Chapter 4: Transport—Continued

Programme 2.2—Surface Transport

In Focus

National Heavy Vehicle Regulation

  • Work continued with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and the states and territories to implement further consistent heavy vehicle national laws and to facilitate greater safety and access for high productivity heavy vehicles to the road network.

Shipping Policy and Regulation

  • Legislation to reform coastal shipping was introduced to replace the current tiered licensing system with a single permit system for all Australian and foreign ships.
  • A submission was made to the Australian Government's Competition Policy Review (Harper Review) which included issues associated with liner shipping. The Department commenced work with the Treasury and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to provide advice to the Australian Government on the review recommendations.

Road Transport Policy

  • The legislative review of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 continued. In September 2014 an options paper was released and feedback was sought from stakeholders through workshops and submissions. The outcomes of the consultation and the Department's analysis informed the Australian Government's decision to consider the proposed reforms for the personal importation of new vehicles. Following further input from stakeholders, the Australian Government will consider a comprehensive reform package for the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 in early 2015–16.
  • Work continued with the states and territories and industry on an integrated national approach to address port and freight challenges. These national initiatives form the key themes of long–term, integrated planning, better national freight and ports data and better community engagement. The Transport and Infrastructure Council agreed to publish Australia's first national key freight route maps which identifies Australia's nationally significant places for freight, and maps the road and rail links that connect them. These maps will be further enhanced to include freight information. The next phase of the product is underway, with the creation of a dynamic, online map with enhanced interactive functionality. The maps can be found at

Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment Reform

  • Measures were progressed during the year which will lay the groundwork for longer term reform of heavy vehicle investment and charging arrangements. These will also allow industry to more directly engage in the road planning and investment decision making process.

Tasmanian Transport Schemes

  • The response to the Productivity Commission inquiry report on Tasmanian shipping and freight was announced in March 2015. A central element of the response was the expansion of the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme which will provide an additional $202.9 million to shippers over the next four years.

Transport Disability Standards

  • The second five-year review of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 was completed with the states and territories.
  • Arrangements were made to convene the National Accessible Public Transport Advisory Committee which held its inaugural meeting on 23 June 2015. The committee provides a mechanism for governments, the public transport industry, disability sector and other relevant organisations to discuss accessible public transport issues, with a particular focus on the transport standards.

Environmental Standards

  • Significant progress was made to redevelop the Green Vehicle Guide website The site compares the environmental performance of light vehicles, including information on fuel consumption, CO2 and air pollutant emissions.  It enables consumers to better estimate their annual fuel consumption and vehicle emissions and make informed decisions about their personal impacts on the environment.

Did you know?

The proportion of Australians who regularly walk when travelling to places other than work or full-time study fell between 2009 and 2012, even though there had been increases in Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart.

Source: Progress in Australian Regions—State of Regional Australia 2015

Summary of Performance

Table 4.4 Programme 2.2 key performance indicators

Key performance indicatorTargetResult
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 reform agenda is actively progressed with all state and territory governments. 2014–15
Substantially achieved
Substantially achieved
Partially achieved
Substantially achieved
Progress has been made in achieving greater regulatory coverage for the heavy vehicle and rail sectors. Complete national coverage has yet to be achieved.
Ensure the competitiveness and sustainability of coastal shipping in the Australian economy. Regulatory setting is optimised to support access to efficient and competitive shipping services. 2014–15
Substantially achieved
The Department has made a number of administrative changes to ensure efficient and effective regulation of the coastal shipping industry in Australia under the existing legislative framework. A number of changes have been made to the application process for temporary licences.

The Department also conducted significant consultative activities in support of policy development linked to the Shipping Legislation Amendment Bill 2015.

All applications for licences have been assessed under the existing legislative framework within the legislated periods. In the vast majority of cases, assessments significantly exceeded targets for processing times. In 2014–15 the Department:

  • granted three new general licences
  • granted 67 new temporary licences
  • approved 943 variations to matters authorised by a temporary licence
  • approved 229 applications to add new matters to a temporary licence
  • approved three variations to a temporary licence for an energy security situation, and
  • refused 53 applications in whole or part for a temporary licence or to vary a temporary licence.

Result Key
Achieved All targets for 2014–15 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 2014–15.

Table 4.5 Programme 2.2 deliverables

COAG and Transport and Infrastructure Council decisions on developing and implementing national approaches to heavy vehicle regulation, maritime safety, and rail safety regulation and investigation are progressed. COAG and Transport and Infrastructure Council decisions are facilitated and implemented within agreed timeframes. National approaches to heavy vehicle regulation, maritime safety and rail safety and investigation were progressed in line with the Transport and Infrastructure Council and COAG timeframes.
Contribute to the progress of work for heavy vehicle charging and investment reforms. COAG and Transport and Infrastructure Council decisions are facilitated and implemented within agreed timeframes. The Transport and Infrastructure Council agreed in May 2014 to progress initial heavy vehicle road reform measures to lay the foundations of future phases of heavy vehicle market reform of investment and charging arrangements. The Department is leading this work in consultation with state, territory and local governments and the National Transport Commission.
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 International Maritime Organization is a specialised United Nations agency responsible for improving safety and security of international shipping and preventing marine pollution from ships. Officers of the Department attended the following International Maritime Organization meetings:

  • Marine Environment Protection Committee meetings in October 2014 and May 2015
  • Facilitation Committee in September 2014
  • Maritime Safety Committee in December 2014, and
  • Council in December 2014 and June 2015.
The Department introduced the Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims Amendment Bill 2015 to increase the liability limits for ship owners and salvors for maritime claims relating to ship-sourced damage. This will more adequately reflect the costs of such incidents.
Develop strong maritime policy agenda with particular focus on optimising the regulation of the coastal shipping sector. Reforms to regulatory setting are in line with Australian Government policy agenda. On 25 June 2015 the Deputy Prime Minister introduced the Shipping Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 into Parliament.

The Bill gives effect to the Australian Government's reforms to coastal shipping.
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 Australian National Audit Office guidance.

Table 4.6 Programme 2.2 administered items

Administered ItemResult
Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme A total of $40.9 million was provided to reduce the cost of sea travel across Bass Strait for eligible passengers by lowering the fare for their accompanying eligible passenger vehicles.
International Maritime Organization—contribution The Department administered payment of Australia's annual membership contribution to the International Maritime Organization. Membership allows the Australian Government to promote Australia's interests in International Maritime Organization committees and sub-committees. The total contribution for 2014–15 was $0.3 million.
Interstate Road Transport Fees State and territory governments collected $73.6 million in heavy vehicle registration charges on behalf of the Australian Government in 2014–15.
In March 2015 there were 13,726 heavy vehicles and trailers operating under the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme. All revenue collected from the scheme is paid to the Australian Government for distribution to the states and territories for road maintenance.
OECD Road Transport—contribution The Department administered Australia's annual contribution towards the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development/International Transport Forum Joint Transport Research Centre. This initiative organises longer-term research projects under the oversight of member countries' transport ministries and research agencies through the Joint Transport Research Committee. Membership enables the Australian Government to influence the Joint Transport Research Centre's forward work programme and promote successful Australian transport policy initiatives. This can either be through direct participation of Australian transport experts in Joint Transport Research Centre sponsored projects or representation of Australian senior executives at Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development/International Transport Forum events. Australia's 2014–15 contribution was $46,000.
Oil Pollution Compensation Funds The Oil Pollution Compensation Fund provides compensation to cover damages resulting from an oil tanker spill if the costs exceed the tanker owner's liability or the owner's ability to pay. All people or companies that received more than 150,000 tonnes of crude oil or heavy oil by sea, made contributions during the year in accordance with levies imposed by the fund.
Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme A total of $111.9 million in assistance was provided to eligible shippers under this scheme.

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

Did you know?

The value of international freight through ports and airports increased by more than $140.0 billion between 2006–07 and 2012–13 and the outback region of Western Australia had an increase of almost $54.0 billion.

Source: Progress in Australian Regions—State of Regional Australia 2015

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Last Updated: 7 December, 2015