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Appendices

Appendix B - Activities of the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics

This appendix provides an overview of the activities of the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) in 2008-09.

Overview

BITRE provides economic analysis, research and statistics on infrastructure, transport, local government and regional development issues, for the purposes of informing both Australian Government policy development and wider community understanding. Dissemination of the results of BITRE research and analysis contributes to better informed public debate on portfolio issues.

BITRE's research, analysis and statistics program is developed in the Department's business planning cycle and is available from the BITRE website, at www.bitre.gov.au.

BITRE also includes the Department's Climate Change Task Force, which coordinates departmental involvement in engagement with the government's climate change policy agenda.

Research

Among its major research activities in 2008-09, BITRE:

  • released detailed forecasts, to 2030, of traffic on the non-urban national road network;
  • conducted and released research into urban transport trends in Australian cities;
  • participated in the Treasury's modelling of the economic impact of emissions-trading scenarios;
  • produced a paper for the Australian Council of Local Government on the regional impacts of the economic downturn;
  • progressed a range of projects, including:
    • evaluating the Nation Building Black Spot Projects program;
    • estimating the cost of road crashes;
    • projecting traffic on the National Network urban corridors; and
    • researching the spatial distribution of income support payments, and the cost of living in Australia's regions;
  • undertook analysis in areas including transport regulatory reform and local government growth pressures to inform policy and program development; and
  • provided advice to other departments, drawing on expertise in areas such as small area income, wealth and social capital measurement.

Statistics

BITRE holds unique collections of data on aviation, maritime and land transport, which are made available in a number of regular publication series.

BITRE's Waterline series provides information on the performance of Australia's container ports. During 2008-09 BITRE commenced investigation of the inclusion of bulk port performance information as outlined in the April 2009 issue of Waterline.

In 2008-09, BITRE released the second transport statistics yearbook, an annual compendium of transport statistics and trends. BITRE commenced developing an expanded yearbook, to include statistics in infrastructure sectors other than transport.

BITRE also released the Northern Australian Statistical Compendium, which will inform the work of the Department's Office of Northern Australia.

Publications

Table B.1 provides a comprehensive listing of BITRE's major 2008-09 publications, all of which are available as free downloads from the BITRE website.

Table B.1 Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics publications, 2008-09

  Issue Title
Reports 115 Air transport services in regional Australia: trends and access
116 A regional economy - a case study of Tasmania
Working papers 74 Moving urban Australia: can congestion charging unclog our roads?
75 National road network intercity traffic projections to 2030
Information paper 63 Household wealth
Briefing paper 1 How do fuel use and emissions respond to price changes?
Information sheets 28 Freight rates in Australia 1964-65 to 2007-08
29 Public road-related expenditure and revenue in Australia 2008 update
31 Urban passenger transport: how people move about in Australian cities
32 Changes in Australia's industry structure: main cities 2001-06
Aviation statistics Monthly Airline on-time performance
International scheduled air transport
Australian domestic airline activity
Annual Airline on-time performance
International scheduled air transport
Australian domestic airline activity
Airport traffic data 1997-98 to 2006-07
General aviation 2007
Other major publications 12, 13 Avline
44, 45 Waterline
Economic wellbeing of Australia's regions (staff paper)
Northern Australia statistical compendium 2009
Australian transport statistics yearbook 2009
'Modelling the road transport sector', BITRE-CSIRO appendix to the Treasury's Australia's low pollution future: the economics of climate change mitigation
Tasmanian freight schemes parameter review
Regional economic growth database update 2005-06
The global economic downturn: some implications for Australian local governments

Conferences and workshops

BITRE's Infrastructure Colloquium on the theme 'Infrastructure for the nation's future' was held in June 2009. Approximately 210 delegates took part in a program, which covered topics such as infrastructure delivery, urban planning and transport, and local government issues. Speaker presentations can be downloaded from the BITRE website.

During 2008-09 BITRE convened a number of other workshops and seminars, as part of its role in promoting policy discussion. In October 2008, BITRE hosted a City Issues and Data workshop in Canberra, involving participants from the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors and various Australian Government departments. In April 2009, BITRE hosted a seminar with transport planner Todd Litman, Director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, British Columbia, Canada, on the future of urban transport. In June 2009, BITRE convened a seminar with Professor Kjell Aleklett from the Global Energy Systems Group at Uppsala University in Sweden, on oil depletion and transport energy issues.

BITRE staff members delivered 23 external presentations at a range of other seminars, conferences and government and community meetings.

International engagement

BITRE leads Australia's engagement with the International Transport Forum (ITF), part of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) family of organisations, and a global platform for transport, logistics and mobility issues.

In May 2009, the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government attended and participated in the ITF meeting of transport ministers, held in Leipzig, Germany, on the theme of 'Transport for a Global Economy: Challenges and Opportunities in the Downturn'. In total, almost 900 participants, representing 53 countries, attended the forum. The Australian delegation included 12 leaders from industry, government and the university sector.

As part of the preparation for the ITF meeting, Australia hosted a seminar in Sydney in January 2009. The participants included ITF representatives as well as international and Australian researchers and industry representatives. Australia and the United Kingdom co-chaired a task force which led the development of the forum program.

BITRE collaborates with the Joint OECD-ITF Transport Research Centre (JTRC) and with other JTRC members on research relevant to transport and infrastructure policy in Australia. In 2008-09, a senior BITRE researcher worked with the JTRC and specialists from other member countries to draft a report on options for managing transport reliability. An outline of the study is available from the ITF website, at www.internationaltransportforum.org.

Climate Change Task Force

The Climate Change Task Force coordinated the Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government portfolio's involvement in the Australian Government's climate change policy agenda. In particular, the taskforce participated in whole-of-government development of the legislative package for the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, which was led by the Department of Climate Change.

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