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Report on performance

4. Outcome 2 - Transport

Output 2.3.1 - Surface transport policy, programs and regulation

Highlights

In 2008-09, the Australian Transport Council (ATC) recommended to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) that single, national regulatory systems should be implemented for heavy vehicles, maritime safety and rail safety. The Department played a strong role in developing and coordinating the regulatory reform proposals and will continue to work strongly with states and territories to further develop and implement all three national regulatory systems consistent with COAG's decisions of 2 July 2009.

On 1 August 2008, the Ministerial Guidelines for Granting Licences and Permits to Engage in Australia's Domestic Shipping were amended to provide for greater transparency, accountability and certainty.

In November 2008, the government reaffirmed its commitment to the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme. The scheme provided $108.1 million of assistance, an increase of 8 per cent. A new IT system was launched in March 2009 and allows claimants to electronically lodge their claims.

In January 2009 an independent panel, appointed by the ATC, commenced the required legislative review of the effectiveness of the National Transport Commission. The Department played a key role in the review process by providing secretariat, research and analytical support to the panel. The Department also facilitated an extensive public consultation process, through which the panel received 39 submissions and interviewed 34 stakeholders.

The Department successfully co-chaired the Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Working Group, which provided its final report to COAG on potential measures to improve vehicle fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse emissions from vehicles.

The Department, in close cooperation with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and the Department of Climate Change, actively participates in the work of the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organization. Ships engaged in international trade in 2007 contributed approximately 2.7 per cent of the world's CO2 emissions caused by human activity and, if left unaddressed, this could increase by between 150 and 250 per cent by the year 2050 due to the expected continued growth in international seaborne trade.

In June 2009 the Minister announced a rewrite of the Navigation Act 1912 with the aim of modernising the language and the content. The Department commenced the rewrite in close consultation with AMSA.

The Department continues to manage and improve the Green Vehicle Guide website, which provides comprehensive and current information to consumers on the environmental performance of new cars.

Overview

Output 2.3.1 is delivered through the work of the Infrastructure and Surface Transport Policy (ISTP) division and the National Transport Strategy division (which on 1 July 2009 was subsumed into the ISTP division). The output's activities seek to improve the performance of the surface transport industry for the benefit of all Australians.

Output 2.3.1 develops and reforms national transport policy and regulation, working closely with stakeholders such as industry groups, trade unions, international organisations, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), the Australian Transport Council (ATC) and all levels of government in Australia. The output also implements surface transport policy, programs and regulation. The output included the following administered programs:

  • Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme;
  • International Maritime Organization - contribution;
  • Interstate Road Transport Fees;
  • National Transport Commission;
  • OECD Road Transport - contribution (delivered by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development);
  • Oil Pollution Compensation Fund;
  • Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme; and
  • Tasmanian Wheat Freight Scheme.

The budget and actual expenditure for each administered program is listed in Appendix A.

Summary of performance

Table 4.5 summarises the Department's results in delivering Output 2.3.1 against the key performance indicators and targets published in the 2008-09 PBS.

Table 4.5 Summary of performance - Output 2.3.1

Key performance indicator Target Result
Outputs

Develop and implement international and domestic maritime safety and environment initiatives

Meet COAG and ATC timeframes.

The Department participated in domestic and international decision-making forums to develop and implement maritime safety and environmental policy. On 22 May 2009, the ATC agreed to recommend to COAG the implementation of a single national system on maritime safety regulation.

Develop and implement shipping policy, regulation and program reforms

Meet government timeframes.

Amendments to the Ministerial Guidelines for administering coastal shipping permits commenced on 1 August 2008.

The Department is developing policy options to change the policy and regulatory framework for coastal shipping in response to the House of Representatives Standing Committee Report Rebuilding Australia's Coastal Shipping Industry.

The Department has commenced a rewrite of the Navigation Act 1912 following the government's commitment to update the legislation.

Maintain the GVG website as the principal place for information on the environmental performance of new light vehicles in the Australian market place

Positive email feedback.

Increase in web hits.

Increased citation of GVG ratings in media.

The GVGuide website was up to date and operating effectively, with usage rates of more than 20,000 hits per month. It was recognised as the primary site for information on the environmental performance of new light vehicles in Australia. Additional information on fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions was displayed. The GVG was regularly quoted in the motoring press as the reference source for measuring the environmental performance of vehicles.

Provide a suite of vehicle fuel efficiency measures to ATC and Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC) for considerationa

By early 2009.

The ATC and the EPHC considered the Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Working Group's final report on fuel efficiency measures in May 2009, and forwarded it to COAG for consideration.

ATC is assisted to develop National Transport Policy arrangements by the end of 2008-09a

Papers for ATC meetings in 2008-09:

  • reflect the views of jurisdictions accurately;
  • reflect relevant COAG decisions; and
  • facilitate decision making by ATC ministers.

The Department supported ATC working groups in developing national transport policy initiatives which reflected the views of jurisdictions, and were consistent with the ATC's agreed national vision and objectives for transport and with COAG decisions.

a This performance indicator was modified in the 2008-09 Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements.

Table 4.6 provides a summary of the results achieved by each of the programs administered under Output 2.3.1 against the key performance indicators and targets published in the 2008-09 PBS.

Table 4.6 Summary of performance - Output 2.3.1 administered programs

Key performance indicators and targets
Applicable administered program Key performance indicator
Target

All programs

Efficient and effective management of administered programs

Programs are administered in accordance with relevant legislation, published guidelines and ANAO guidance.

Results
Administered program Results

Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme

The aims of the scheme were fully achieved and service operators were reimbursed in a timely manner.

International Maritime Organization - contribution

The Department administered the payment of Australia's annual membership fee to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), an agency of the United Nations, which promotes safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans. Membership allows Australian Government officers to promote Australia's interests by participating in meetings of committees and subcommittees of the IMO.

Interstate Road Transport Fees

Fees were collected and dispersed to states and territories in line with an agreed formula based on meeting the cost of damage caused to roads by heavy vehicles.

National Transport Commission

Governments were assisted to increase transport productivity and sustainability through the National Transport Commission's work to develop consistent and effective model legislation for road and rail.

OECD Road Transport - contribution (delivered by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development)

The Department administered the payment of Australia's annual membership contribution to the OECD/ITF Joint Transport Research Centre (JTRC) whose mandate is to promote economic development and contribute to structural improvements in JTRC member economies, through cooperative transport research programs. Membership of the JTRC's governing Transport Research Committee allows Australian Government officers to promote Australia's interests by having input into the forward research work program, and the opportunity to participate in meetings, working groups, round tables, and seminars.

Oil Pollution Compensation Fund

The Department efficiently managed Australia's obligations under the funds, which provide compensation to cover the damages resulting from an oil spill from an oil tanker if the costs exceed the tanker owner's liability or the owner's ability to pay. All persons (including oil companies) that received more than 150,000 tonnes of crude or heavy oil by sea made contributions in accordance with levies imposed by the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds.

Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme

There was a substantial increase in the number of claims and claimants accessing the scheme. This increase, along with the implementation of a new information technology system by the agency contracted to process the claims, led to lower claims processing performance than in previous years.

Tasmanian Wheat Freight Scheme

The aims of the scheme were fully achieved and assistance was paid in a timely manner.

Detailed report on performance

The following report is against the headings from the applicable output from the 2008-09 PBS.

I    Tasmanian transport programs

The Australian Government finalised a review of the Tasmanian freight schemes in November 2008, and agreed to retain the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme and the Tasmanian Wheat Freight Scheme in their current forms.

Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme

The Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme aims to alleviate the costs for business of shipping eligible goods to the mainland for use or sale and to Tasmania as an input to a production process. Assistance of up to $855 per twenty foot equivalent unit (TEU) is available, but the assistance paid cannot exceed the actual freight bill paid by the claimant.

From 1 July 2008, a new intrastate component of the scheme, for eligible shipments between King Island and the main island of Tasmania and between the Furneaux Group and the main island of Tasmania, was implemented.

After reviewing the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme, the Australian Government announced on 6 November 2008 that the scheme would be retained in its current form. The existing levels of assistance and the parameters which had been in place for the previous 10 years were retained.

The Department continued to make administrative changes to improve and strengthen the accountability of the scheme, including better auditing and compliance arrangements and upgraded information technology systems. These changes are important to safeguarding the integrity of the scheme.

Claims are processed by Centrelink's Hobart office through a purchaser-provider arrangement. Centrelink introduced a new information technology system in March 2009.

The training associated with the new information system and the significant increase in the number of claims led to lower claims processing performance than in previous years.

The scheme is demand-driven. A significant increase in the number of claims, from 7,991 in 2007-08 to 10,751 in 2008-09, caused the assistance delivered by the scheme to increase from $101 million in 2007-08 to $109 million in 2008-09. In total, 9,539 claims were paid and 1,621 claimants were assisted in 2008-09.

Tasmanian Wheat Freight Scheme

In 2008-09, the Tasmanian Wheat Freight Scheme provided assistance for eligible claimants collectively moving more than 15,459 tonnes of bulk wheat shipments across Bass Strait. Assistance of up to $20.65 per tonne was available.

After reviewing the Tasmanian Wheat Freight Scheme, the Australian Government announced on 6 November 2008 that the scheme would be retained in its current form.

The Department is continuing to make administrative changes designed to improve and strengthen the accountability of the scheme, including better auditing and compliance arrangements and upgraded information systems. These changes are important to safeguarding the integrity of the Tasmanian Wheat Freight Scheme.

Claims are processed by Centrelink's Hobart office under a purchaser-provider arrangement; in 2008-09, 100 per cent of claims were processed within 30 days.

Demand for the scheme decreased in 2008-09. The assistance delivered by the scheme in 2008-09 was $320,000.

Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme

The Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation scheme lessens the cost of seagoing travel for eligible passengers by reducing the cost disadvantage associated with transporting eligible passenger vehicles across Bass Strait.

The rebate payable for each crossing depends on the vehicle type. In 2008-09, rebates ranged from $25 for a bicycle to $360 for a motor home or a vehicle towing a caravan. Up to $180 was payable for cars.

The rebate is provided as a reduction in the fare charged by service providers to the drivers of eligible passenger vehicles. Drivers who fly across Bass Strait but ship their vehicles may be eligible for a rebate if they:

  • are unable to travel by sea because of a disability; or
  • are travelling between Melbourne and King Island, as the service provider on this route does not provide passenger facilities.

The service provider is reimbursed for the total rebate provided to eligible passengers. In 2008-09, the major recipient was TT-Line, which operates the passenger ferries between Devonport and Melbourne.

Claims are processed by Centrelink's Hobart office under a purchaser-provider arrangement. In 2008-09, all claims were paid within seven days of receipt from the service operators. On average it took two days to process claims.

The scheme is demand-driven. Costs vary with the number and mix of vehicles shipped across Bass Strait. The assistance delivered by the scheme rose from $30 million in 2007-08 to $35 million in 2008-09. This was due to an increase in the rebate available from 1 July 2008.

II    Maritime safety and environment

The Department actively participated in domestic and international maritime safety and environment decision-making forums, to develop and implement associated policy.

Australian policy development

The Department is leading the development of a national system of maritime safety regulation, in close collaboration with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

In September 2008, COAG proposed that the ATC prepare a regulation impact statement on a national system for maritime safety regulation. The ATC agreed to report the outcome to COAG in the first half of 2009.

The Department participated in consultations led by AMSA on the national system in September 2008 and April 2009, involving 22 public meetings attended by more than 1,400 industry stakeholders. Stakeholders favoured a national system, and a cost-benefit analysis showed a significant net benefit from a national approach.

The ATC endorsed the regulation impact statement prepared by AMSA in consultation with the Department in May 2009. The ATC recommended that COAG implement a national system, through the broadened application of the Navigation Act 1912, with AMSA as the national regulator (Victoria's endorsement was limited to interstate maritime safety regulation). The ATC also recommended that the governance and financial arrangements should be resolved and embodied in a National Partnership agreement by mid-2010.

The Department participated in the National Introduced Marine Pests Coordination Group and related working groups to develop the national system for the prevention and management of marine pest incursions.

The Department also progressed the Protection of the Sea Legislation Amendment Act 2008 and was the lead agency for progressing the following treaty actions:

  • accession to the Protocol of 2003 to the International Convention on the establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (the Supplementary Fund Protocol), which creates a third tier of compensation for damage resulting from spills of oil from an oil tanker, so that the maximum amount increases from approximately $400 million to $1.5 billion; and
  • ratification of the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, which makes ship owners liable for oil spill damage when oil is carried as fuel in a ship's bunker.

International Maritime Organization

In 2008-09, through its work with the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Department contributed to:

  • the development of the International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships;
  • negotiations on the text of a draft protocol to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea; and
  • the development of a proposed international framework to address greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping.

The Department attended a number of IMO meetings, including two meetings that finalised key processes undertaken by the IMO.

  • On 16 October 2008, the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee unanimously adopted an amendment to Annex VI of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. The effect of the amendment is to progressively reduce the sulphur content of heavy fuel oil consumed by ships and further tighten the nitrogen oxide emissions from vessels in international operations. The Department is developing legislation to implement the provisions in Australia.
  • On 15 May 2009, the IMO's International Conference on the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships adopted the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.

Oil Pollution Compensation Funds

The Department attended two meetings of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds during the year.

The owners of oil tankers are required to be insured to cover the potential costs of compensation for damages resulting from any oil spilled from their tankers. However, owners do not have unlimited liability. Their liability depends on the size of the tanker - the larger the tanker, the greater the liability. The maximum liability for the biggest tanker is approximately $170 million.

Where the compensation costs resulting from an oil spill exceed the tanker owner's liability or the tanker owner is unable to pay for some other reason, compensation is payable from the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) Funds.

Total compensation of an aggregate amount of up to approximately $380 million would be payable by the tanker owner and the IOPC Funds in the event of a major spill. No payment has ever been made by the IOPC Funds for an incident in Australian waters as no spill in Australia has ever exceeded the tanker owner's liability/ability to pay.

Levies are payable to the IOPC Funds by all entities that receive more than 150,000 tonnes of crude or heavy fuel oil in a calendar year by sea. The amounts of the levies are determined by considering the expected costs of compensation and overheads of the IOPC Funds in the following year.

Eight companies - Alcan Gove Pty Ltd, BHP Billiton Ltd, BP Australia Ltd, Caltex Australia Pty Ltd, International Bunker Supplies, Mobil Oil Australia Ltd, Queensland Nickel Pty Ltd, and Shell Company of Australia Ltd - were levied and made contributions to the IOPC Funds in 2008-09. Those payments were made in line with Australia's obligations as a party to the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage.

III    Shipping policy and regulation

The Department plays a key role in the development and implementation of shipping policy and regulation on behalf of the government.

Australian shipping policy issues

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government finalised its inquiry into coastal shipping and tabled the report Rebuilding Australia's Coastal Shipping Industry in October 2008. The report makes 14 recommendations on ways to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of the Australian coastal shipping sector.

The Department is coordinating the whole-of-government development of a government response to the complex issues raised by the committee inquiry. For example, the Department:

  • consulted other agencies on the recommendations which fell within their portfolio jurisdiction;
  • commissioned and managed consultants to provide an economic analysis of options available to assist the development of the Australian shipping industry;
  • commissioned and managed consultants to provide an analysis of maritime skills and training options; and
  • provided secretariat services for the Shipping Policy Advisory Group, which was appointed by the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government to advise the government, from an industry perspective, on the initiatives necessary to revitalise the industry.

Regulation under the Navigation Act 1912

All vessels carrying cargo or passengers interstate are required to be licensed or to have a coastal permit under Part VI of the Navigation Act 1912. Permits to engage in the coastal trade may be granted where a licensed ship is not available or is not adequate for the task and granting a permit is in the public interest.

The Department administers the licence/permit system within Ministerial Guidelines. Amendments to the Ministerial Guidelines came into effect on 1 August 2008. Under the new guidelines:

  • applications for single-voyage and continuing voyage permits are made available to all licensed ship operators, the Australian Shipowners Association and maritime unions to assist the Department to establish whether an Australian ship is available;
  • details of permits issued, including the name of the ship, cargo, dates and ports of loading and discharge are published weekly on the Department's website; and
  • permit holders who have carried cargoes that breached the terms of a permit have to provide a satisfactory explanation before being considered for further permits.

The guidelines were also amended to include the following preamble:

  • The Australian Government's policy is to foster a viable coastal shipping industry in a competitive domestic transport sector. The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government is conducting an inquiry into coastal shipping and regulation. The inquiry will make recommendations on ways to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of the Australian coastal shipping sector.

The amendments to the Ministerial Guidelines have added transparency and accountability to the administrative process, creating greater certainty for coastal shipping stakeholders.

Regulation of liner cargo shipping

Liner cargo ships are those which regularly sail to predetermined and publicly advertised schedules between advertised ports of call, carrying mainly containerised (non-bulk) freight on shipping trade routes. Part X of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (the TPA) allows liner shipping operators to form 'conferences' (which, generally speaking, involve agreements by members in relation to services and pricing) with protection from the competition safeguards (contained in section 45 and parts of section 47 of the TPA).

Part X, which is administered by the Department, was designed to be an effective, low-cost, limited intervention regulatory regime. Many of our trading nations also permit liner shipping to form conferences in order to ensure regular, reliable and competitive shipping services are available to shippers of exports and imports.

Part X recognises that it is often efficient for shipping carriers to also have Part X exemptions extended to inland terminals, generally to the location of intermodal hubs or other freight depots. On 20 November 2008, the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government designated a revised list of inland terminals, under section 10.02A (1) of the TPA. The designation extends the exemptions inland to those terminals.

Australian Maritime College

The Australian Maritime College, the premier centre for maritime training, education and research in Australia, was integrated with the University of Tasmania in January 2008. As part of the integration process, in each of the five years after integration, the college is required to report that conditions under the Maritime Legislation Amendment Act 2007 governing the college's operations have been met. In December 2008, the college reported on its first year of integration.

The Maritime Legislation Amendment Act 2007 requires the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government to decide whether he agrees that the conditions reflected in the Act have been met. On 22 February 2009, the Minister issued a certificate to the Minister for Education confirming that, under the Act, he was satisfied that all the required conditions had been met.

IV    Road transport policy

The Department continued developing policy to support the road transport reform agenda of the ATC and COAG. This included working with Transport Certification Australia (TCA) and the NTC.

Transport Certification Australia

The Australian Government, in partnership with the governments of the states and territories, funds TCA to provide cutting-edge expertise on the use of in-vehicle technologies for monitoring heavy vehicle operators' compliance with regulations. The Department administers TCA funding.

In 2008-09, the TCA implemented the Independent Access Program, under which heavy vehicle operators can access higher mass limits on some parts of the road network if they agree to the location of their vehicle being monitored remotely to ensure that it does not stray from that network onto roads that are likely to be damaged by, or are not able to safely accommodate, those vehicles. The program has led to the expansion of higher productivity road networks in New South Wales and Queensland, reducing the number of heavy vehicles needed to undertake the transport task.

The Department worked with TCA and the state governments to increase the functionality of in-vehicle technologies, to facilitate government consideration of the extent to which these technologies could and should be used to manage regulatory compliance. Research was undertaken to assess the accuracy and degree of tamper vulnerability of technology that remotely monitors vehicle mass. This technology can be used by operators to ensure that they comply with heavy vehicle axle mass limits.

Work commenced to develop specifications for electronic systems that drivers can choose to use to replace the log books required to be kept to demonstrate compliance with fatigue regulation. Electronic speed management applications are also being considered. These technologies may provide operators with opportunities for productivity gains, enable employers to better meet occupational health and safety obligations, and assist drivers to manage their compliance with speed and fatigue regulation.

National Transport Commission

The NTC is an independent statutory body, established under the National Transport Commission Act 2003. The NTC advises Australian transport ministers on uniform or nationally consistent regulatory and operational reforms for road, rail and intermodal transport, focusing on productivity, safety, efficiency and sustainability.

In 2008-09, the NTC collaborated with governments, industry bodies, regulators and police to develop practical national solutions and to monitor and maintain their implementation. Among other outputs, it delivered:

  • the annual adjustment to calculate road access charges that is needed to ensure continued full recovery of costs of government spending that is attributable to the use of roads by heavy vehicles;
  • the substance of the new national laws for heavy vehicle driver fatigue, implemented on 29 September 2008;
  • a review of the Performance Based Standards Scheme to assess its effectiveness during its first year of operation, as requested by the ATC; and
  • a regulation impact statement for the proposed national rail regulator, as part of ATC work on the national transport plan and policy framework.

The NTC also conducted a study of the feasibility of incremental charges for heavy vehicles. The study evaluated the merits of allowing higher productivity vehicles (for example, vehicles with a higher mass or volume) to have wider access to the road network in exchange for an additional road access charge based on the additional damage the vehicles cause to the roads. Increased use of higher productivity heavy vehicles has the potential to reduce the number of heavy vehicles needed to undertake the transport task, increasing road freight transport efficiency
and safety.

Through the Department, the Australian Government contributes 35 per cent of the NTC's annual operating budget. The cost of this program in 2008-09 was $3 million, which met the government's obligations under the National Transport Commission Act 2003. In 2008-09, the NTC received the full amount payable; payments were made quarterly in line with the government's obligations under the Act.

The National Transport Commission Act 2003 requires that the ATC review the operations of the NTC no later than six years after the commencement of the Act. This review commenced in early 2009 by an independent panel appointed by the ATC. A report on the review's findings and recommendations will be presented to the ATC and COAG in 2009-10.

V    National heavy vehicle regulation

The Department administers the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS) and works with states and territories to improve the overall efficiency and safety of the heavy vehicle industry.

Reform agenda of the Australian Transport Council

The Department worked with the states and territories to prepare a regulation impact statement on a single national regulatory system for heavy vehicles. The statement was endorsed by the ATC on 22 May 2009. The recommended single national system would replace the eight existing state and territory frameworks. Subject to COAG approval early in the 2009-2010 reporting year, the regulation impact statement expected that a national regulatory system could be fully operational three years after a COAG decision to proceed.

Federal Interstate Registration Scheme

The Australian Government established the FIRS in 1987 to promote uniform charges and operating conditions for heavy vehicles operating interstate. It is an alternative to state or territory registration for heavy vehicles. In 2008-09, FIRS registrations totalling 20,000 vehicles (including trailers) represented around 3 per cent of Australia's heavy vehicle fleet.

The Department is working on proposed legislative amendments to improve the operation of the FIRS. In December 2008, the FIRS legislation was amended to implement the heavy vehicle registration components of the nationally endorsed 2007 Heavy Vehicle Charges Determination.

Revenue from FIRS heavy vehicle registration charges is collected by the states and territories and submitted to the government, through the Department, at the end of each month. The revenues collected in 2007-08 and 2008-09 are shown in Table 4.7.

Table 4.7 Federal Interstate Registration Scheme revenue, by state and territory, 2007-08 and 2008-09

  2007-08 2008-09
  $m % $m %
New South Wales 13.6 25.1 14.0 25.6
Victoria 27.9 51.5 27.3 50.0
Queensland 4.7 8.7 5.3 9.7
Western Australia 6.0 11.1 1.7 3.1
South Australia 1.4 2.6 5.7 10.4
Tasmania 0.04 0.1 0.037 0.1
Australian Capital Territory 0.5 0.9 0.5 0.9
Northern Territory 0.04 0.1 0.058 0.1
Total 54.18   54.595  

Note: The percentage quoted indicates the proportion of FIRS registered vehicles in each state and territory.

The Department redistributes the revenue to the states and territories, according to an agreed formula that reflects road damage as a result of FIRS registered heavy vehicles. The distribution percentages are: 46.1 per cent for New South Wales; 26.8 per cent for Victoria; 12.1 per cent for South Australia; 9.5 per cent for Queensland; 4.0 per cent for Western Australia; and 0.5 per cent each for Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. Up to and including March 2009, the revenue was returned quarterly; under new arrangements from April 2009, payments were made monthly.

VI    Transport standards

In June 2009, the Department received the draft final report from the independent consultant engaged to conduct the first five-year review of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport. The final report is expected to be provided to the Australian Government for consideration in the first quarter of 2009-10.

VII    Logistics industry

Australian Logistics Council

In late 2008, the Australian Government announced a decision to phase out funding for the Australian Logistics Council during 2009 and discontinue funding from 2010. This decision reflects the government's view that the council has successfully implemented and developed the Australian Logistics Industry Strategy, and through this work has evolved into an industry body with national status and a capacity to fund its operations without the need for ongoing government support.

Australian Freight Councils

Freight councils operate in each state and collectively form the Australian Freight Council Network. The councils are jointly funded by the Australian Government and state governments, with support from the logistics industry, to identify and address constraints to the efficient operation of freight supply chains in Australia.

Following an independent review of the activities and funding of Australian Freight Councils, conducted in early 2008, the Australian Government extended its matching funding for the freight councils for one year (2008-09), and instructed the Department to consult with state officials about the future role and funding of the councils.

After considering the outcomes of the Department's consultations, the government extended funding for a further two years (2009-10 and 2010-11). Future funding will be reassessed in 2010-11.

VIII    Environmental standards

The Department uses a mix of strategies to address greenhouse, air pollutant and noise emissions from road vehicles. Air pollution and noise emissions are addressed via minimum mandatory standards for new vehicles (Australian Design Rules). To date, consumer information measures, including mandatory fuel consumption labelling and the innovative Green Vehicle Guide website, have been the key measures in addressing greenhouse emissions. In 2008-09, a major investigation into fuel efficiency measures was undertaken.

Management of the Green Vehicle Guide website

The Department manages the GVG website, which provides comprehensive information to consumers on the environmental performance of new passenger vehicles sold in Australia. The Department:

  • ensures that the website is kept up to date as new model vehicles enter the market;
  • responds to online consumer enquiries;
  • undertakes promotional activities; and
  • provides information packs to individual consumers, community groups and educational institutions, on request.

The website was upgraded in June 2008, and now provides more information on fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.

Participation in the Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Working Group

The Department successfully co-chaired the Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Working Group, with the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, in 2008-09. In September 2008, the working group released a discussion paper on potential measures to improve vehicle fuel efficiency. The working group received more than 60 submissions in response to the discussion paper, and held consultations with stakeholders in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

The working group's final report, which was forwarded to ministers of the ATC and the EPHC in May 2009, represents the working group's assessment of fuel efficiency measures in light of international experience and input from stakeholders. COAG considered the report in July 2009.

IX    National transport policy

In May 2009, the Department supported the ATC by working with states, territories and industry to develop and/or implement national transport policy initiatives. Priorities included:

  • managing planning and investment in infrastructure to better serve supply chains;
  • improving the integration of passenger transport and land use planning; and
  • improving Australia's congestion management capabilities.

The Department also progressed initiatives to encourage market operational efficiencies through the reform of regulatory arrangements in the maritime, rail and heavy vehicle sectors.

The Department proposed a streamlined structure of subcommittees to support the Standing Committee on Transport. The subcommittees will focus on the ATC's productivity, safety, environment, security, maritime and network performance agendas.

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