Chapter 4: Transport

The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 requires this annual report to include a report on the Department's performance during 2015–16. A core element of this is the inclusion of an annual performance statement which demonstrates performance in relation to our purpose and programs.

Annual Performance Statements

Purpose Four programs contribute to the Transport outcome (Outcome 2) set out in the Portfolio Budget Statements: Program 2.1 Transport Security; Program 2.2 Surface Transport; Program 2.3 Road Safety; and Program 2.4 Air Transport.

The purpose of these programs together is to foster an efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system
Result Tables 4.1, 4.3, 4.5 and 4.7 detail the performance criteria which relate to this purpose, and the result against each. Each criterion is published in both the 2015–16 Corporate Plan and the 2015–16 Portfolio Budget Statements against Programs 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4.

Table 4.1 Results Against Performance Criteria—Program 2.1 Transport Security

Performance CriterionAction is taken by the Government to mitigate against new or emerging risks, where they are identified
Result Achieved (also rated as achieved 2014–15, 2013–14 and 2012–13)

The Department's response to new and emerging risks is mitigated through audits, inspections and systems tests to ensure industry compliance with legislation and regulations. This included:
  • a total of 765 compliance activities were completed nationally, and resulted in compliance activities against 100 per cent of ‘high risk’ cases as defined in the Portfolio Budget Statements. Of the compliance activities undertaken, 553 were focused on aviation industry participants and 108 on maritime industry participants (the remainder related to issuing bodies and supply chain industry participants). The activities included 189 audits, 214 inspections and 349 system tests
  • following an analysis of security treatments of air cargo originating from, or transiting through particular countries, advice to the Government resulted in restrictions being placed on the carriage of air cargo into Australia, including requirements for additional security treatments threat assessments and intelligence reports from Australian intelligence agencies and the national security community have been used to inform policy development and prioritisation of compliance activity as well as the preparation of threat-related products for industry participants. A total of 19 last ports of call aviation security assessments were conducted and information gathered about the quality of airport and airline security arrangements at key overseas airports with direct flights to Australia, and
  • Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC) and Maritime Security Identification Card (MSIC) schemes were strengthened to mandate face-to-face identity checks for applicants before a card can be issued, and creating an additional purpose in the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 and Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 to prevent the use of aviation and maritime transport or offshore facilities in connection with serious and organised crime.
The Department also worked closely with key regulators in the region to monitor improvements to airport security at high priority locations.
Performance CriterionCollaboration with industry ensures that policy and regulatory frameworks are efficient and effective
Result Achieved (new criterion for 2015–16)

Collaboration with the industry sector resulted in:
  • reforms to the air cargo policy and regulatory framework designed to focus on requirements to achieve 100 per cent piece level screening of US-bound freight
  • application and validation processes being tested with industry through a trial of the Known Consignor scheme for air cargo exports
  • several working group meetings on screening innovation being held with regulated industry participants to identify and test efficient and effective screening arrangements. This included technological solutions to enhance unpredictability in the Explosive Trace Detection screening selection process
  • a strengthened airside security model which is practical and cost effective to implement. To achieve this, six airside security workshops were held by the Department which involved the nine major airports and Qantas Airways, Virgin Airlines, the Australian Airports Association and the Board of Airline Representatives Australia
  • identifying and delivering opportunities for regulatory reform and savings for the Australian shipping sector, and
  • feedback from ASIC and MSIC issuing bodies which improved policy design and increased the effectiveness of regulatory reforms. Consultation on proposed regulatory changes to enhance identity security, including mandatory face-to-face identity checks for applicants, was also undertaken.
Performance CriterionInternational and domestic engagement influences and shapes policy and future developments
Result Achieved (new criterion for 2015–16)

International and domestic engagement influenced and shaped policy and future developments by:
  • conducting 20 international transport security capacity building projects to improve transport security outcomes. These included improving national aviation security governance frameworks and airport quality control protocols; developing aviation security screener supervisor training; and delivering National Compliance Program mentoring
  • taking a strong leadership role in driving the work of the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation Transportation Working Group. This strengthened the relationships with Australia's regional counterparts, including on aviation security issues
  • promoting Australian positions on international aviation security standards and recommended practices at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Aviation Security (AVSEC) panel
  • participating in the development of international standards and guidance materials, promoting exchange of threat and risk information, and shaping international air cargo security policy in five different ICAO working groups
  • hosting an aviation security bilateral meeting with New Zealand in September to increase collaboration on aviation security policy issues, including risk assessment methodologies, risk-based passenger screening and airport categorisation
  • leading Australia's engagement with an international collaboration of the world's major aviation regulators to share information on threats and responses to security events. This included improving the security deficiencies at last port of call airports; strengthening the design of the aviation security system; and improving aviation security standards in developing countries
  • working with state and territory governments through the Transport Security Committee to facilitate nationally consistent understanding and approaches to surface transport security arrangements
  • providing guidance and advice on transport security and critical infrastructure resilience through meetings of the Transport Sector Group and the Oil and Gas Security Forum, and
  • supporting the Australian delegation to the International Maritime Organization on maritime transport security issues.
Performance CriterionCommunication with regulated entities is clear, targeted and effective
Result Achieved (new criterion for 2015–16)

Communication was clear, targeted and effective as a result of:
  • enabling all operational employees to undertake Principles of Decision Making administrative law training delivered by the Australian Government Solicitor
  • developing a regulatory approval manual to support consistent, transparent, timely and accountable decision-making
  • undertaking regular and frequent consultation with industry on reforms to strengthen the ASIC and MSIC schemes and other regulatory change proposals. Consultation involving industry specific issuing body forums, targeted face-to-face engagement including site-based engagement, and targeted communication campaigns
  • consulting with the aviation sector on arrangements to strengthen airside security arrangements and details of proposed screening methods. Following this consultation, discussions were held at airside security working group meetings on the issues raised and the best way to implement the new arrangements, and
  • updating the maritime sector through industry forums and peak body consultations on the deregulation of domestic interstate shipping and port service providers. Extensive consultation was also held with affected parties on improving the regulation of interstate passenger and vehicle ferries.
Performance CriterionCompliance and monitoring approaches are streamlined and coordinated
Result Achieved (new criterion for 2015–16)

A new National Compliance Plan was developed for 2016–17 based on risk and threat.

Significant reform of transport security operations was undertaken to improve tools and templates to support operational staff in administering the regulatory environment.
Results Key  
Achieved All milestones for 2015–16 were met or exceeded

Analysis against the Purpose:

Foster an efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system (Program 2.1)

Transport systems and infrastructure connecting Australians with domestic markets, and the nation to the global economy, are key determinants of our economic growth. Given the significant growth in Australia's freight and passenger task, designing lean and targeted regulation which enables our transport system to respond to increasing demand without compromising safety or security is a significant challenge. The Department worked closely with industry and other governments throughout 2015–16 to identify opportunities to better focus regulation and resources.

The Department worked in collaboration with Australian and overseas governments bilaterally and through Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation and the International Civil Aviation Organization to: support streamlined and standardised transport security regulation; build the capacity of transport regulators; and provide better information to guide the transport industry to realise its responsibilities for preventative security measures.

As a direct result of our partnership with the transport industry during 2015–16, changes were made to identity security, airside screening and the regulation of interstate shipping and port service provision. These allow industry to deliver better security outcomes while lifting the regulatory and cost impacts of transport security arrangements.

The Department relies on intelligence and threat assessments to focus our efforts on activities which present the highest risk to Australia's transport systems. This information allowed the Department to review and refocus the National Compliance Plan during 2015–16 to target compliance activity and adjust security treatments. The development of the strengthened and targeted plan has significantly changed how the Department undertakes its compliance. The plan has been built on robust risk assessment and introduces better linkages between risk event scenarios and activity planning at an individual industry participant level. It ensures the Department targets its resources towards the areas of highest risk and has redirected effort from areas of lower risk for greater impact.

The Department continues to oversee and ensure industry's compliance with the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 and the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003 through a regular program of audit, inspection and systems tests. In June 2016, a systems test working group, comprising industry stakeholders and departmental staff, commenced an update of the systems test regime including developing performance measures for passenger screening.

The work completed over the last year has contributed to a safe and secure transport system by ensuring a proportionate response to changes in the air cargo threat and risk environments, both domestically and internationally. The Department continues to work closely with the United States Transport Security Administration and industry to ensure that the regulatory settings for US-bound cargo are viable, sustainable and deliver measurable benefits.

Extensive consultation with issuing bodies improved policy design for introducing efficient and practical ways to enhance identity security in the ASIC and MSIC schemes.

Ongoing engagement with the maritime sector through regular meetings and targeted consultation has identified and delivered savings for the Australian shipping sector.

Administered Items

Table 4.2 provides a summary of the results achieved by each of the administered items under Program 2.1. Administered items are administered in accordance with relevant legislation, approved guidelines and guidance by the Australian National Audit Office.

Table 4.2 Administered Items—Program 2.1 Transport Security

Administered ItemAviation Security Enhancements
Result Improving international aviation security The following projects were delivered in the Philippines under this item:
  • one Basic AVSEC Refresher Course for 20 Manila International Airport Authority security personnel, and
  • two Airport Quality Control Inspector Courses and three complementing Return to Work Programs for 37 Manila International Airport Authority personnel who were mentored by national auditors from the Philippines Office of Transportation Security.
Result Regional and remote airports security awareness The Department used funding of $39,000 under the regional and remote airports security awareness program to design a new security awareness training package for regional and remote security controlled airports.

The package is due for completion in late 2016 and will be made available to 158 regional and remote security controlled airports.

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

Table 4.3 Results Against Performance Criteria—Program 2.2 Surface Transport

Performance CriterionAustralian surface transport networks are safer and more efficient with Commonwealth regulation that is fit for purpose and proportionate to the risk being managed
Result Achieved (new criterion for 2015–16)

The Australian Government continued to administer approximately 20,412* heavy vehicles and trailers operating under the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme, supporting continued growth in Australia's freight task.

*Note: This figure was reportedly incorrectly. The correct figure is 14,648 heavy vehicles and trailers operating under the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme.
Performance CriterionSurface transport regulatory systems are subject to a focus on continuous improvement
Result Achieved (new criterion for 2015–16)

In 2015–16, WA became the seventh jurisdiction to implement the Rail Safety National Law.

The Transport and Infrastructure Council agreed important amendments to the Heavy Vehicle National Law strengthening Chain of Responsibility provisions. These amendments, once enacted, will ensure all parties in the heavy vehicle supply chain (in those jurisdictions where the Heavy Vehicle National Law has been proclaimed), have shared responsibility in transporting freight by heavy vehicles safely.

Australia achieved high quality safety outcomes in the United Nations Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods including securing the continued use in Australia and other economies of low cost, safe chemical drums.

In November 2015, the Council decided to implement the New Heavy Vehicle Charges Determination by freezing revenue for a two-year period. The Department supported a determination under the Fuel Tax Act 2006 to reduce the rate of the Road User Charge in line with the Council decision. Implementation of the determination followed an industry consultation process conducted by the National Transport Commission.
Performance CriterionCommunication with regulated entities, including those subject to regulatory changes, is open, transparent and appropriately targeted to support regulated entities in meeting their obligations
Result Achieved (new criterion for 2015–16)

Communication was open, transparent and appropriately targeted as demonstrated by:
  • consulting with heavy vehicle industry representatives, as part of the Australian Government's decision to abolish the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal and liaising with National Heavy Vehicle Regulator about funding to implement a number of heavy vehicle safety initiatives
  • consulting with industry on the regulatory issues relating to the transport of dangerous goods including issues with a direct impact on Australian businesses
  • managing numerous industry enquiries on the regulation of dangerous goods transport in Australia
  • developing the Australian Government's response to the driver licensing recommendations of the Forrest Indigenous Jobs and Training Review in consultation with Indigenous stakeholders, and
  • holding the sixth annual dialogue with the Australian Logistics Council to discuss key issues affecting transport and infrastructure.
Results Key
Achieved All milestones for 2015–16 were met or exceeded

Analysis against the Purpose:

Foster an efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system (Program 2.2)

The surface transport sector is pivotal to Australia's economic prosperity, moving millions of tonnes of freight from farm gates and factories to markets across Australia and overseas. Duplicate and inconsistent regulation between Australian and international jurisdictions diverts the focus and resources of Australia's transport sector away from delivering efficient and responsive services and is a drag on our national productivity. The Department's responsibilities for progressing key national transport reforms during 2015–16 shaped the delivery of road, rail and shipping services.

The Department administers Australia's contributions to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Maritime Organization and to international funds. This ensures Australia is a contributing member of the international regulatory system which oversees and supports a viable global surface transport sector through consistent international standards, evidence-based research and disaster funding.

The Department coordinated and oversaw key national transport reforms during the year including national rail safety reform and national heavy vehicle reform. Significant progress in implementing each of these was made in 2015–16, which contributed to a more efficient, competitive and safe land transport sector in Australia.

The Department's administration of the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme and the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme supported the ongoing viability of Tasmanian primary and tourism industries through access to affordable shipping services and sea travel.

Administered Items

Table 4.4 provides a summary of the results achieved by each of the administered items under Program 2.2. Administered items are administered in accordance with relevant legislation, approved guidelines, and guidance by the Australian National Audit Office.

Table 4.4 Administered Items—Program 2.2 Surface Transport

Administered ItemBass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme
Result Approximately $45.0 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.
Administered ItemInternational Maritime Organization—contribution
Result The Australian Government contributed $303,000 to the International Maritime Organization during the year.
Administered ItemInterstate road transport fees
Result State and territory governments collected $70.1 million in heavy vehicle registration charges on behalf of the Australian Government in 2015–16.

In June 2016, there were approximately 20,412* 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 states and territories for road maintenance.

*Note: This figure was reportedly incorrectly. The correct figure is 14,648 heavy vehicles and trailers operating under the Federal Interstate Registration Scheme.
Administered ItemOECD Road Transport—contribution
Result The Department administered Australia's annual contribution to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) International Transport Forum Joint Transport Research Centre (JTRC). The JTRC organises longer-term research projects with oversight from the transport ministries and research agencies of member countries through the Joint Transport Research Committee. Membership enables the Australian Government to influence the JTRC's forward work program and promote successful Australian transport policy initiatives. This can either be through direct participation of Australian transport expert JTRC sponsored projects, or representation of Australian senior executives at OECD/International Transport Forum events. Australia's 2015–16 contribution was $50,000.
Administered ItemTasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme
Result During the year a total of $123.9 million was provided to eligible shippers under this scheme.

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

Table 4.5 Results Against Performance Criteria—Program 2.3 Road Safety

Performance CriterionAustralia's road and vehicle safety systems achieve safety, emissions, anti-theft and other environmental standards
Result Achieved (also rated as achieved 2014–15, 2013–14 and 2012–13)

The Department continued work to ensure all road vehicles supplied in Australia meet legislative and administrative requirements. This included maintenance of a certification and audit system for new vehicles and investigation of any reports about potential non-compliance with Australian Design Rules (ADR).

A new ADR on pole side impact performance for light passenger and light commercial vehicles was determined on 12 December 2015. This will provide better occupant protection across a range of side impacts.
Performance CriterionAustralia's road and vehicle safety systems are more efficient, with Commonwealth regulation that encourages efficiency and where compliance and monitoring is increasingly risk based and streamlined

Australia's road and vehicle safety systems are safer with Commonwealth regulation and regulatory policy fit for purpose and proportionate to the risks being managed
Result Substantially achieved (new criterion for 2015–16)

A report showing progress in implementing the National Road Safety Strategy was provided to the Transport and Infrastructure Council in November 2015. This highlighted significant progress against the 19 actions identified in the National Road Safety Action Plan 2015–2017. It was published on a new website

Reforms to the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989 were announced by the Australian Government, with legislation due to be introduced into Parliament in 2016–17. These reforms will improve the effectiveness of risk-based approval and compliance processes and provide an estimated $70.0 million in savings to industry and the community. Design of new regulatory processes and systems to implement the new legislation is underway.

Amendments to nine ADRs were made in 2015–16 as part of the deregulation work program, with those able to be costed under the Regulatory Burden Measures framework providing total savings of $4.9 million a year.

The Department has continued its focus on improving safety and reducing red tape. A new ADR on pole side impact performance for light passenger and light commercial vehicles was determined (signed into law) on 12 December 2015. This will provide better occupant protection across a range of side impacts.

The financial year has also seen a renewed focus on improving compliance processes including development of a regulatory risk process and a revised compliance strategy.
Performance CriterionStatistical analysis and information published is accurate and robust, and supports the continuous improvement of regulatory frameworks
Result Achieved (new criterion for 2015–16)

Published information and statistical analysis was based on rigorous methodology and provided within agreed timeframes (for example, National Road Safety Strategy performance indicators were produced and validated by jurisdictions in September 2015 and the road deaths monthly bulletin was produced by 14th of each month) thereby supporting the continuous improvement of regulatory frameworks.
Performance CriterionCommunication with regulated entities, including those subject to regulatory changes, is open, transparent and appropriately targeted to support entities in meeting their obligations
Result Achieved (new criterion for 2015–16)

Communication was open, transparent and appropriately targeted as demonstrated by:
  • chairing six meetings of the key ADR consultative forums in 2015–16 and achieving agreement to amend numerous ADRs and continue to progress harmonisation
  • releasing a Regulation Impact Statement for a six-week public consultation period, in accordance with the principles of best practice regulation and consistent with the Australian Government Guide to Regulation, before the new ADR on pole side impact was determined
  • releasing a discussion paper for public consultation on anti-lock brake systems for motorcycles
  • releasing a vehicle emissions discussion paper for public consultation, and
  • undertaking a substantial program of stakeholder and public consultations about the reforms to the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989.
Performance CriterionApprovals and licenses under the Commonwealth road and vehicle safety regulatory frameworks are issued in a timeframe that meets legislative or other requirements
Result Substantially achieved (new criterion for 2015–16)

A total of 3,266 vehicle certification approvals were issued in 2015–16.

Average processing times for approval to place identification plates were maintained well within the service charter target of 32 days from lodgement of a complete application.

A total of 8,596 Registered Automotive Workshops Scheme (RAWS) import approvals and 8,512 RAWS used import plate approvals were issued in 2015–16. By the end of the financial year, 188 RAWS inspections and audits had been conducted. In line with our service charter, approximately 95 per cent of these were completed within six weeks of receipt of a vehicle inspection certificate.

The Department received a total of 9,536 non-RAWS related vehicle import applications–an average of 797 a month. Average processing times were maintained well within the service charter target of 20 working days from receipt of a complete application.

A risk based audit and enforcement program included 56 audits of vehicle production and test facilities. Audits are effective in identifying unsatisfactory manufacturers to ensure that non-compliant vehicles are not supplied to the market.
Results Key  
Achieved All milestones for 2015–16 were met or exceeded
Substantially achieved Milestones were mostly met, and any issues are being managed

Analysis against the Purpose:

Foster an efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system (Program 2.3)

The Department continued work to ensure road vehicles supplied in Australia are safe and secure. This was done through a range of schemes designed to improved vehicle safety while also delivering economic benefit. It is estimated that through the Regulation Impact Statement process, the new ADR on pole side impact performance will save 128 lives, prevent 195 severe or moderate brain injuries, and deliver a total net economic benefit to the community of $417 million over 15 years.

The Office of Best Practice Regulation found the Regulation Impact Statement to be compliant and aligned with best practice: Australian Government Regulation Impact Statement status—by agency 2015–16

The Department is committed to delivering a contemporary national regulatory scheme which inspires public confidence in vehicle safety and supports productivity and growth. Work continued to harmonise regulatory requirements with international standards and between states and territories to reduce costs and increase efficiency in the supply of motor vehicles to the Australian market while maintaining high safety standards. On 10 February, the Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, announced reforms to strengthen and modernise the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989. These will improve consumer choice and ensure that Australia's vehicle fleet continues to offer world-leading standards in safety and environmental performance.

Through amendments to the ADRs and implementation of reforms to the Motor Vehicles Standards Act 1989, the Department will provide an estimated $70 million in savings to industry and the wider community annually.

The Department also represented Australia's interests in ensuring the latest vehicle technology is available immediately in the Australian market, and in accessing saving to manufacturers and consumers by strengthening the international regime for mutual recognition approvals through the International Whole Vehicle Type Approval.

Administered Items

Table 4.6 provides a summary of the results achieved by each of the administered items under Program 2.3. Administered items are administered in accordance with relevant legislation, approved guidelines, and guidance by the Australian National Audit Office.

Table 4.6 Administered Items—Program 2.3 Road Safety

Administered Itemkeys2drive
Result The Department managed delivery of the keys2drive learner driver program. This has so far provided learners and their supervising drivers (mainly parents) with over 438,000 professional coaching lessons.

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

Table 4.7 Results Against Performance Criteria—Program 2.4 Air Transport

Performance CriterionPolicy advice is influential in the Australian Government's response to current and emerging international and domestic aviation industry issues
Result Achieved (achieved 2014–15, achieved 2013–14, and substantially achieved 2012–13)

Ministers were provided with reliable, accurate, and timely advice on a range of policy and implementation issues such as foreign investment and airline competition, and advice on whole-of-government policy positions such as the Harper competition policy review. This ensured government policy was appropriately informed by industry dynamics and stakeholder views.
Performance CriterionAviation regulation, policies and administered items support ongoing investment in safe, efficient and environmentally responsible aviation infrastructure and operations by entities and industry
Result Substantially achieved (achieved 2014–15, substantially achieved 2013–14, and achieved 2012–13)

Aviation policy and regulation continued to support Australian, state and territory government, and entity and industry investment. For example, in 2015–16 Airservices Australia invested over $180.0 million in capital expenditure on new and upgraded air traffic and rescue and fire-fighting infrastructure.

The Department completed a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Western Sydney Airport, conducted a public consultation round and commenced drafting a final environmental impact statement. The EIS is a comprehensive study of the environmental, social and economic impact the proposed Western Sydney Airport would have on the airport site and surrounding area. Drafted in compliance with Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, the EIS includes assessments on noise, air quality, transport, heritage, water quality, ecology, local and regional economy, social impacts, and various other aspects.

The performance criterion for this matter was substantially achieved in that much of the detailed assessment and consultation was undertaken in 2015–16; the EIS is expected to be finalised and submitted to the Minister for the Environment for consideration in September 2016. If the Minister for the Environment approves it, the final EIS together with the revised Airport Plan will facilitate ongoing investment in safe, efficient and environmentally responsible aviation infrastructure for western Sydney.
Performance CriterionThe approach to infrastructure planning, investment and development in western Sydney is integrated through consultation and coordination with key stakeholders
Result Achieved (new criterion for 2015–16)

The Department worked jointly with Transport for NSW on a scoping study to identify rail requirements for western Sydney and for a Western Sydney Airport. The Department also consulted with Transport for NSW on requirements to preserve rail on the Western Sydney Airport site.

Work is being undertaken with the NSW Government and Greater Sydney Commission on planning around the airport site. Engagement with the NSW Government continues by providing updates on project deliverables.

Stakeholders were engaged on the Western Sydney Airport project to encourage better-informed community attitudes and understanding of the process, and to ensure that relevant information is provided and that their views are understood.

The Department consulted with the community on the draft EIS and draft airport plan for the Western Sydney Airport, and progressed work to finalise these documents.
Performance CriterionAviation industry operates within a clear and robust regulatory framework
Result Achieved (new criterion for 2015–16)

Key aviation industry regulatory initiatives were implemented, including remaking regulations under the Air Navigation Act 1920. These changes simplified requirements, reduced the compliance burden for industry and improved the regulatory framework's operation, and have been well received by key industry stakeholders.
Performance CriterionAviation entity governance arrangements operate effectively
Result Achieved (new criterion for 2015–16)

During the year, aviation entities governance arrangements enabled several Board appointments to be filled, new corporate plans to be updated and implemented, annual reporting requirements, consistent with legislative requirements, to be met.
Performance CriterionBusinesses and consumers have access to competitive international and domestic air services
Result Achieved (new criterion for 2015–16)

Australia maintains a highly competitive domestic aviation sector supported by a liberalised regulatory framework. The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics' Domestic Air Fare Indexes shows relatively flat growth, despite moves by domestic airlines to better match capacity with demand following the transition from the investment phase of the mining boom.

Australia currently has air services arrangements in place with 97 countries. Entering into new arrangements and liberalising existing arrangements as opportunities arise enables Australian and foreign airlines to respond quickly to changing commercial priorities and broader market forces.
Performance CriterionRegulatory frameworks take account of industry needs and are appropriately meeting policy objectives
Result Achieved (new criterion for 2015–16)

Regulatory amendments were developed in consultation with industry and analysis in line with the best practice regulation framework.
Performance CriterionCollaboration with industry is effective in continuously monitoring regulatory frameworks
Result Achieved (new criterion for 2015–16)

Industry was consulted through a range of forums and regulatory frameworks were supported by industry consultation. Industry has welcomed opportunities to participate in forums such as the Aviation Industry Consultative Council, the General Aviation Industry Action Group, the Tourism Access Working Group and the Negotiations Stakeholder Forum. Consultation on the remaking of regulations under the Air Navigation Act 1920 identified a range of opportunities to streamline their operation that are reflected in the finalised instrument. Industry has provided positive feedback about the opportunity to engage in these.
Performance CriterionCost of airlines providing regular public services to designated remote communities is reduced

Cost of air operators providing aeromedical services to regional and remote areas is reduced

Safety and access at remote airstrips is improved
Result Achieved (new criterion for 2015–16)

Financial assistance was provided to help airlines deliver regular services to 266 remote communities across Australia.

Financial assistance was paid to eight aeromedical operators operating in regional and remote areas, through the Regional Aviation Access program.

The Australian Government approved 52 grants to upgrade safety at remote airstrips.

This assistance was provided through the Regional Aviation Access program.
Results Key  
Achieved All milestones for 2015–16 were met or exceeded
Substantially achieved Milestones were mostly met, and any issues are being managed

Analysis against the Purpose:

Foster an efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system (Program 2.4)

Australia's unique geography ensures that the aviation sector will continue to be an integral part of connecting Australian communities with each other, with essential services, and with global opportunities. The Department worked across the aviation industry and in partnership with other governments and international forums to ensure industry operates with a clear and robust safety regulatory environment, and that Australian businesses and consumers have access to competitive domestic and international air services.

Ongoing investment in Australia's aviation infrastructure will be critical to meeting the demands associated with the doubling of growth in aircraft movements projected over the next 20 years. The Department oversaw the assessment and approval of Master Plans for Alice Springs, Camden and Hobart airports and nine Major Development Plans during 2015–16 demonstrating the ongoing investment in important infrastructure at federally leased airports.

The Department facilitated the provision of air services to regional and remote communities, and safety works at remote airstrips during 2015–16. This is ensuring that the costs of airlines providing regular public services to designated remote communities and air operators providing aeromedical services to regional and remote areas is reduced. It is also improving safety and access at remote airstrips.

The Department's ongoing investment in regulatory reform saw the Sydney Airport Curfew (Dispensation) Guideline 2016 come into effect in March 2016; and the regulations under the Air Navigation Act 1920 remade, ensuring regulation takes account of industry needs and reduces regulatory burden.

Aviation is at the forefront of technological change, with operational, safety and financial benefits. The challenge is to ensure policy settings support the timely and cost effective adoption of technology. The policy and regulatory settings which reflect departmental advice have supported investment in new and enhanced air traffic management technology by government agencies and industry. This promotes enhanced aviation safety and efficiency in the Australian aviation system.

The continued liberalisation of air services arrangements with overseas countries is fostering competitive and efficient people-to-people and business links that enable and sustain Australia's trade agreements. New and more expansive bilateral air services arrangements were settled with seven countries. These new arrangements provided opportunities for Australian airlines to expand their international marketing presence, with additional capacity also negotiated to support growth in services in several key markets.

The Department, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Airservices Australia maintain an office at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) headquarters in Montreal, Canada, to represent Australia's interests in aviation standard setting.

The Department continued to participate in the ICAO Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection, focusing on mechanisms to reduce the growth in international aviation greenhouse gas emissions, the development of a new CO2 engine certification standard and the refinement of guidance related to managing aircraft noise.

The Department continued to regulate the airspace around leased Federal airports under Part 12 of the Airports Act 1996 and the Airports (Protection of Airspace) Regulations 1996 to ensure developments do not affect the safety, efficiency and regularity of air transport.

The Department is focused on intergrated transport and infrastructure planning through consultation and coordination with key stakeholders. The Western Sydney Airport project ensures appropriate consultation is undertaken regularly with both domestic and international stakeholders—including all levels of government, industry and experts—to support the Australian Government's broader vision for western Sydney. This partnered approach to developing investment priorities and preserving infrastructure corridors will help deliver sound policy and better informed planning to achieve effective, efficient and sustainable infrastructure and transport systems.

Administered Items

Table 4.8 provides a summary of the results achieved by each of the administered items under Program 2.4. Administered items are administered in accordance with relevant legislation, approved guidelines, and guidance by the Australian National Audit Office.

Table 4.8 Administered Items—Program 2.4 Air Transport

Administered ItemAirport Lessee Companies—reimbursement of parking fines
Result Reimbursement of parking fines under the Parking Infringement Notices Scheme was undertaken in accordance with relevant legislation and contractual arrangements.
Administered ItemHobart International Airport runway extension—contribution
Result The Australian Government provided funding assistance of $2.2 million towards the planning and approval stages of this project.
Administered ItemImplementation of noise amelioration for Adelaide Airport
Result Insulation of the remaining public building in Adelaide was completed. There are no further insulation projects under this program.
Administered ItemInternational Civil Aviation Organization—contribution
Result Australia, like all member states, paid an annual contribution towards the International Civil Aviation Organization's costs.
Administered ItemPayment scheme for Airservices Australia's en route charges
Result The Australian Government helped airlines to provide services to regional and remote areas with funding of $1.4 million.
Administered ItemRegional Aviation Access
Result The Australian Government provided funding of $19.2 million to help provide essential air services to outback communities, and 52 grants for safety works at remote airstrips.
Administered ItemSydney West Airport—rental properties
Result Funding of $8.3 million was provided for the Sydney West Airport—rental properties administered program. This paid for water and land rates, maintenance and management on the site and other costs associated with renting out the properties on this land. The Department effectively administered tenancies to ensure the Australian Government met its obligations as a landlord and continued to implement the tenancy transition strategy to deliver a vacant Badgerys Creek site.

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

Case Studies

Management of curfew dispensations

The Department is responsible for administering curfew legislation which restricts the number of aircraft movements and the type of aircraft that can operate between 11.00pm and 6.00am at Sydney, Adelaide, Essendon and Gold Coast airports. In an ‘exceptional circumstance’, it may be appropriate to grant an aircraft a dispensation to allow them to take off or land within the curfew.

The Department runs a roster of seven Curfew Duty Officers who have been delegated the authority to make a decision on whether to grant a dispensation. These officers directly receive dispensation requests from airlines by phone or email and must determine, against a set of criteria, whether the dispensation request should be granted or refused.

An example of the timely and considered decision making required by officers occurred on 5 June 2016. Strong winds and heavy rain from an east coast low pressure system reduced Sydney Airport to single runway operations for 11 hours, effectively reducing the capacity of the airport from up to 80 movements an hour to 55 movements. Later in the evening, lightning strikes forced ground staff to clear the tarmac for operational safety. A total of 117 flights were cancelled, airlines faced huge backlogs of aircraft and passengers, and delays of up to two hours were expected. In addition, an aircraft en route from Guangzhou, China to Sydney was diverted to Darwin for a medical emergency, and further delayed while avoiding the east coast low which had developed.

Weather is not typically a primary consideration in the granting of curfew dispensations as individual weather events usually pass within one to two hours. However, this weather event was considered exceptional given its extended duration and severity. The Curfew Duty Officer worked with airlines throughout the evening in an attempt to minimise disruption to residents and ensure, as far as possible, passengers did not suffer undue hardship. In the end, four curfew dispensations were granted and all aircraft were safely on their way or on the ground by 11.38pm.

To ensure transparency and accountability, all dispensation requests are recorded and verbal decisions are followed up with an email confirmation. Copies of decisions are also tabled in Parliament and shared with relevant community groups.

Memorandum of Understanding with Papua New Guinea on Cooperation in the Transport Sector

With Papua New Guinea (PNG) being Australia's closest neighbour, it is important that the Australian and PNG governments cooperate closely to enhance the capacity and capability of their transport systems. In 2009, the Department and the PNG Department of Transport signed annexes to the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Transport Sector in relation to air services, maritime safety, aviation safety, accident investigation and transport policy. The goal of this cooperation is to increase capability and capacity in PNG transport agencies, ultimately contributing to a safer and more secure transport system.

In 2015–16, the Department undertook a variety of activities to enhance project management capacity, provide resources and upskill staff within the PNG transport sector. Of particular note was the completion of the Twinning Program which involved developing and mentoring a promising female within the PNG transport sector for an executive leadership position. The recipient, Bessie Ataia Andrew, undertook a targeted senior executive learning program in Australia and on-the-job mentoring in PNG. For her participation in the program Bessie received recognition from both the Australian High Commission and the transport sector in PNG.

Australia's Aviation State Safety Program

Australia's Aviation State Safety Program (SSP) sets out the key safety principles which will continue to underpin Australia's aviation safety system and establishes safety objectives. Australia was one of the first countries in the world to develop an SSP consistent with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO's detailed requirements for SSP's are set out in Annex 19 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention).

The Air Traffic Policy Branch, within the Department's Aviation and Airports Division, coordinated and prepared Australia's updated and expanded SSP, published in May 2016. The SSP was developed collaboratively with Australia's aviation safety agencies, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Department of Defence. A draft of the SSP was made available for public and industry comment on the Department's website for a 10-week period and also sent directly to key industry stakeholders. The submissions received, including those from Australia's two major airline groups, largely supported the draft SSP, particularly Australia's State Safety Policy Statement principles.

The final SSP for the first time outlines future challenges to Australia's aviation safety system and in response to these challenges, identifies future priorities and short, medium and long-term objectives to maintain Australia's internationally recognised safety system. A Secretary's Award was presented to Eleanor Dun of the Department in recognition of her efforts to help prepare and coordinate the SSP. The SSP will be reviewed and updated every three years to ensure it remains relevant to Australia's dynamic aviation environment.

Pole side impact

Side impact crashes are one of the largest causes of road crash trauma in Australia, accounting for nearly 20 per cent of Australia's annual road toll. Side impact crashes with narrow objects such as poles and trees, referred to as pole side impacts, are particularly dangerous because the point of impact is often very close to the heads of vehicle occupants. Australian motorists will soon be better protected from side impacts following the signing into law of a new Australian Design Rule (ADR).

The ADRs are national standards for vehicle safety, anti-theft and emissions. The Department has developed the new ADR for pole side impact performance which will apply to new model light passenger vehicles in Australia—whether manufactured in Australia or imported—from November 2017, and new model light commercial vehicles from July 2018. The ADR is based on a United Nations Global Technical Regulation which the Department also led the development of between 2010 and 2013. The regulations set out technical requirements for vehicles which are not mandatory for vehicles sold in any country until they are implemented in national law.

The pole side impact ADR will ensure new cars within the Australian market comply with a heightened level of pole side impact performance, which it is anticipated manufacturers will meet through safety measures including enhanced side airbags and better crash sensors. It is estimated that, within Australia, this measure will save 128 lives and avoid 195 severe or moderate brain injuries over 15 years, while providing net benefits to Australia of $417.0 million.

photograph going throught side impact crash test

National online key freight routes map

Australia's freight and logistics system is of critical importance to the national economy. There is a need for all levels of government and industry to work together to ensure freight movements are efficient, sustainable and cost-effective. The national key freight routes map was produced to address this need, assisting governments and industry to better understand, and plan for, critical freight flows from a nationally consistent perspective.

The Commonwealth of Australian Governments Transport and Infrastructure Council agreed to publish Australia's first national key freight routes map in November 2014. The online interactive version was launched in October 2015 to meet the public's expectation of digital service delivery. This work was coordinated by the Department, working collaboratively with state and territory governments and industry.

The online application enables users to overlay other base-maps and datasets, and zoom in to a high level of detail. The map has been used by a range of stakeholders including the transport and logistics industry, all levels of government, land use planners, researchers, and property and business groups.

The map has already played an integral role towards improving road access for the freight and logistics industry, with the Council setting uniform access objectives for heavy vehicles using the key freight routes. The map will continue to be developed to support planning and investment decisions, regulatory efficiency and customer service features for the transport and logistics industry.

The key freight routes layer has also been published on the whole-of-government national map, making it accessible to an even larger audience, and enabling industry and government to view the key freight routes in the context of a wide range of other nationally important data.

The map was nominated as a finalist in the 2015 Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Annual Awards for Excellence, in the category of excellence in government innovation.

Unpredictability for explosive trace detection screening selection

The Department is working with industry to encourage innovation in the way screening equipment is used for aviation security. An example of this is the introduction of true unpredictability into the selection process for explosive trace detection (ETD) screening. Until recently, it has been standard practice for screening officers to randomly select travellers and staff for ETD screening. This method of selection has limitations as travellers may be able to predict some of the selection patterns of screening officers and exploit that to avoid being selected. Introducing a truly randomised process eliminates selection bias and enhances security.

Since early 2016, several airports around the country have trialed technological solutions to automate this selection process. Some trials tested the use of an in-built randomiser function on walk-through metal detectors. For this option, an alarm sounds as a passenger walks through the metal detector to signify they have been selected for ETD screening. Other trials involved a tablet-based randomiser which signals to screening officers when they should select the next traveller for ETD screening.

The initial trials were successful and feedback from industry has been positive. As further trials continue the process has been implemented as standard practice at several airports around the country.

Western Sydney Airport—community feedback for the draft Airport Plan and Environmental Impact Statement

The proposed Western Sydney Airport is one of Australia's largest infrastructure projects in recent years and would be the first new major Australian airport in decades. Ensuring the western Sydney community is informed of the project and has opportunities to provide feedback has been a key component throughout the phases of the project. For example, the Department has maintained a visible and responsive presence in the community through ‘pop-up’ information stalls, joint information sessions with NSW agencies, distribution of newsletters, and other engagement and feedback-gathering activities across western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

A comprehensive community consultation period took place from 19 October to 18 December 2015, for the public exhibition of the draft Airport Plan and draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Western Sydney Airport. The draft Airport Plan and draft EIS were released together to ensure that all issues surrounding the proposed airport project could be considered simultaneously.

The draft Airport Plan provides a strategic vision for the development of Western Sydney Airport outlining the initial stage one development and how the airport will grow over the coming decades. Based on the draft Airport Plan, the draft EIS provides a comprehensive assessment of the environmental and social changes that the airport may bring and ensures the community is fully informed of how the airport will fit into the region. The draft EIS is the culmination of over 700 field investigations and 19 technical studies and assesses both construction and operation of the first stage of the airport development. The assessment covers noise, air and water quality, transport, heritage, health, and social and economic impacts.

During the 60-day public exhibition period, the community had the opportunity to review the details of the project and then have their say by making a submission. The Department worked to ensure the consultation period was widely promoted. This included:

  • 16 public information sessions across western Sydney and the Blue Mountains, with close to 1,500 people attending
  • meetings with councils, businesses and tourism groups
  • the draft Airport Plan and draft EIS displayed in 19 local libraries
  • newsletters to 10,000 residences near Badgerys Creek
  • advertisements in regional and local newspapers
  • an email and phone hotline
  • an online interactive noise modelling tool, and
  • supporting information material translated into 10 different languages to ensure all western Sydney residents can access the information.

Almost 5,000 submissions were received from the community and organisations. The Department compiled and reviewed these submissions during 2016 as part of the work to finalise the EIS and the revised draft of the Airport Plan. The final EIS will include a report on the submissions received that summarises the matters raised and details how they were addressed. The Department will continue to provide opportunities for the community to provide feedback on the project into the future.

Security deregulation of domestic shipping and port service providers

In 2015–16, the Department's Office of Transport Security took steps to reduce the regulatory burden on parts of the maritime sector without compromising security. Maritime security legislation requires industry participants to have security plans in place which set out the measures they will implement to safeguard against unlawful interference, including terrorism. As part of the Australian Government's commitment to reducing the regulatory burden on industry, amendments were made to the legislation to security deregulate:

  • ships engaged solely on domestic interstate voyages. Australia has no obligations under international law to security regulate such ships, and
  • port service providers such as tug operators, pilotage services, refuelling barges and line handlers. These providers are already included within the security plan of the port within which they operate.

In conjunction with industry, the Department conducted security risk assessments which found these amendments would not increase the security risk to ships or the ports in which port service providers operate. These amendments will provide a saving across the maritime industry of approximately $1.7 million.

BITRE report: Why Short-haul Intermodal Services Succeed

The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) analyses topical trends and issues about infrastructure provision, cities and regional development. This provides a valuable evidence base for the work of the Department and its stakeholders.

The BITRE report, Why Short-haul Intermodal Services Succeed, was commissioned to assist industry and governments understand the circumstances where rail can be successfully used for short freight movements to and from ports to improve port throughput and sustainability.

As explained in the report, moving containers by truck over short and medium distances is typically cheaper than using rail. Short-haul rail has also had a mixed record of success both in Australia and overseas. Within this context the report, using trend and case study analysis, considers the circumstances which can make short-haul intermodal services successful. These include:

  • inland terminals where value is added to transported goods
  • deficiencies in truck haulage (often associated with road congestion), and
  • interest group support.

This report provides a valuable resource when it comes to considering the possibility of enabling more short-haul intermodal rail services within Australia and has been drawn upon by organisations outside the Department, including the Moorebank Intermodal Company, NSW Ports, the Australasian Railway Association, and the Australian Logistics Council.

Heavy vehicle road reform—asset registers and expenditure plans

Demand for new and upgraded road infrastructure is growing, however it is increasingly difficult for governments to fund the expectations of road users entirely from general taxation revenue. This issue has been identified by multiple reports, including the Harper Competition Policy Review. Following the Review, the Council of Australian Governments agreed to accelerate heavy vehicle road reform and investigate the net benefits of reform for all vehicles. The Department is responsible for leading this work and providing advice to the Council on possible next steps.

The goal of heavy vehicle road reform in Australia is to transition to a system with stronger links between the needs of heavy vehicle users, the charges they pay and the road services they receive. Such a ‘user pays’ system will involve heavy vehicle operators paying road charges more reflective of their road usage.

Properly functioning markets require informed road users and road providers. The first phase of heavy vehicle road reform involves the publication of asset registers and expenditure plans to provide heavy vehicle operators with information on the service provided and investments planned on the major freight routes in the country. Specifically, the asset registers show the road service quality along key heavy vehicle routes in a Google Maps file. The maps allow users to zoom in on key heavy vehicle routes to identify road service quality down to 100 metre road lengths. The expenditure plans show current planned investments by governments along heavy vehicle routes. This is the first time all levels of government have published their planned road expenditure and the Department is taking a leading role in both of these important pieces of work.

Vehicle Emissions Discussion Paper

Motor vehicles emit both toxic (noxious) and non-toxic (CO2) emissions. Both emissions are potentially harmful as noxious emissions can have a significant impact on human health, while CO2 emissions contribute to climate change. To take proactive action towards limiting these harmful emissions, the Vehicle Emissions Discussion Paper was developed and released in February 2016 by the Ministerial Forum on Vehicle Emissions. The Department provided the lead supporting role to both the forum and the formulation of the discussion paper.

The forum was established in October 2015 to coordinate a whole-of-government approach to addressing vehicle emissions. The forum incorporated the infrastructure, energy and environment portfolios and relevant Australian Government commitments including the 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, the air quality objectives of the National Clean Air Agreement and improvements in energy productivity from the National Energy Productivity plan.

The discussion paper offers a comprehensive view of the current ‘state of play’ and ways forward when it comes to addressing vehicle emissions in Australia. It explores issues associated with the implementation of stricter standards for noxious emissions and a standards regime for limiting the CO2 output of light vehicles. The discussion paper also considered complementary or non-vehicle standards measures for limiting emissions, including fuel quality standards, education and information for consumers, alternative fuels and electric vehicles, financial incentives, fleet purchasing policies and emission testing arrangements.

The paper has stimulated extensive public discussion amongst stakeholders who play a key role in addressing emissions, including vehicle manufacturers, transport operators, consumer groups, fuel companies, health and environment groups and government agencies. The public comment period closed in April 2016 and over 80 submissions were received.

The Department will use the submissions to inform the development of draft Regulation Impact Statements. These impact statements will consider the need for new noxious emissions and CO2 reduction standards. The submissions will also be used to inform a report to the Australian Government on options to reduce vehicle emissions.

The discussion paper and stakeholder submissions can be found on the Department's website at

Security risk course

The Department's Office of Transport Security has strengthened its risk based approach to policy and compliance activities. To do this, the Department invested in developing a new tailored risk management methodology to improve the assessment of risk and help inform the judgements made through its policy and compliance work. It also means that the Department is better at directing its resources to those areas of high risk.

The Department worked with the Australian National University's Crawford School to develop introductory and advanced security risk analysis and management courses to build its risk capability. The one-day introductory course covers types of uncertainty, expert elicitation, cost benefit analysis and attack path analysis.

During 2015–16, 145 employees participated in the course. Quality has been assessed through evaluations after each course. These evaluations have consistently reflected very positive feedback and results. The improved risk management and analysis capability in the Department will ensure policy and compliance activities are well targeted and deliver effective security outcomes.

Prev. Index Next


Last Updated: 16 December, 2016