Other transport programs
Program 2.2-Surface Transport (continued)
IV. Road transport policy
The Department worked with jurisdictions and the National Transport Commission to extend implementation of national transport reforms to improve transport efficiency and safety. Fatigue regulation has been in place for a number of years in some jurisdictions and the Department participated in an evaluation of its implementation to identify opportunities to enhance its effectiveness.
The Department participated in Performance Based Standards (PBS) Review Panel evaluations of applications for innovative higher productivity and improved safety PBS vehicles and encouraged wider access to the road network for these and other higher productivity vehicles. The Department was also active in evaluations of opportunities for refining and enhancing the effectiveness of the PBS scheme.
Agencies commenced work to evaluate the extent to which new technologies are able to be utilised to assist the industry to comply with heavy vehicle regulation and to provide improved mechanisms for regulators to enforce those regulations. Electronic log books, electronic speed management and on board mass monitoring are technologies being evaluated and this work is likely to lead to trials of these technologies for compliance and enforcement.
V. National heavy vehicle regulation
In May 2009 the Australian Transport Council (ATC) endorsed a regulatory impact statement, developed by the Department, covering options for a national approach to heavy vehicle regulation. On 2 July 2009, COAG agreed to implement a national framework for heavy vehicle regulation, comprising a national heavy vehicle regulator and national laws, by 2013.
In February 2010, governments agreed that Queensland would host the national heavy vehicle regulator and national heavy vehicle laws, to be applied by each other state and territory. A project office has been established with assistance from the Department. The Department supported the ATC in deciding key elements of the national regulatory framework including governance arrangements, scope and function of the national heavy vehicle regulator and major policy aspects of the national laws.
The Department continued to oversight the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme (FIRS) administered by the states and territories. The Department amended the FIRS legislation to implement the nationally agreed annual adjustment to heavy vehicle registration charges for FIRS vehicles to apply from 1 July 2010. The future operation of the FIRS will be considered in the context of the implementation of the national regulator and laws.
VI. Transport standards
The Department accepted the independent consultant's final report on the review of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport. The Australian Government's response to the report is expected to be released early in 2010–11.
VII. Environmental standards
International Maritime Organization
The IMO is a specialised agency of the United Nations which is responsible for measures to improve the safety and security of international shipping and to prevent marine pollution from ships. Its responsibilities include the development of conventions and standards.
Following Australia's re-election to the IMO Council, the Minister addressed the 26th Assembly of the IMO. The Council is the executive organ of the IMO and is responsible, under the Assembly, for supervising the work of the IMO in between the two-yearly Assembly meetings.
In 2009–10, the IMO adopted the 2010 Hazardous and Noxious Substances Protocol. The 2010 protocol addresses issues relating to packaged chemicals; contributions to the Hazardous and Noxious Substances Fund in respect of liquified natural gas; and the non-submission of contributing cargo reports. When the 1996 International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, as amended by the 2010 protocol, enters into force internationally, it will ensure that more than $400.0 million is available to Australia to pay compensation to victims suffering damage (including pollution damage) or injury resulting from an incident involving the carriage of hazardous and noxious substances carried on ships. Payments will be paid by the ship-owner and the Hazardous and Noxious Substances Fund, an international fund financed by contributions levied on persons and organisations who recieve hazardous and noxious substances after transport by sea.
International fund for compensation for oil pollution damage
On 13 October 2009, Australia became a party to the Protocol of 2003 to the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage 1992 (the Supplementary Fund Protocol). The Supplementary Fund Protocol established the Supplementary Fund. Under previous arrangements, the maximum amount of compensation available to victims of pollution damage resulting from a spill of oil from an oil tanker was approximately $350.0 million. The Supplementary Fund supplements this amount so that the maximum amount payable in respect of any one incident is now approximately $1.3 billion. The Supplementary Fund is an international fund financed by contributions levied on persons and organisations who receive oil after its transport by sea.
National plan to combat pollution of the sea by oil and other hazardous and noxious substances
The National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil and other Hazardous and Noxious Substances is a national integrated government and industry organisational framework enabling effective response to marine pollution incidents. AMSA manages the operations of the National Plan, in consultation with state jurisdictions, the Northern Territory Government and industry stakeholders. The Department is a member of the National Plan Management Committee, which provides strategic direction to maximise Australia's marine pollution response capabilities.
The Department continued to progress initiatives which deliver or facilitate improvements in the environmental performance of the road transport sector, including by:
- maintaining and updating the GVG website www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au
- developing amendments to the mandatory fuel consumption labelling standard to address electric vehicles
- concluding the public consultation phase on the Department's regulation impact statement (RIS) examining the case for upgrading Australia's existing vehicle air pollutant emissions standards to adopt stricter international ("Euro 5/6") standards aimed at maintaining improvements in urban air quality in our major cities, with commensurate health benefits, and
- commencing the implementation of COAG-endorsed measures to improve vehicle fuel efficiency under the National Strategy on Energy Efficiency, including engaging a consultant to prepare the consultation RIS on carbon dioxide emissions standards for light vehicles (the RIS is expected to be released for public comment early in 2010–11).
Energy efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions
Through BITRE, the Department continues to provide the Australian Government's transport energy and carbon dioxide emissions analysis and projections, including for international reporting obligations, and contributed to the Prime Minister's Taskforce on Energy Efficiency recommendations on transport.
VIII. National transport strategy
During 2009–10, the Department worked with its counterparts in other jurisdictions to:
- finalise the National Transport and Logistics Workforce Planning and Skills Strategic Action Plan, which was endorsed by the ATC in November 2009 -in conjunction with the Transport and Logistics Centre and the Victorian Department of Transport, the Department will host a forum to discuss ways to achieve the objectives outlined in the strategic action plan, in the second half of 2010
- develop a complete set of national urban transport performance indicators and an annual national reporting program, to help assess the impact of current and future network management initiatives at both the local level and the national level
- finalise the Australian Strategic Transportation Agenda for Research and Technology, which was endorsed by the ATC in November 2009, as an initial step towards a future technology framework-the Department also played a lead role in facilitating the establishment of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government's Inquiry into Smart Infrastructure, and
- finalise the National Guidelines for Passenger Transport and Land Use Planning Integration, to guide best practice in reconciling passenger transport needs with urban land use planning. These guidelines were endorsed by the ATC in April 2010 and have been referred to the Local Government and Planning Ministers' Council for consideration. The guidelines are being trialled in Victoria and South Australia as a possible national benchmark to support COAG's strategic planning criteria for capital cities.
In 2009–10, COAG agreed to implement, by 2013, a package of reforms designed to lift the productivity, safety and efficiency of Australia's transport network through nationally consistent regulation of heavy vehicles, rail safety and maritime safety.
The national rail safety regulator will be established under legislation of the South Australian Parliament, to regulate all rail operations and administer national rail safety law. The Department assisted with establishing a project office in South Australia to manage implementation and transition processes.
COAG further agreed to extend the ATSB's role to operate as an enhanced national rail safety investigator covering almost all commercial rail operators. The Department is assisting the ATSB to implement its expanded role.
The Department continued to collaborate with the states, territories and industry to support the ATC in deciding key elements of the national regulatory frameworks. Central to this work has been the negotiation of National Partnership Agreements for COAG's consideration in 2010–11 to establish the necessary frameworks to implement the national heavy vehicle, rail safety and maritime safety systems by 2013.