhrig Report - the department has undertaken detailed reviews to enhance governance in five portfolio agencies:

  • Airservices Australia
  • Civil Aviation Safety Authority
  • Australia Maritime College
  • National Capital Authority
  • Australian Maritime Safety Authority

The Uhrig Report called for clearer lines of accountability and for governance arrangements to be appropriate to the particular role and risks of individual agencies.

In response to the report, we are assessing agencies against the principles and templates, and advising the Department of Finance and Administration on possible improvements to governance arrangements. We have already completed one assessment and expect to complete the other four by the end of 2005.

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Case Study B2 : AusLink changes to face of western Sydney

AusLink's largest project - the 40 km Westlink M7 linking the M5 and the M2 - is well on the way to completion and is well ahead of schedule. Originally set for completion at the end of 2006, the road could be opened to traffic before Christmas 2005.

Less traffic, more jobs and fewer accidents

This $1.5 billion, two lane dual carriageway will link the M5 at Prestons with the M2 at West Baulkham Hills, and connect Sydney's high growth areas with Port Botany and Sydney Airport. It will redirect around 60 000 vehicles from local roads, including 10 000 heavy vehicles, and allow fast, efficient freight distribution to emerging industrial zones.

That means more jobs locally and more equitable access to employment for the people of western Sydney - expected to be half of Sydney's population by 2020.

Motorists using the M7 will bypass up to 56 sets of traffic lights and save up to one hour's travel across western Sydney. Based on 1996 traffic levels, it is also estimated the new motorway will prevent about 200 crashes, including 17 fatalities or serious injuries, each year.

Community and environmental concerns addressed

A major effort has also been made to involve the community in the project and to take into account environmental and urban design concerns.

Community liaison groups, comprising representatives from local communities and councils, meet monthly with the construction company, the Abigroup Leighton Joint Venture Group. Newsletters, advertisements, letterbox notifications, website alerts and e-mail are also used to keep the community updated.

A detailed environmental management plan incorporates mitigation measures and environmental safeguards to be followed both during construction and operation of the motorway. One tangible benefit of this plan has been the protection of a colony of endangered Cumberland land snails found in the motorway reserve.

Particular care has also been taken with urban design to ensure that it complements the surrounding landscape. A single design has been developed for the entire motorway, and native seed collected prior to construction from local areas has been used to grow thousands of plants for motorway landscaping.

Supporting future generations

The M7 project is a leading example of what AusLink is all about - providing benefits to future generations by enhancing safety, reducing congestion and encouraging economic growth by making it easier for commuters and freight carriers to travel throughout Australia.

For more information about the M7 project, visit www.WestlinkM7.com.au.