Case Study A1: APEC 2007 Transport Ministers Working Group
In March 2007, the Minister for Transport and Regional Services hosted the fifth Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Transport Ministers Meeting in Adelaide. The meeting demonstrated how the international community can work cooperatively through such forums and achieve practical solutions to transport issues.
The meeting was attended by delegates from the 21 APEC economies-representing more than one-third of the world's population-and the official APEC Observer groups, involving some 250 participants in total.
The discussion focused on three themes: transport safety, transport security and the transport sector's contribution to liberalisation and facilitation of trade.
Worldwide, an estimated 1.2 million people are killed and 50 million are injured in road accidents each year, a large proportion of them in APEC nations. It is predicted that without remedial action, these figures could rise by 65 per cent over the next 20 years, increasing the social and economic burden across the Asia-Pacific region. Recognising this, APEC ministers supported aggressive road safety strategies, tailored to the special circumstances of each economy and including realistic but challenging fatality and injury reduction objectives.
The APEC ministers noted that differences in security processes across the region have implications for both passengers and industry. Recognising a strong need to balance security actions with efficient and effective flows of goods and people, the ministers agreed to give priority to harmonising security measures to promote consistency and minimise duplication.
Transport is a key enabler of trade, growth and economic integration in the region. As trade flows increase and economies grow, the demand for transport infrastructure and services also expands. It was recognised as important that regulatory and governance frameworks evolve in a way which does not impede efficiency and growth.
In particular, the APEC ministers made a commitment to develop timetables and strategies to work towards further liberalisation of air services. They acknowledged the importance of efficient supply chains, and noted that there would be continuing challenges to balance security, safety and environmental requirements with trade facilitation.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services, the Hon Mark Vaile, speaking at the APEC 2007 Transport Minister's Working Group. (Photo DOTARS)
The key outcomes of the transport meeting were included in a joint ministerial statement which provides direction to member nations and the Transportation Working Group for future work.
The successful meeting demonstrates the benefit of the Department's participation in international forums as a way of agreeing on future directions for transport policies that affect all Australians, and ensuring that safe, secure and efficient transport underpins the successful trade relationships that Australia enjoys with its neighbours.