Part 2: Department overview

Role and functions

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 external territories and the Jervis Bay Territory with community services and capital investment.

We are responsible for:

  • infrastructure planning and coordination;
  • transport safety;
  • land transport;
  • civil aviation and airports;
  • transport security;
  • maritime transport;
  • major projects;
  • territory reforms and service delivery;
  • regional development policy and coordination; and
  • local government programs.

Purposes

In 2016–17, the Department worked to achieve four purposes, provided in Table 2.1.

Table 2.1 Departmental purposes and outcomes
PurposeRelated Outcome, set out in the 2016–17 Portfolio Budget Statements
Promote, plan, evaluate and invest in infrastructure and regional development Outcome 1: Improved infrastructure across Australia through investment in and coordination of transport and other infrastructure.
Foster an efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system Outcome 2: An efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system for all transport users through regulation, financial assistance and safety investigations.
Strengthen the sustainability, capacity and diversity of regional economies and support local communities* 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.
Provide good governance in the Australian 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.

Note:

* This purpose was changed from that in the 2016–17 Portfolio Budget Statements, which read “facilitate local partnerships between all levels of government and local communities”.

Vision

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 purposes, programs, outcomes and division structure

Table 2.2 Departmental purpose, program, outcome and division structure at 30 June 2017
PurposeProgramOutcomeDivision*
Promote, plan, evaluate 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
Inland Rail Unit**
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
Inspector of Transport Security
Program 2.2
Surface Transport
Surface Transport Policy
Program 2.3
Road Safety
Program 2.4
Air Transport
Aviation and Airports
Western Sydney Unit
Strengthen the sustainability, capacity and diversity of regional economies and support 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
Local Government and Territories
Program 3.2
Local Government
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

Notes:

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

** The Inland Rail Unit was established in June 2017.

Organisational structure

In 2016–17, the Department administered $6.4 billion across a number of major business lines, as shown in Figure 2.1. The Department comprises eight 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 in areas such as productivity, infrastructure, transport reform and regional economics is also supported by the Policy and Research Division.

Figure 2.1 Organisational structure at 30 June 2017

Ministers

In 2016–17, the Department was accountable to Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Local Government and Territories; the Hon Darren Chester MP, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport; and the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Urban Infrastructure.

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

Executive team

Mike Mrdak AO: Secretary

In 2016–17, Mike Mrdak led the Department for the eighth 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 chaired the Transport and Infrastructure Senior Officials' Committee, which is charged with advising and assisting the Council of Australian Governments Transport and Infrastructure Council.

Mike was 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 chaired 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 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.

In November 2016, Mike was awarded the Public Service Excellence Award from the University of Canberra's Institute of Governance and Policy Analysis, for his outstanding contribution to the public service.

Judith Zielke PSM: Deputy Secretary

Judith Zielke commenced as Deputy Secretary in February 2016 and oversaw the Infrastructure Investment, Policy and Research and Surface Transport Policy divisions. Her responsibilities included infrastructure investment, strategic policy, national maritime, rail and heavy vehicle regulation, and regional development policy and programs.

Judith was also Chief Coordinator of the 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.

Judith was also a Member of the Board of the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). Internally, Judith chaired the Strategic Information Technology and Security Committee. She was also the Department's Indigenous champion.

Pip Spence: Acting Deputy Secretary

Pip Spence commenced as Acting Deputy Secretary in October 2016. Pip's responsibilities included the Office of Transport Security, Aviation and Airports, Local Government and Territories divisions, the Western Sydney Unit and the Inland Rail Unit.

Prior to acting as Deputy Secretary, Pip was Executive Director of the Aviation and Airports Division.

Pip was the Department's disability and gender equality champion.

Shane Carmody: Deputy Secretary (April to October 2016)

In his role as Deputy Secretary, Shane Carmody was responsible for delivering the transport security, air transport and services to territories programs.

Shane was the Department's representative on the board of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. He was also the Department's disability champion.

The portfolio

This 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 2017 were:

The Commonwealth companies in the portfolio at 30 June 2017 were:

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

Table 2.3 Information on portfolio entities in the General Government Sector at 30 June 2017
Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Local Government and Territories
The Hon Darren Chester MP, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Urban Infrastructure
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
Secretary Mike Mrdak AO
Purposes Promote, plan, evaluate 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 support local communities; and

Provide good governance in the Australian territories.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
Chair Stuart Richey AM
Chief Executive Officer Michael Kinley
Purposes Vision: Safe and clean seas, saving lives.

Mission: Ensuring safe vessel operations, combatting marine pollution, and rescuing people in distress.

Roles:
  • promote maritime safety and protection of the marine environment;
  • prevent and combat ship-sourced pollution in the marine environment;
  • provide infrastructure to support safe navigation in australian waters;
  • provide, on request, services to the maritime industry on a commercial basis;
  • provide, on request, services of a maritime nature on a commercial basis to the Commonwealth and/or states and territories; and
  • provide a national search and rescue service to the maritime and aviation sectors.
Australian Transport Safety Bureau
Chief Commissioner Greg Hood
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; and
  • safety data recording, analysis and research fostering safety awareness, knowledge and action.
Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Chair Jeffrey Boyd
Chief Executive Officer and Director of Aviation Safety Shane Carmody
Purposes The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is Australia's aviation safety regulator and is a corporate Commonwealth entity under the PGPA Act and was established on 6 July 1995 under the Civil Aviation Act 1988. The main object of the Civil Aviation Act is to establish a regulatory framework for maintaining, enhancing and promoting the safety of civil aviation, with particular emphasis on preventing aviation accidents and incidents.

CASA's key role is to conduct the safety regulation of civil air operations in Australian territory and the operation of Australian aircraft outside Australian territory. CASA is also responsible for ensuring that Australian-administered airspace is administered and used safely.

CASA, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, Airservices Australia and the Department of Defence constitute Australia's aviation safety framework, each with separate and distinct functions, but working together as an integrated system.

In keeping with CASA's fundamental obligations, efforts are maintained and promoted at all times to ensure our decision-making and actions are lawful, fair, reasonable and consistent, and in all cases contribute to optimal safety outcomes, while not unnecessarily impeding the efficient operation of entities that we regulate.
Infrastructure Australia
Chair The Hon Mark Birrell
Chief Executive Officer Philip Davies
Purposes Infrastructure Australia provides independent research and high quality advice to all levels of government, as well as investors and owners of infrastructure, on Australia's requirements for nationally significant infrastructure.

Infrastructure Australia provides advice and advocates for reforms on key issues including financing, delivering and operating infrastructure as well as the identification and promotion of best practice planning and utilisation of Australia's infrastructure networks.
National Capital Authority
Chair Terry Weber
Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Snow
Purposes To fulfil the National Capital Authority's statutory functions and purposes and better inform and educate the community about the importance of Canberra as the National Capital.

To facilitate the proper management and enhancement of National Land.
National Transport Commission
Chair David Anderson PSM
Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner Paul Retter AM
Purposes Develop and propose changes to national law, model law and other related instruments and guidelines to improve transport productivity, efficiency, safety, environmental performance and regulatory efficiency.

Maintain and monitor those reforms agreed by the Transport and Infrastructure Council.

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Last Updated: 20 November, 2017