Chapter 2: Department Overview

Department Overview

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development is at the forefront of the Australian Government's efforts to secure Australia's economic future and improve living standards. This is achieved through infrastructure planning, strategic investment in transport infrastructure, transport system reform, regulation of transport safety and security, and strategic development of policies and programs. The Department assists Australia's regions and communities to strengthen their economic base and provides the non-self-governing territories with community services and capital investment. It is responsible for:

  • infrastructure planning, investment, financing and coordination
  • regional development, policy and coordination
  • major projects facilitation
  • maritime transport
  • land transport
  • transport safety
  • transport security
  • civil aviation and airports
  • territories' reform and service delivery, and
  • local government programs.

Our purposes are to:

Promote, evaluate, plan and invest in infrastructure and regional development - this relates to Outcome 1: Improved infrastructure across Australia through investment in and coordination of transport and other infrastructure, set out in the 2015–16 Portfolio Budget Statements
Foster an efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system - this relates to Outcome 2: An efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system for all transport users through regulation, financial assistance and safety investigations, set out in the 2015–16 Portfolio Budget Statements
Strengthen the sustainability, capacity and diversity of regional economies including through facilitating local partnerships between all levels of government and local communities - this relates to Outcome 3: Strengthening the sustainability, capacity and diversity of regional economies including through facilitating local partnerships between all levels of government and local communities; and providing grants and financial assistance, set out in the 2015–16 Portfolio Budget Statements
Provide good governance in the Australian territories - this relates to Outcome 4: Good governance in the Australian territories through the maintenance and improvement of the overarching legislative framework for self-governing territories, and laws and services for non-self-governing territories, set out in the 2015–16 Portfolio Budget Statements

Our work is informed by our vision to build capability through:

  • having a view on the right outcome
  • driving policy reform
  • leading program and project delivery
  • leading effective regulation
  • leading Australian investment strategy and planning, and
  • fostering a high-performing workforce.

Mapping Our Purpose, Program, Outcome and Division Structure

Figure 2.1 Departmental Purpose, Program, Outcome and Division Structure at 30 June 2016

PurposeProgramOutcomeDivision*More Info
Infrastructure
Promote, evaluate, plan and invest in infrastructure and regional development
Program 1.1
Infrastructure Investment
Outcome 1
Improved infrastructure across Australia through investment in, and coordination of, transport and other infrastructure
Infrastructure Investment Page 22
Transport
Foster an efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system
Program 2.1
Transport Security
Outcome 2
An efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system for all transport users through regulation, financial assistance and safety investigations
Office of Transport Security Page 30
Inspector of Transport Security  
Program 2.2
Surface Transport
Surface Transport Policy Page 34
Program 2.3
Road Safety
Surface Transport Policy Page 37
Program 2.4
Air Transport
Aviation and Airports Page 40
Western Sydney Unit  
Regional Development
Strengthen the sustainability, capacity and diversity of regional economies including through facilitating local partnerships between all levels of government and local communities
Program 3.1
Regional Development
Outcome 3
Strengthening the sustainability, capacity and diversity of regional economies including through facilitating local partnerships between all levels of government and local communities; and providing grants and financial assistance
Infrastructure Investment Page 56
Local Government and Territories  
Program 3.2
Local Government
Local Government and Territories Page 61
Territories
Provide good governance in the Australian territories
Program 4.1
Services to Territories
Outcome 4
Good governance in the Australian territories through the maintenance and improvement of the overarching legislative framework for self-governing territories, and laws and services for non-self-governing territories
Local Government and Territories Page 66

*The Policy and Research Division contributes to the delivery of all programs.

Organisational Structure

In 2015–16, the Department administered $7.3 billion across a number of major business lines during the year, as shown in Figure 2.2. The Department comprises seven business divisions supported by the Corporate Services Division, which provided essential services and advice for all divisions. The work of business divisions in delivering outcomes is also supported by the Policy and Research Division, which assists in areas such as productivity, infrastructure, transport reform and regional economics.

Figure 2.2 Organisational Structure at 30 June 2016

Ministers

From 1 July 2015, the Department was accountable to the Hon Warren Truss MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, and the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure the Hon Jamie Briggs MP.

In September 2015, the Hon Jamie Briggs MP left the portfolio, and the Hon Paul Fletcher MP was appointed Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government. The Hon Michael McCormack MP was appointed Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister.

In February 2016, the Hon Warren Truss MP retired and Senator the Hon Fiona Nash was appointed Minister for Regional Development. The Hon Michael McCormack left the portfolio, and the Hon Darren Chester MP was appointed Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.

At 30 June 2016, the Department was accountable to the Minister for Regional Development, Senator the Hon Fiona Nash; the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP; and the Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP.

Fiona Nash Darren Chester Paul Fletcher
Senator the Hon Fiona Nash
Minister for Regional Development
The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
The Hon Paul Fletcher MP
Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government

Executive Team

Mike Mrdak AO—Secretary

Mike Mrdak

In 2015–16, Mike Mrdak led the Department for the seventh consecutive year in its wide range of activities. These include policy development, regulatory reform and program implementation to support the Australian Government's infrastructure agenda, national transport reform initiatives and commitment to people living in our regions.

Mike began his Australian Public Service career in 1988 as a graduate with the then Department of Transport and Communications. He has held a number of senior positions across the portfolio and with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Mike chairs the Transport and Infrastructure Senior Officials' Committee, which is charged with advising and assisting the Council of Australian Governments Transport and Infrastructure Council.

Mike is also a Commissioner of the National Transport Commission, and the Australian Government's representative on the Board of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.

Internally, Mike chairs the Secretary's Business Meeting, the Executive Management Team, and the Senior Executive Service Management Team which plays a pivotal leadership role in the Department.

Mike was appointed an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday 2016 honours list for his distinguished service to public administration through executive roles in the infrastructure, transport and logistics sector, and through the development of policy reform initiatives.

Judith Zielke PSM—Deputy Secretary

Judith Zielke

Judith Zielke commenced as Deputy Secretary in February 2016 and oversees the Infrastructure Investment, Policy and Research and Surface Transport Policy divisions. Her responsibilities include infrastructure investment, strategic policy, national maritime, rail and heavy vehicle regulation, and regional development policy and programs. Prior to this position, Judith was Executive Director of the Surface Transport Policy Division.

Judith is also Chief Coordinator, Joint Agency Coordination Centre, which was established by the Prime Minister in March 2014 to coordinate the Australian Government's support for the search into missing flight MH370.

Judith has had a lengthy public sector career encompassing a range of policy advice and implementation positions in the Australian Government in the areas of Trade, Attorney-General's, Industry and Innovation, and most recently Infrastructure. Across various roles, Judith has been involved in a broad range of international engagement activities including technical infrastructure, free trade and mutual recognition agreement negotiations, and World Trade Organization negotiations.

Judith is also a Member of the Board of the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

Internally, Judith chairs the Strategic Information Technology and Security Committee. She is also the Department's Indigenous champion.

Shane Carmody—Deputy Secretary

Shane Carmody

Shane Carmody commenced as Deputy Secretary in April 2016. Shane's responsibilities include the Office of Transport Security, Aviation and Airports, Local Government and Territories divisions, and the Western Sydney Unit.

Shane has extensive experience at senior levels in the Australian Public Service, having held positions in the Australian Government departments of Defence, Finance, and most recently, Veterans' Affairs.

Shane is also the Department's representative on the board of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

He is also the Department's disability champion.

Lyn O'Connell—Deputy Secretary (2008–2015)

Lyn O'Connell

In her role as Deputy Secretary, Lyn O'Connell was responsible for delivering the infrastructure investment, surface transport, and road safety programs, and for the policy and research area of the Department. Lyn chaired the 2014–15 Budget Steering Committee and the Strategic Information Technology and Security Committee.

Andrew Wilson—Deputy Secretary (2009–2016)

Andrew Wilson

In his role as Deputy Secretary, Andrew Wilson was responsible for delivering the transport security, air transport, local government and services to territories programs. Andrew chaired the Audit Committee and the Departmental Consultative Committee, and was the Department's representative on the Australian Maritime Safety Authority board.

The Portfolio

This Annual Report focuses on the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. Information on our portfolio entities can be obtained from their annual reports and websites.

The entities in the portfolio at 30 June 2016 were:

The Commonwealth companies in the portfolio at 30 June 2016 were:

Seven portfolio entities, including the Department, belong to the general government sector. Figure 2.3 provides the purposes of each entity.

Figure 2.3 Relationship of Portfolio Entities in the General Government Sector at 30 June 2016

Minister for Regional Development, Senator the Hon Fiona Nash
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
Secretary Mike Mrdak AO
Purposes Promote, evaluate, plan and invest in infrastructure and regional development

Foster an efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system

Strengthen the sustainability, capacity and diversity of regional economies and including through facilitating local partnerships between all levels of governance and local communities

Provide good governance in the Australian territories
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
Chair Stuart Richey AM
Chief Executive Officer Michael Kinley
Vision Safe and clean seas, saving lives
Mission Ensuring safe vessel operations, combatting marine pollution, and rescuing people in distress
Australian Transport Safety Bureau
Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan*
Purpose Improve the safety of, and public confidence in, aviation, marine and rail transport through the independent investigation of transport accidents and other safety occurrences; safety data recording; analysis and research; and fostering safety awareness, knowledge and action

*Greg Hood commenced as Chief Commissioner on 1 July 2016.
Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Chair Jeff Boyd
Chief Executive Officer and Director of Aviation Safety Mark Skidmore AM
Purpose Provide a fair, effective and efficient aviation safety regulatory system and promote a positive safety culture throughout the aviation community
Infrastructure Australia
Chair The Hon Mark Birrell
Chief Executive Officer Philip Davies
Purposes Provide independent research and advice to all levels of government, as well as investors and owners of infrastructure, on the projects and reforms Australia needs to fill the infrastructure gap

Advocate for reforms on key issues including financing, delivering and operating infrastructure and how to better plan and utilise Australia's infrastructure networks

Strategically audit Australia's nationally significant infrastructure, and develop 15 year rolling Infrastructure Plans that specify national and state level priorities

Determine which nationally significant projects should be on the Infrastructure Priority List
National Capital Authority
Chair Terry Weber
Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Snow
Purposes Plan and design the areas of special national importance in Canberra

Inform and educate the community about the importance of Canberra as the National Capital

Manage and enhance assets on National Land
National Transport Commission
Chair David Anderson PSM
Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner Paul Retter AM
Purpose Improve the productivity, safety and environmental performance of Australia's road, rail and intermodal transport systems, and submit reforms for approval to the Transport and Infrastructure Council

Special Report: Regulatory Reform

Reducing the impact of regulation on individuals, businesses and communities has been a core focus of the Australian Governments regulatory reform agenda. This has taken the form of an ongoing commitment to reduce red tape by $1.0 billion a year across Government, improving the performance of regulators and more recently promoting reforms that support innovation and encourage growth and productivity.

In 2015, the portfolio continued to not only meet but exceed its red tape target introducing regulatory savings of approximately $58.8 million.

The portfolio has identified a number of opportunities to reduce costs, particularly for the transport industry. These have included better use of new technology, removing duplication and uncertainty and implementing international standards where appropriate. This includes introducing measures that have a regulatory burden, however will provide a net benefit to the community.

Regulatory measures reported in 2015–16 include, amongst others, the following:

  • a more streamlined process for managing checked baggage during operational disruptions at airports saving $3.2 million annually
  • an increase in the allowable overall width for certain motorcycles, providing more choice for Australian consumers and saving $1.8 million annually
  • removing the requirement to paint the rear bumper of semi-trailers white, saving $1.2 million annually
  • a review of Australia Post screening exemption requirements, saving $499,000 annually
  • removing the requirement to fit a registration label holder to light trailers and motorcycles, saving $237,000 annually, and
  • adopting a new international standard for vehicle design to improve vehicle occupant safety during side impact crashes, costing $10.6 million annually. It is estimated this standard will provide a net benefit to the community of $417.0 million over 15 years of regulation—saving 128 lives and avoiding 195 severe or moderate traumatic brain injuries.

Work to reduce the impact of regulation continued in 2016 with regulatory savings of over $70.0 million through reforms to the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 (announced in February 2016 and anticipated to be implemented over the next two years).

2015–16 was also the first year of the Regulator Performance Framework. The Framework applies to Commonwealth regulators administering, monitoring or enforcing regulation and establishes a common set of Key Performance Indicators to assess regulators and their engagement with stakeholders. Regulatory performance will be assessed through annual externally validated self-assessments against the Framework. The Framework will help ensure portfolio regulators continue to improve and the Department remains a well-regarded regulator in the transport sector.

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Last Updated: 12 December, 2016