Chapter 4: Transport

Program 2.2—Surface Transport

Highlights

Key achievements for the Department in 2012–13 were the National Transport Regulation reforms, including the establishment of the new National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, the new National Rail Safety Regulator, expansion of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's role to be the national regulator of commercial vessels, and the expansion of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's role to be the national ‘no blame’ investigator for rail safety incidents.

After approximately three years of planning, public and whole-of-government consultation, extensive drafting, and commitment and cooperation by all stakeholders, the Navigation Act 2012 received Royal Assent on 13 September 2012. The Act replaces the century old Navigation Act 1912 with a contemporary legislative framework for maritime regulation. The Act reflects changes in the maritime sector and is the primary legislative means for the Australian Government to regulate international ship and seafarer safety, shipping aspects of protecting the marine environment and the actions of seafarers in Australian waters. It also gives effect to the relevant international conventions to which Australia is a signatory. The Navigation Act 2012 commenced on 1 July 2013.

The Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012 commenced on 1 July 2012, replacing Part VI of the Navigation Act 1912. The revised approach to licensing of coastal trade is a significant component of broader Australian Government reforms to the maritime and shipping industry. In late June 2013 the Department launched an electronic processing system for licences related to coastal trade. This system is expected to significantly simplify the process for applicants and licence holders.

The final deliverable under the Stronger Shipping for a Stronger Economy reform package was realised with presentation to the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport of the Maritime Workforce Development Strategy in May 2013. The strategy, authored by the Maritime Workforce Development Forum, recommends a strategic response to the skills issues facing the Australian maritime industry. In response, the Prime Minister committed $5.0 million over three years under the Sustaining Australia's Maritime Skills Budget measure to deliver co-contribution subsidies to industry to support training berths on ships, the ongoing efforts of the forum and for workforce census activities.

Overview

Program 2.2 was delivered through the work of the Surface Transport Policy Division, with input from the Policy and Research Division. The surface transport program contributes to Outcome 2 through activities to improve performance of the surface transport industry to benefit all Australians.

Summary of Performance

Tables 4.4 and 4.5 summarise the Department's results in Program 2.2 against the key performance indicators and deliverables and their targets, as published in the 2012–13 PB Statements.

Table 4.4 Summary of performance—Program 2.2 key performance indicators

Key performance indicator Target Result
Targeted transport regulatory reform initiatives are developed and progressed through COAG to enable single national systems of regulation, maritime safety legislation and rail safety regulation and investigation. The COAG national reform agenda is actively progressed in conjunction with all state and territory governments. 12–13 Partially Achieved 11–12 Substantially Achieved 10–11 Achieved 09–10 Achieved
The Department worked with chief executives of national regulators and state and territory governments on implementing the National Rail Safety Regulator and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. Key achievements were: agreement to national regulations by the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure ministers in 2012; passage of national laws in various state and territory government parliaments; appointment of the chief executive officer of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and the non-executive directors of the National Rail Safety Regulator; and the start of the National Rail Safety Regulator and National Heavy Vehicle Regulator from January 2013.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator will start regulating road access permit arrangements and heavy vehicle safety from late 2013. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority became the national maritime safety regulator on 1 July 2013.
Ensure the competitiveness and sustainability of Australian coastal shipping. Implementation of Government commitments on shipping industry reform. 12–13 Achieved 11–12 Achieved 10–11 Achieved 09–10 Achieved
The Department launched the online Coastal Trading Licensing System on 13 June 2013, which has reduced administrative burden on industry and improved effectiveness of the Department's administration of coastal trading legislation.

As part of the Australian Government's Stronger Shipping for a Stronger Economy package of reforms, the Australian Government introduced the Shipping Reform (Tax Incentives) Act 2012 with tax concessions available to the shipping industry.

The Act provides for certificates after the end of the financial year to applicants who meet requirements of the regime. It also gives companies applying for these concessions for the first time, the opportunity to obtain a ‘notice’ during the first year of entry that will give them a degree of comfort that the arrangements they propose will meet the requirements of the Act, thus reducing the pressure on both them and the Department when compiling their tax returns.

During 2012–13 the Department received 16 applications for a tax notice, out of the 28 general licensed (Australian flagged) vessels under the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012.
Policy advice is influential in COAG's consideration to improve the environmental performance of the Australian new vehicle fleet. Implement the Australian Government's commitment to introduce mandatory CO2 emission standards from 2015. 12–13 Partially Achieved 11–12 Partially Achieved 10–11 Achieved 09–10 Achieved
The Department continued to progress work and to advise the Minister on implementing mandatory CO2 emissions standards for light vehicles.
Result Key
Achieved All targets for 2012–13 were met or exceeded.
Substantially achieved Targets were mostly met, and any issues are being managed.
Partially achieved Some targets were met, and any issues are being managed.
Not achieved None or minimal progress was made against targets in 2012–13.

Table 4.5 Summary of performance—Program 2.2 deliverables

Deliverable Target Result
SCOTI and COAG decisions on developing and implementing national approaches to heavy vehicle regulation, maritime safety and rail safety regulation and investigation are progressed. COAG and SCOTI decisions are implemented within agreed timeframes and decision making by SCOTI Ministers is facilitated. See result for first key performance indicator in Table 4.4.
Subject to COAG's agreement to proceed to the next phase of the CRRP work, the provision of policy input to the CRRP on packages of funding and charging reform arrangements. Advice prepared for SCOTI and delivery of reform packages to COAG in accordance with the agreed timeframe. Work on a Regulation Impact Statement should COAG agree to proceed. The Department continued policy input to and governance oversight of work on a Regulation Impact Statement on the COAG Road Reform Plan (CRRP), which has been renamed Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment Reform.
Maintain the Green Vehicle Guide (GVG) website as the principal place for information on the environmental performance of new light vehicles in the Australian market place. Increased web hits and citation of GVG ratings in elements of the media. The Green Vehicle Guide continues to be the primary environmental information source for media in new model reviews and broader articles discussing the environmental performance of new vehicles. In 2012–13, the monthly web usage rates were slightly below the average for 2011–12.
Implement the Commonwealth's commitment to CO2 emission standards for light vehicles from 2015, and implement additional COAG agreed measures on vehicle fuel efficiency and low emission vehicles in consultation with the States, Territories and key stakeholders. Develop and implement agreed mandatory CO2 standards and COAG actions within agreed timeframes. The Department continued to progress work and advise the Minister on implementing mandatory CO2 emissions standards for light vehicles, consistent with the Australian Government's election commitment. Work on broader measures has not proceeded as a result of a jurisdictional review of actions under the National Strategy on Energy Efficiency.
Government endorsed actions in response to the Review of Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport are implemented. Implement agreed Government actions in consultation with key stakeholders. Meet Government timeframes and guidelines. The Department continued to work with state and territory government representatives, disability sector organisations and peak public transport bodies towards implementing the Australian Government's response to the first review of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (transport standards). The Department also began the second review of the transport standards. A review is required every five years under part 34 of the transport standards.
Contribute to the development and implementation of international shipping conventions to protect the environment and ensure maritime safety. Ongoing international and domestic stakeholder engagement. Development and implementation of legislation and regulations in line with agreed government policy and international conventions. The Department engaged with key stakeholders and took part in several meetings at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), as well as domestic meetings about marine environment protection.
Implement the Australian Government's commitment to revitalise the Australian shipping industry. Develop and implement agreed policy measures within agreed timeframes. The Department processed over 900 applications covering over 2,000 voyages under the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012, and 16 applications for accessing shipping reform tax incentives.
Efficient and effective management of administered items. Items are administered in accordance with relevant legislation, published guidelines and ANAO guidance. Items were administered in accordance with relevant legislation, published guidelines and ANAO guidance.

Table 4.6 provides a summary of the results achieved by each of the administered items under Program 2.2.

Table 4.6 Summary of performance—Program 2.2 administered items

Administered Item Result
Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme $34.5 million provided in 2012–13 reduced the cost of crossing Bass Strait for eligible passengers by lowering the fare for their accompanying passenger vehicles.
International Maritime Organization—contribution The Department administered payment of Australia's annual membership contribution to the 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 in IMO committees and subcommittees. The total contribution for 2012–13 was $183,839.
Interstate Road Transport Fees The state and territory governments collected $75.8 million in heavy vehicle registration charges on behalf of the Australian Government during 2012–13. In March 2013 there were 17,620 heavy vehicles and trailers operating under the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme. All revenue collected is paid to the Australian Government for redistribution to state and territory governments for road maintenance.
National Transport Reform In 2012–13, the Australian Government provided $22.8 million to finish setting up the head offices of the National Rail Safety Regulator (in South Australia) and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (in Queensland).
OECD Road Transport—contribution The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics managed Australian participation in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)—International Transport Forum Joint Transport Research Centre. This included international research collaboration on funding transport infrastructure, risk and optimism bias in public private partnerships, public transport ex-post evaluation, the effectiveness of road safety measures and adapting infrastructure to extreme weather and climate change.
Oil Pollution Compensation Fund The Department managed Australia's obligations under the International Oil Pollution Fund, providing compensation to cover 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 oil or heavy oil by sea made contributions in accordance with levies imposed by the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds.
Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme $111.0 million in assistance was provided to eligible shippers under the scheme, an increase of $17.8 million from the previous financial year.
Tasmanian Wheat Freight Scheme The scheme remained open to shippers of bulk wheat, but there was no uptake in 2012–13. Containerised wheat shipments were supported through the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme.

Note: The budget and actual expenditure for each administered item is listed in Appendix A.

Detailed Report on Performance

The following report is against the components of Program 2.2 in the 2012–13 PB Statements.

(a) National Heavy Vehicle and Rail Safety Regulation

The National Rail Safety Regulator began operations on 20 January 2013, regulating rail safety in South Australia, New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Tasmania under the Rail Safety National Law Act 2012. Victoria has passed legislation to apply the national law and is expected to join the national system in the second half of 2013. At 30 June 2013, Queensland, Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory had not yet introduced enabling legislation. For more information about the National Rail Safety Regulator see <www.onrsr.com.au>. Also from 20 January 2013, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) expanded its role to be the national rail safety investigator.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator was established on 21 January 2013, following the passage of the Heavy Vehicle National Law Act 2012 and the Heavy Vehicle National Law Amendment Act 2013 in Queensland. The regulator administers the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme and will undertake other functions under the national law, following the passage of legislation in other jurisdictions. Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania have passed legislation to apply the national law and South Australia has introduced legislation. At 30 June 2013, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory had not yet introduced legislation. Western Australia has not yet committed to implementing this reform. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is expected to start regulating road access permit arrangements and heavy vehicle safety in most states from late 2013. For more information about the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator see www.nhvr.gov.au.

The Department continued to work with state and territory governments and the new national regulators to implement national laws and transition regulatory responsibilities from the state government regulators to the national regulators.

(b) National Maritime Safety Regulation

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) became the national maritime safety regulator on 1 July 2013, replacing eight separate maritime safety regulatory frameworks with one. The Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2013 was proclaimed on 28 March to commence on 1 July 2013, and all state governments (with the exception of Western Australia and Queensland) and the Northern Territory have passed their relevant application laws and accepted delegations to commence services on AMSA's behalf. Alternative arrangements were agreed between AMSA and Western Australia and Queensland to ensure the smooth start of the national system.

(c) Shipping Policy and Regulation

During 2012–13 the Department, on behalf of the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, granted 44 general and transitional general licences under the Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Act 2012. Temporary licences were granted to 45 separate entities, covering more than 2,000 voyages. These licences facilitated coastal cargo trade where no general or transitional general licensed vessel was available.

Part X of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010—Registrar of Liner Shipping

Part X of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) enables liner shipping operators to enter into collaborative agreements for supplying joint or coordinated shipping services to Australian exporters and importers by giving such agreements limited exemption from the anti-competitive conduct provisions of the CCA. Under the agreements operators can fix routes, capacity, sailing schedules and prices, share operational functions and/or exchange commercial information, as long as the conditions specified in Part X are fulfilled. Part X is administered within the Department by the Registrar of Liner Shipping, who is appointed by the Minister.

During 2012–13, about 52 provisional registrations and 25 final registrations for international joint shipping agreements were approved under Part X. All were registered within legislated time frames, taking an average of six days per agreement. Two conference agreements were terminated at the stakeholder's request.

Funding of $18,000, tied to enhanced business planning processes and progress towards more effective cost recovery for services provided on behalf of members, was provided to enable the Australian Peak Shippers Association to move towards self-sufficiency and longer-term viability as the outwards peak shipper body designated under Part X of the CCA.

(d) Maritime Safety and Environment

Australian Maritime Safety Authority

The Department continues to perform tasks relating to governance and liaison with AMSA. They include briefing the Minister on AMSA's corporate plan, annual report and board appointments. The Department and AMSA collaborate to support the Australian Government's maritime safety agenda, as well as briefings and ministerial responses on AMSA-related issues.

International Maritime Organization

The International Maritime Organization is a specialised United Nations agency responsible for improving safety and security of international shipping and preventing marine pollution from ships.

The Department attended the following International Maritime Organization meetings:

  • Marine Environment Protection Committee in October 2012 and May 2013
  • Legal Committee in April 2013
  • Council in November 2012
  • Maritime Safety Committee in November 2012, and
  • International Oil Pollution Funds in October 2012.

Case Study

National Transport Regulators

In late 2009, COAG agreed to replace 23 separate state government and federal regulators covering heavy vehicles, rail safety and maritime safety and their myriad of different regulations and laws, with three national regulators and three national laws. Transport ministers signed three intergovernmental agreements on 19 August 2011 to set timeframes and plans for implementation. These important transport regulation reforms have the potential to boost national income by up to $30.0 billion over the next 20 years, through modernising regulations, reducing red tape for the transport industry and improving road access for heavy vehicles.

The Department worked cooperatively with state and territory governments and assisted project offices to establish two new organisations—the National Rail Safety Regulator and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. The Department also worked with state and territory governments and the National Transport Commission to develop the national laws governing rail safety and heavy vehicle regulation arrangements. The Department worked with AMSA to expand its role to regulate all domestic commercial vessels, and with ATSB to expand its role to become the national ‘no blame’ investigator for rail safety incidents and accidents.

Australian and state and territory transport ministers are oversighting the reforms, under the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure, chaired by the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Ministers are responsible for approving national laws and regulations and governance of the new national regulators and reforms.

The National Rail Safety Regulator opened its doors on 20 January 2013, and is regulating rail safety in South Australia, New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Tasmania. For more information about the National Rail Safety Regulator see www.onrsr.com.au.

On 20 January 2013 ATSB expanded its role to be the national rail safety investigator.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator opened for business on 21 January 2013, following passage of the Heavy Vehicle National Law Act 2012 and the Heavy Vehicle National Law Amendment Act 2013 in Queensland.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator was expected to start regulating road access arrangements and heavy vehicle safety in most states from late 2013. For more information about the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator see www.nhvr.gov.au.

On 1 July 2013 AMSA became the national safety regulator for domestic commercial vessels, making it the safety regulator for international trading vessels and domestic commercial vessels in Australian waters. The new maritime safety regulatory arrangements replace eight separate regulatory regimes with one national regulator, one national law and one national system.

As part of the maritime reforms, AMSA worked with the seven states and Northern Territory maritime regulators to deliver the national system for domestic commercial vessel safety, enabling the seamless movement of domestic commercial vessels and crew around the country under one regulatory system.

National Transport

(e) Road Transport Policy

The Department continued to work with jurisdictions, industry and the National Transport Commission (NTC) to develop and implement national transport reforms to improve transport productivity and safety. Key achievements and areas of work in 2012–13 included:

  • the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure agreement in May 2013 to recommendations of a New South Wales-led trial of electronic work diaries
  • the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure agreement in May 2013 to recommendations in a NTC Heavy Vehicle Charges Review and subsequent work on a heavy vehicle charges determination Regulation Impact Statement (RIS)
  • leading development of a report to senior officials in September 2012 on voluntary take-up of in-vehicle telematics by heavy vehicle operators for regulatory compliance purposes and subsequent engagement in NTC work on heavy vehicle telematics compliance and enforcement framework flowing from agreed recommendations
  • leading development of a report to senior officials in September 2012 on initiatives to enhance access by higher productivity vehicles, and
  • ongoing support for the Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme including participation in the PBS Review Panel and advice on the development of a PBS RIS which sought agreement to changes to the PBS scheme to improve access and take-up.
National Transport Commission review

The Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure reviewed the role of the NTC and other related transport bodies in 2012–13, in light of establishment of national heavy vehicle and rail safety regulators from January 2013. The Department provided the secretariat for this review.

(f) COAG Road Reform Plan (Renamed Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment)

Following COAG consideration of the findings and recommendations of the COAG Road Reform Plan Feasibility Study, COAG agreed in July 2012 to proceed with the development of a RIS on packages of heavy vehicle charging and investment reform options. Given the renewed focus on investment reform contained in the feasibility study's recommendations, the initiative has also been renamed the Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment (HVCI) Reform. A revised governance framework sees representation on the Project Board extended beyond transport agencies to include Australian Government and state and territory government treasuries, as well as industry.

The Department helped develop the HVCI RIS through representation on the HVCI Project Board and the HVCI High Level Reference Group. The RIS is to be submitted to COAG for consideration in mid 2014 with implementation of any agreed recommendations only occurring should COAG agree to proceed.

(g) Tasmanian Transport Schemes

Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme

The Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme lowers 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. The rebate is provided as a reduction in the fare charged by service providers to drivers of eligible passenger vehicles. Drivers who fly across Bass Strait between the Australian mainland and either King Island or the islands in the Furneaux Group, but ship their vehicles, may also be eligible for a rebate.

The service provider is reimbursed for the total rebate provided to eligible passengers. In 2012–13, the major recipient was TT-Line, which operates the passenger ferries between Devonport and Melbourne.

Claims are processed by the Department of Human Services' Hobart office. The scheme is demand driven and costs vary with the number and mix of vehicles shipped across Bass Strait. Assistance delivered by the scheme in 2012–13 of $34.5 million was marginally below the 2011–12 figure of $34.6 million.

Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme

The Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme aims to alleviate the sea freight cost disadvantage for businesses 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 20-foot equivalent unit is available.

Claims are processed by the Department of Human Services' Hobart office. The scheme is demand-driven. Assistance delivered by the scheme in 2012–13 was $111.0 million, an increase of $17.2 million on last year's figure of $93.2 million. The number of claims lodged in 2012–13 was 9,880 compared with 11,257 in 2011–12. The number of claims paid in 2012–13 was also lower, amounting to 9,128 compared with 9,860 in 2011–12.

Tasmanian Wheat Freight Scheme

The Tasmanian Wheat Freight Scheme aims to alleviate the cost of shipping eligible bulk wheat to Tasmania so that businesses in Tasmania relying on bulk wheat shipments are not unduly disadvantaged. Assistance of up to $20.65 a tonne is available. The scheme operates by making payments to eligible shippers responsible for paying the sea-freight costs of eligible bulk wheat shipments.

There was no uptake of the Tasmanian Wheat Freight Scheme in 2012–13 for bulk wheat shipments; however containerised wheat shipments continued to receive assistance through the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme.

(h) Transport Disability Standards

The Department began a second five-year review of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (transport standards) in November 2012. More than 90 submissions were received from people with a disability, disability organisations, state, territory and local governments, transport operators and the motorised mobility device industry. The Department conducted 15 public consultation sessions around Australia to hear directly from people with disability and transport operators so that community views were accurately reflected in the review report. As well as reflecting views expressed in consultation sessions and submissions, the review report will assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the transport standards in removing discrimination in each state and territory as required by part 34 of the standards.

As well as the review, the Department continued to facilitate the Australian Government's response to the first five-year review of the transport standards through its role in chairing the Accessible Public Transport Jurisdictional Committee, which is supported by the Accessible Public Transport National Advisory Committee. The report of the second review is expected to be finalised in 2013–14.

(i) Environmental Standards

The Department continued to progress work on mandatory CO2 emissions standards for light vehicles.

The Department contributed to the development of the Energy White Paper, which identified a policy framework to guide the transformation of Australia's energy and resource sectors, including transport fuel use.

The Department continued to maintain and update the Green Vehicle Guide www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au which helps private, government business consumers to make decisions about the environmental performance of new light vehicles.

Case Study

Review of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport

In 2012, the Department held consultations around the country to hear from people with disability and transport operators about public transport accessibility.

While state and territory governments are responsible for running public transport, the Australian Government plays a vital role through the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (transport standards) made under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

Many people with disability rely on public transport to get to work, socialise and be part of communities. It is not just about buses, trains and ferries; taxis and aircraft are also important. People with disability need to have access to all modes to fully participate. Aviation is an Australian Government responsibility and the Department's Aviation and Airports Division has been involved since the beginning of the review in November 2012.

Ensuring that the whole community is able to access public transport is a complex policy challenge that engages transport users, transport businesses and all three levels of government.

The second transport standards review began in late 2012 and public consultations enabled people with disability and transport operators to reflect community views directly in the review report. Sessions were held in each capital city and some regional centres in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. As well as reflecting the views expressed in consultations and submissions, the review report will examine the efficiency and effectiveness of the transport standards in removing discrimination in each state and territory with public transport access for people with disability.

In 2008, Australia ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities joining other countries in promoting equal and active participation of all people with a disability. The National Disability Strategy was launched in 2011 to ensure that the principles underpinning the United Nations convention are reflected in government programs and to ensure that people with disability can fully participate in social, economic, sporting and cultural life.

By talking to people with disability, the review team heard personal stories of hardship and resilience, and saw examples of how good access to transport had transformed lives. Transport operators described innovations in infrastructure and communications that they used to make public transport more accessible, as well as the challenges they faced in implementing the transport standards.

In addition to the consultation sessions, the review team received over 90 submissions, including submissions from state and territory governments measuring compliance against the schedules in the transport standards. The report is expected to be finalised in 2013–14.

Review of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport

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Last Updated: 10 December, 2014