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Case Studies

Case Study 4.3 - Best Practice Regulation Reform for Single National Jurisdiction

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The Australian Transport Council (ATC) met in Melbourne on 2 May 2008 to examine a range of significant national infrastructure and transport issues. The Council is chaired by the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, the Minster for Infrastructure, Transport, and Regional Development and Local Government. ATC's membership comprises state and territory transport Ministers, the New Zealand Minister for Transport Safety and the President of the Australian Local Government Association. The outcomes of the ATC meeting were then presented to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) for response.

In September 2008, as a result of conclusions reached at the ATC meeting,COAG requested that the ATC prepare regulation impact statements considering options for single national systems for heavy vehicle regulation, maritime safety regulation, and national rail safety regulation and investigation.

On 22 May 2009 the ATC endorsed each of the three regulation impact statements for transmission to COAG. The ATC recommended that there be a single national regulator in place for each option. The ATC also recommended that COAG agree to direct the ATC to proceed with further development of arrangements so that by 2013:

  • the Australian Maritime Safety Authority would become the national regulator of all commercial vessels operating in Australian waters;
  • a new national heavy vehicle regulator would be responsible for regulating all vehicles over 4.5 tonnes gross, with a commitment to improving safety and preserving local productivity initiatives;
  • a national rail safety regulator would provide a one-stop shop for all clients operating in and on our rail networks; and
  • the Australian Safety Transport Bureau would become the preferred national rail safety incident investigator.

The ATC recognised that numerous issues would need to be addressed in order to deliver these national regulatory approaches. Accordingly, the ATC proposed to resolve certain key matters as a first priority, and report to COAG on those matters no later than mid 2010.

The key matters included:

  • which jurisdiction would host each national regulator;
  • what legislative changes would be required to implement the proposals for heavy vehicles and rail; and
  • how the implementation costs and ongoing expenses of each national system would be met.

It is expected that the resulting governance and financial arrangements will be incorporated into National Partnership agreements with relevant stakeholders prior to the new national systems commencing in 2012. Full implementation of the systems is expected to be achieved by 2013.

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