Part 5: Annual Performance Statements

Statement

I, Dr Steven Kennedy PSM, the accountable authority for the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities during the 2017–18 reporting period, present the 2017–18 performance statements of the department, as required under section 39(1)(a) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).

These performance statements report our performance in 2017–18, including results against the measures in our 2017–18 Corporate Plan and Portfolio Budget Statements, and broad analysis against our purposes.

In my opinion, these annual performance statements are based on properly maintained records, accurately reflect performance results against departmental purposes and comply with sub-section 39(2) of the PGPA Act.

Dr Steven Kennedy PSM
18 September 2018

Summary: 2017–18 performance statements

Table 5.1 provides a consolidated traffic-light summary of the department's results against each performance measure. Subsequent tables and text provide more detailed performance results for each measure and an analysis on how these help assess our department in achieving purposes.

The majority of the department's performance measures are effectiveness measures, set at the purpose level. The department deliberately set targets against purpose-level measures above what we could achieve alone, to recognise the contributions of other Australian Government portfolio entities, state, territory and local governments, and industry. The remaining measures detail our role and the outputs we contribute, which influence the achievement of purpose-level measures.

Consistent with the presentation of the 2017–18 Corporate Plan, the Annual Performance Statements address the department's management of program risks through the analysis of each purpose. Additional information about the department's risk management and capability development during 2017–18 can be found in Part 3 of this report.

We noted the Department of Finance's direction in Resource Management Guide No. 135 that recommends descriptions of processes and activities be avoided in annual performance statements (paragraph 33). This descriptive information is not included in our 2017–18 performance statements, but is included in Part 4—Activities.

Traffic light summary key

The 2017–18 result met the target met
Our activities are contributing to progress against the target, but performance information is still under development under development
The 2017–18 result did not meet the target not met
Table 5.1 Traffic-light summary of results
Measure2017–18 result
Supporting economic growth through transport
1. Volume of freight met
2. Percentage of major road projects funded with a benefit cost ratio above 1.0 not met
3. Percentage of major airport projects funded with a benefit cost ratio above 1.0 met
4. Travel time savings arising from major road projects and programs (note same as measure 17) under development
5. Transport CO2 equivalent emissions not met
6. Proportion of Australia's roads included in the Transport and Infrastructure Council Asset Register met
7. Community understanding of road funding issues (not being measured in 2017–18) n/a
10. Passenger movements in the aviation sector met
Making travel safer
11. Number of road fatalities not met
12. Serious injuries due to road crashes under development
13. Number of rail fatalities under development
14. Number of maritime fatalities under development
15. Percentage of road vehicle standards that are harmonised with international standards met
16. Number of aviation fatalities met
Increasing transport access
17. Travel time savings arising from major road projects and programs (note same as measure #4) under development
18. Level of capacity for the rail network n/a
19. Level of capacity for coastal freight n/a
20. Level of capacity at major city airports met
21. Level of available capacity in international aviation markets met
22. Opportunities available to Australian airlines in international aviation markets met
23. Level of aviation services to remote communities (note same as measure 33) met
Supporting regional development and local communities
28. Number of employed persons outside capital cities met
29. Disposable household income for low and middle incomes outside capital cities not met
30. Financial assistance provided to support equitable levels of services by local government bodies met
31. Jobs supported by infrastructure investment and regional program investments under development
32. Jobs supported by Western Sydney Airport project met
33. Level of aviation services to remote communities (note same as measure 23) met
36. National Water Infrastructure Development Fund Investments provide affordable water to support the growth of regional communities met
37. National Water Infrastructure Loans Facility established to support state and territory investment in water infrastructure that will provide affordable water to support the growth of regional economies met
38. Number of projects receiving funding through the Smart Cities Suburbs Program met
Providing good governance in the territories
34. Communities in the external territories and Jervis Bay Territory have comparable services and essential infrastructure to similar communities under development
35. Legal and governance frameworks in the external territories and Jervis Bay Territory are appropriate for the protection and wellbeing of the communities met

Note: Measures 8, 9, 24, 25, 26, and 27 in the 2017–18 Corporate Plan related to the transport security function, which was transferred to the Department of Home Affairs in December 2017. The Department of Home Affairs has taken responsibility for all reporting requirements relating to the transport security function.

Measures 36, 37 and 38 did not appear in the 2017–18 Corporate Plan. These relate to cities and dam functions which were received into the department in December 2017.

Supporting economic growth through transport

Improving transport efficiency and sustainability to facilitate the movement of people and freight

The department plays a pivotal role in ensuring Australian's transport systems are productive and able to respond to growing freight and commuter needs. It does this by providing policy advice and managing the Australian Government's infrastructure investment, surface transport and air transport programs. This is particularly important as our cities and regional centres continue to expand. In 2016–17 alone, Australia's total population was estimated to have grown by around 406,600, with 81% of that growth concentrated in our capital cities.1

External factors can have a powerful effect on transport outcomes. To improve the efficiency and sustainability of Australia's transport systems, we depend on the commitment and efforts many stakeholders. In particular the department works closely with portfolio bodies, state, territory and local government officials and freight industry participants.

In 2017–18 our contribution to economic growth through transport was through three budget programs:

  • Infrastructure Investment (Program 1.1)
  • Surface Transport (Program 2.2)
  • Air Transport (Program 2.4)

Program activities are outlined in Part 4 of this report.

Performance results

Table 5.2 Results against performance measures
Measure
met 1. Volume of freight
Target Increased rolling average compared to previous 10 year period Trend 2006/07–2015/16
Previous result 10 year average to 2014–15 was 577 btkm (billion tonne kilometre) Total freight task

Coastal shipping

Rail

Road

Air
2017–18 result Australian freight volumes have continued to grow with a 10 year average to 2015–16 of 603 billion tonne kilometres (btkm), up 4.5 per cent compared to the previous 10 year rolling average

The 10 year average coastal trading volume declined from 112.9 btkm to 111.7 btkm

The 10 year average rail freight volume increased from 274.4 btkm to 296.8 btkm

The 10 year average road freight volume increased from 189.8 btkm to 194.3 btkm

The 10 year average air freight volume decreased from 0.33 btkm to 0.32btkm
not met 2. Percentage of major road projects funded with a benefit cost ratio above 1.0
Target 100%
Previous result 88% in 2016–17
2017–18 result 89% in 2017–18
met 3. Percentage of major airport projects funded with a benefit cost ratio above 1.0
Target 100%
Previous result 100% in 2016–17
2017–18 result 100% in 2017–18
under development 4. Travel time savings arising from major road projects and programs (note same as measure 17)
Target Reduced travel times
Previous result In 2016–17, the department prepared a case study on the Bruce Highway Cooroy to Curra (Section A) project, which reduced travel times from an average of 9.3 minutes to approximately 7.6 minutes for up to 16,000 vehicles a day
2017–18 result The department relies on project proponents' advice regarding travel time savings. The department expects reduced travel times to be achieved on projects where travel time savings are identified as an expected benefit of a project, and this is reported to the department—see project described in the analysis below and the activities section of this report for examples of travel time savings
not met 5. Transport CO2 equivalent emissions
Target Decreased rolling average compared to previous 10 year period
(< 89,841 gigagrams of CO2 equivalent)
Trend 2007/08–2016/17
Previous result 10 year average to 2015–16 was 89,841 gigagrams of CO2 equivalent
2017–18 result The 10 year average to 2016–17 was 91,012 gigagrams of CO2 equivalent, up 1.3 per cent compared to the previous 10 year rolling average
met 6. Proportion of Australia's roads included in the Transport and Infrastructure Council Asset Register
Target Increased proportion compared to previous year (> 8%)
Previous result In 2016–17, 8% of roads were included
2017–18 result In 2017–18, 11% of roads were included, up compared to 2016–17
n/a 7. Community understanding of road funding issues
Target Increased, demonstrated through community surveys (to be measured in 2018–19 and 2020–21)
Previous result Baseline established in 2016–17 indicating that 80% of respondents had very little awareness of how roads are funded
2017–18 result Not being measured in 2017–18
met 10. Passenger movements in the aviation sector
Target Increased rolling average compared to previous 10 year period Trend 2007/08–2016/17
Previous result 10 year average to 2016–17 was 85.1 million total passenger movements

10 year average to 2016–17 was 55.1 million domestic passenger movements

10 year average to 2016–17 was 30.0 million international passenger movements
Total passenger movements

Domestic passenger movements

International passenger movements
2017–18 result 10 year average to 2017–18 was 88.0 million total passenger movements, up 3.4 per cent.

10 year average to 2017–18 was 56.2 million domestic passenger movements up 2.1 per cent

10 year average to 2017–18 was 31.8 million international passenger movements up 5.8 per cent

Note: Measures 8 and 9 in the 2017–18 Corporate Plan related to the transport security function, which was transferred to the Department of Home Affairs in December 2017. The Department of Home Affairs has taken responsibility for all reporting requirements relating to the transport security function

Analysis

By providing policy advice and managing the Australian Government's infrastructure investment, surface transport and air transport programs, the department plays a pivotal role in ensuring our transport systems are productive and able to respond to growing freight and commuter needs. This is particularly important as our cities and regional centres continue to expand. In 2016–17 alone, Australia's total population is estimated to have grown by around 406,600, with 81% of that growth concentrated in our capital cities.2

Freight occupies a key place in the Australian economy. Australia's transport industry accounted for 4.7 per cent of gross domestic product in 2016–17.3 Improvements in the productivity and efficiency of this sector have flow on impacts for the economy as a whole, lowering costs for businesses, growing international market share and raising living standards.

The department's contribution to improving freight productivity and volumes transported included not only investment in infrastructure, but also ‘non-build’ solutions including regulation and governance reforms such as those set out in the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities.

The results of this measure show strong growth in Australia's freight sector, which is expected to continue.

Figure 5.1 Actual and projected domestic freight task by mode 1972 to 2040

Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) 2014, Freightline 1—Australian freight transport overview, BITRE, Canberra.

The government is working with states and territories to develop a national freight and supply chain strategy that builds on the outcomes of the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities. This strategy will provide a strong foundation to continue reform and improve the freight sector.

The department undertakes robust business case assessments of projects proposed for Commonwealth funding to ensure infrastructure investments achieve government policy objectives and value for money. The business case will generally include a benefit–cost ratio—one of a number of factors considered in our assessment of each business case. While recognising that equity objectives may also need to be considered when evaluating business cases, investing in projects with a benefit–cost ratio above 1.0 helps ensure that the economic benefits of the project to the community—and the nation—exceed the cost of delivering the project. In 2017–18, 89% of major road projects funded had a benefit–cost ratio above 1.0.

Australia's aviation sector provides an essential service by physically connecting people and businesses to one another and to the rest of the world. This includes by transporting high-value goods quickly to markets and bringing international visitors to the country. In supporting the sector to carry out this vital role, airports are linked intrinsically to the social and economic performance of our country, cities and regions.

The need for a new airport in Western Sydney is driven by the continued growth in demand for aviation services in the Sydney basin, and physical constraints at the existing airports.

The 2016 business case for the Western Sydney Airport project shows that the project is expected to generate net benefits of approximately $5.441 billion and a benefit–cost ratio (BCR) of over 1.8. As the BCR is greater than one, the economic cost–benefit assessment anticipates the project will deliver a net benefit to the community. The Western Sydney Airport has been planned for operational efficiently and to accommodate future growth. The business case complemented the social, environmental and economic analysis in the Environmental Impact Statement and demonstrates that it is expected to generate significant economic benefits for Western Sydney and the greater Sydney region.

Travel time savings lower costs for business by reducing travel times and improving road services reliability, as well as contributing amenity through reduced travel times for commuters and other road users. For example, when completed, the upgrade of the Pacific Highway between Hexham near Newcastle and the Queensland border will save motorists travelling the length of the upgrade around two and a half hours from when works began in 1996. Reduced travel times and increased efficiency will be enjoyed by all users, including freight transport, local and tourist traffic. The upgrade involves the full duplication of more than 600 kilometres of the Pacific Highway. The new route alignment follows a more direct path, reducing the length of the journey, with smoother grades contributing to better efficiency. As the new route has been built to a higher standard, it will also support a revised speed limit of 110 kilometres an hour along much of the route. As part of the upgrade, many towns are bypassed. This improves safety and amenity in these places while reducing travel times. Although bypasses often follow a longer route, they avoid the speed limitations and hazards common in urban environments. Further details on the Pacific Highway project are available in part 4.

The department helped reduce CO2 emissions from new light vehicles through the mandatory fuel consumption labelling scheme under the Australian Design Rules. It also maintained the online Green Vehicle Guide. The label and Green Vehicle Guide allow car buyers to compare the environmental performance (such as CO2 emissions) of light vehicles sold in Australia and informs their purchasing decisions.

Australia supported adoption of a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping through the International Maritime Organization. The strategy sets a pathway to emissions reduction that is consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals, including a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping by at least 50 per cent by 2050 compared to 2008 levels.

The department continued work to extend the Transport and Infrastructure Council's heavy vehicle asset registers to include roads managed in selected local government areas. This involved working with the Australian Road Research Board on a pilot program in Victoria to understand the road data that a range of local councils would be able to provide. The aim of asset registers is to improve transparency and accountability to heavy vehicle road users around the levels of service they receive on freight routes. It is important that we test the feasibility of extending that to the 80% of Australia's roads managed by local government.

Communication and research activities undertaken by state and territory government agencies, the transport sector and industry bodies, academics and thought-leaders (via television, print, social media and radio) help influence community understanding of how Australian roads are funded. The department continued work during the year with these stakeholders to help shape and inform messages about road infrastructure funding.

Aviation is a key sector for Australia's economic prosperity. In 2016–17 the aviation sector is estimated to have contributed over $9.6 billion directly to Australia's GDP.

Strong growth in demand for aviation services has been an enduring trend in the Australian economy, with passenger movements, both domestically and internationally, exhibiting strong growth over the last 20 years.

In 2017–18, passenger movements in the aviation sector increased from 98.0 million in 2016–17 to 101.4 million, a 3.5 per cent increase. Domestic passenger movements increased 2.5 per cent year on year, while for international passenger movements, the figure was 5.1 per cent.

This strong growth is driven in part by the department's commitment to an open and competitive industry with cost effective regulation which balances stakeholder needs with appropriate economic, safety and security requirements. Internationally, the department also seeks to liberalise our bilateral air services arrangements in line with market requirements.

Throughout 2017–18 the department held air services discussions with 22 economies, and settled new or updated air services arrangements with 12 countries. These open new opportunities for Australian and foreign airlines to operate to and from Australia, ensuring we have the appropriate frameworks in place to cater for future demand.

Passenger volumes can be influenced by many factors outside of the department's control, including:

  • domestic economic conditions (for example, the slowing of growth in the resources sector impacting regional sectors)
  • volatility in the international market fuelled by global financial and political uncertainty
  • cyclical pressures on airline and airport financial performance (for instance, increased fuel prices affecting the commercial viability of sectors with smaller financial margins)

The measure results indicate that improvements in transport efficiency are making a positive contribution to economic growth with increases in freight volumes, aviation passenger movements, and reduced travel times from major road projects. All major airport projects and the vast majority of major road projects had benefit cost ratios above 1.0.

Efficiency of departmental activities related to supporting economic growth through transport

To improve the understanding of the efficiency of road investment, the department worked with state and territory governments to benchmark the cost of road construction and procurement timeliness for a second time. The analysis, prepared by the department's Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), looked at 2017 procurements and was published in the 2018 Road Construction Cost and Infrastructure Procurement Benchmarking Report.

With information about 32 road construction projects, BITRE found the average cost to build each lane of a kilometre of road was $5.1 million in 2017 ($5.4 million/lane kilometre for rural arterial roads, and $6.8 million for urban freeways). Average costs were lower than in 2015 ($6.5 million/lane kilometre for rural arterial roads, and $7.8 million for urban freeways). Infrastructure procurement times had also improved slightly since 2015, shortening to an average of 89 weeks (from 91 weeks in 2015).

Figure 5.2 Road-related revenue and expenditure estimates to 2030 (2011–12 prices)

Source: BITRE, 2015, Australian Infrastructure Statistics Yearbook 2015, Table 1.4, p.42 and earlier issues and BITRE estimates

Case study 1

Optimising the benefits of city shaping developments in Western Sydney

The Australian Government, together with the NSW Government and local governments of Sydney's Western City, are working to build a stronger and more prosperous Western Sydney. This once-in-a-generation transformation will meet the needs of the region's growing population by investing in major infrastructure projects, and delivering on commitments that will catalyse investment, development and job opportunities.

Western Sydney Airport

Western Sydney Airport is one of the most significant transport infrastructure projects underway in Australia. The Australian Government is investing up to $5.3 billion in equity over 10 years to develop Western Sydney Airport through a Commonwealth company, WSA Co Construction. Work will start in the second half of 2018, and the airport is on track to open in 2026.

With a cost benefit ratio of over 1.8, Western Sydney Airport will deliver real benefits to the Western Sydney community and its economy. The airport will connect the growing Western Sydney region to the world and be a catalyst for investment, accelerate infrastructure development, and strengthen Western Sydney as a major economic region in its own right. It will be a major generator of long-term employment and economic activity, supporting tens of thousands of jobs closer to where people live during both construction and operation.

Employment targets will maximise jobs for locals, provide training and employment opportunities, and engage indigenous and disadvantaged people.

The airport will attract business investment in Western Sydney across a range of industries, from manufacturing and logistics to hospitality, education and other professional services. It will enable businesses to have quicker and more convenient access to overseas markets. For example, goods manufacturers and exporters of perishable items will be able to reach markets in Asia the next morning. There will also be opportunities for tourism in the region, with the airport providing better access to destinations across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan

Good road and rail links will allow the airport and surrounding growth areas to meet their full potential. The Australian and NSW governments are constructing new and upgraded roads around the airport under the $3.6 billion Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan. These upgrades are well underway and will connect Western Sydney Airport to Sydney's motorway network, relieve pressure on existing infrastructure and unlock the economic capacity of the region by easing costly congestion, reducing travel times and creating thousands of local jobs.

Western Sydney City Deal

The Western Sydney City Deal builds on the Western Sydney Airport development to maintain and enhance the area's unique character. It will improve community infrastructure and liveability and support a new Western Parkland City.

Delivery of the first stage of a North South Rail Link from St Marys through the airport to the Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis is a key deliverable. The first stage of North–South rail will help shape Western Sydney's growth and support new jobs and homes for the Western Parkland City. The Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis will be established as a world-class city precinct adjoining the airport, and will drive new investment and attract high value jobs to the region.

Key themes and commitments of the Western Sydney City Deal include:

  • Connectivity—connecting the Western Parkland City by world-class road, rail, aviation and digital infrastructure.
  • Jobs for the future—building on the unique opportunity of the Western Sydney Airport to drive business investment and employment growth.
  • Skills and education—coordinating the approach to education, skills and training to ensure those who live, work and play in the Western Parkland City can take advantage of the substantial job opportunities now and into the future.
  • Planning and housing—a package of reform across the planning spectrum to deliver housing targets, and ensure sustainable growth and coordination across all levels of government.
  • Liveability and environment—working together to ensure the Western Parkland City is a great place to live, with inclusive and welcoming communities and celebrated natural assets.
  • Governance—a shared vision and implementation plan to deliver for the future of the Western Parkland City.

What's next?

The Western Sydney City Deal is a new way of collaborating between federal, state and local government. The department will continue working with our state and local government partners to jointly deliver City Deal commitments in 2018–19.

Penrith in Western Sydney

Penrith in Western Sydney

Making travel safer

Minimising the number and severity of transport safety incidents

The department works to reduce the number and severity of safety incidents across all transport modes by regulating, providing policy advice, and managing the Australian Government's infrastructure investment, surface transport, road safety and air transport programs. Key activities include:

  • investing in safer infrastructure
  • developing and enforcing vehicle design standards
  • fostering a strong safety culture within transport industries

Through these, the department focuses on achieving long-term transport safety improvements.

Transport safety is a complex policy area, and, as with other transport outcomes, external factors can have a powerful effect. As such, the department coordinates its activities with those of a number of stakeholders. Domestically, the department works with other Australian Government transport agencies and with industry, researchers, safety specialists, unions, and state, territory and local governments. Internationally, the department is part of forums including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

In 2017–18 the department helped make travel safer through four budget programs:

  • Infrastructure Investment (Program 1.1)
  • Surface Transport (Program 2.2)
  • Road Safety (Program 2.3)
  • Air Transport (Program 2.4)

Program activities are outlined in Part 4 of this report.

Performance results

Table 5.3 Results against performance measures
Measure
not met 11. Number of road fatalities
Target On track to achieve the target in the National Road Safety Strategy 2011–2020 to reduce road deaths by at least 30 per cent on 2008–2010 figures by 2020 Trend 2008–2017
Previous result In 2016–17 there were 1,223 fatalities: a 14.2% reduction relative to the 2008–2010 baseline of 1,426 road deaths
2017–18 result In 2017–18 there were 1,222 fatalities: a 14.3% reduction relative to the 2008–10 baseline, which suggests we are not yet on track to achieve the target.

To be on track to achieve the National Road Safety Strategy targeta, the reduction in fatalities relative to the baseline should be closer to 25%
under development 12. Serious injuries due to road crashes
Target On track to have source data and establish a baseline to monitor progress and inform targets by 2019–20
Previous result New measure
2017–18 result The department is partnering with AustRoads and state and territory governments to establish nationally consistent source data on serious road crashes injuries by 2019–20. We are on track to collect and report this data in 2019–20. This will enable us to establish a baseline to monitor progress and inform targets over time
under development 13. Number of rail fatalities
Target Decreased rolling average compared to previous 10 year period
Previous result Data not available for 2016–17
2017–18 result In 2017 there were six fatalities reported by the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (excluding suicide and trespassb). Data on a 10 year period is not currently available, and as such an assessment against the target set for this measure in 2016–17 cannot be made
under development 14. Number of maritime fatalities
Target Decreased rolling average compared to previous 10 year period Trend 2010–2017
Previous result Data on a 10 year period are not currently available, so an assessment against the target set for this measure in 2016–17 cannot be made
2017–18 result Data on maritime fatalities are only available for 2017, and the previous seven years (that is, from 2010). In 2017, 10 maritime fatalities were recorded

Over the seven years to 2017, the average number of maritime fatalities was 5.3.This is an increase compared to the average of the previous seven-year period—2010 to 2016—which was 4.1 maritime fatalities

Data on a 10 year period are not currently available, so an assessment against the target set for this measure in 2016–17 can not be made
met 15. Percentage of road vehicle standards that are harmonised with international standards
Target Increased compared to previous year
Previous result 93% harmonised
2017–18 result 94% harmonised, an increase compared to the previous year
met 16. Number of aviation fatalities
Target Decreased rolling average compared to previous 10 year period Trend 2008–2017
Previous result The average number of aviation fatalities for the 10 years up to 2016 was 34.0
2017–18 result The average number of aviation fatalities for the 10 years to end of 2017 was 33.6, which was a decrease compared to the 10 years to end of 2016
  1. While there has been long-term decline in the number of deaths from 3,798 in 1970 to a record low of 1,150 in 2014, deaths have increased over the last five years (from 1,187 in 2013 to 1,226 in 2017). It is now unlikely that the 30 per cent reduction target for deaths will be achieved by 2020
  2. The statistics apply only to those railways within ONRSR's area of operation within this reporting period—South Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania, Northern Territory, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia (1 January 2017 to 31 December 2017) and Queensland (from 1 July 2017)

Analysis

During 2017–18 the department continued work to reduce the social and economic impacts of safety incidents, and to improve the long-term sustainability of the road, maritime and aviation systems. In doing so, we worked closely with state and territory government officials, regulators, industry and other stakeholders.

The National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) 2011–2020, a joint initiative of the Australian, state and territory governments, is firmly based on the Safe System approach. This involves a holistic view of the road transport system and the interactions among roads and roadsides, travel speeds, vehicles and road users. It recognises human error and requires the system to be more forgiving so that crashes are less likely, and when they do happen, the result is not death or serious injury. In 2017 the Australian Government initiated an inquiry into the NRSS with two independent co-chairs to examine evidence, consult with stakeholders, and advise what can be done better to prevent road trauma.

During the year BITRE continued to collect and publish data on road deaths and crashes that is used to track progress against the NRSS fatality targets, and to inform policy development and the community. BITRE also worked with jurisdictions on new performance indicators (for example for deaths involving drugs) and managed the Austroads' project to develop a national source of serious injury data by linking hospital and crash data.

The number of road crash deaths in Australia has declined over recent decades, from a high of 3,798 in 1970 to a low of 1,151 in 2014. Following stronger progress in the early years of the current NRSS, the number of deaths in 2017–18 represents modest progress and it is now unlikely that the 30 per cent reduction target will be met. Despite the increase in the number and size of trucks on the roads, the rate of fatal crashes per registered vehicle decreased by more than 51 per cent for articulated trucks and by eight per cent for rigid trucks between 2007 and 2017.

The Australian Design Rules specify mandatory requirements that vehicles must meet before they can be supplied to the market. These are mostly performance-based standards that deliver levels of vehicle safety, emission control and anti-theft protection that are generally expected by the Australian community. Since the mid-1980s, the department has worked to progressively harmonise the rules with internationally-based United Nations vehicle regulations. Harmonisation ensures that vehicles built and supplied to the Australian market can be fitted with the latest vehicle safety technologies.

Both the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator continued work to harmonise Australia's rail safety and heavy vehicle safety regulations respectively. By implementing more nationally consistent regulatory frameworks, the regulators are making it easier for industry to comply, particularly those businesses undertaking cross border operations. The department worked with the national rail and heavy vehicle regulators to facilitate regulatory and administrative changes that will deliver productivity improvements. Examples include:

  • our leadership of the Heavy Vehicle Strategy Group to support more effective compliance and enforcement as well as permit granting arrangements
  • work to promote the changes to heavy vehicle chain of responsibility laws
  • support for the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator
  • work to review alcohol and drug testing arrangements

The department helped improve maritime safety outcomes by implementing the Navigation Act 2012 which gives effect to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea. The Act promotes safety at sea and safe navigation, and ensures that the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has the powers to inspect vessels and enforce national and international standards. We also contributed to maritime safety through our governance of AMSA, and by working closely with the authority to implement maritime policy matters.

Our aviation safety role is to facilitate changes to the aviation legislative and regulatory framework, and coordinate Australia's Aviation State Safety Program. During 2017–18 an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) audit of Australia's aviation safety system lifted our safety oversight score to 95% and into the world's top 10. This independent assessment of Australia's aviation safety oversight capabilities looked at our aviation legislation, licensing, operations, civil aviation organisational structures, air navigation and accident investigation. This positive outcome reflects the efforts of a range of stakeholders including the department, CASA, Airservices Australia, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, AMSA and the Bureau of Meteorology.

Figure 5.3 Fatality rates by transport mode

Figure 5.3 Fatality rates by transport mode

Notes:

  1. Marine fatalities data from 2010 onwards were compiled using a different methodology and should not be compared with earlier results
  2. Rail fatality and serious injury data from 2012 onwards excludes suspected suicide and trespass occurrences. They were compiled using new methodology and should not be compared with earlier results
  3. Y axis ranges are not the same as the other transport modes

Source: BITRE, 2017, Yearbook 2017: Australian Infrastructure Statistics, Statistical Report, Canberra ACT
BITRE, 2018, Road Deaths Australia, June 2018, Canberra ACT

Efficiency of departmental activities related to ‘making travel safer’

BITRE works with jurisdictions to develop new performance indicators (for example for deaths involving drugs) and manages the Austroads' project to develop a national source of serious injury data by linking hospital and crash data.

Case Study

Lives saved—Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) for motorcycles

ABS is a closed-loop system that reduces wheel lock during braking, resulting in improved vehicle stability and control under heavy braking. Although established for many years on passenger cars and heavy vehicles, it is less widespread on motorcycles. Australian motorcyclists ride for various reasons including recreation, low-cost transport and ease of commuting in congested areas. In doing this they also face around 20 times the fatality risk per kilometre travelled to that of a car occupant. Over 200 deaths a year (around 18 per cent of all road deaths) are motorcyclists, despite motorcyclists representing only around 4 per cent of the Australian vehicle fleet. This costs the Australian community $2 billion a year.

Real-world research

As part of the National Road Safety Action Plan 2015–2017, the Australian Government partnered with VicRoads to commission real-world research into the effectiveness of motorcycle ABS in Australian conditions. The research found ABS to be highly effective at reducing motorcyclist trauma.

How this helps motorcyclists

The department undertook a multi-stage consultation strategy to present the research, separate it from some of the myths and anecdotal evidence about ABS, and to better understand its use and acceptance amongst riders and manufacturers. This included Australia-wide face-to-face workshops with motorcycle groups, the release of a preliminary discussion paper, consultation and a final Regulation Impact Statement. Manufacturers were integral in working with the government to develop the proposal into a practical regulation for implementation.

New design rule

In November 2017, the Hon Paul Fletcher, Minister for Urban Infrastructure, signed an Australian Design Rule requiring advanced braking systems including ABS to be fitted as standard on certain new motorcycles.

What's next?

From November 2019 new motorcycles sold in Australia will feature the same life-saving ABS technology currently required in Europe, Japan and a number of other major markets around the world. This will save close to 600 Australian motorcyclist lives over an expected 15 year period of regulation and provide a net benefit of $1.62 billion in road trauma savings.

All data from: Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, “Regulation Impact Statement—Advanced Motorcycle Braking Systems for Safer Riding,” 2017

Increasing transport access

Connecting people, communities, businesses and markets

Road, rail, maritime and air transport are critical to connect people with their jobs, communities and essential services. The department facilitates access across all transport modes by regulating, providing policy advice and managing the Australian Government's infrastructure investment, surface transport and air transport programs.

As with other transport outcomes, a diverse range of external factors can affect transport access. These include the demands of our growing population and increasing freight volumes, the spatial distribution of communities and the policies of other key infrastructure investors—including state, territory and local governments, and industry. To maximise access, we work closely with influencing stakeholders. These include, domestically, other Australian Government transport agencies as well as industry, unions, and state, territory and local governments. Internationally, the department works as part of forums including the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Maritime Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation.

In 2017–18 our contribution to this area was through three budget programs:

  • Infrastructure Investment (Program 1.1)
  • Surface Transport (Program 2.2)
  • Air Transport (Program 2.4)

Program activities are outlined in Part 4 of this report.

Performance results

Table 5.4 Results against performance measures
Measure
met 17. Travel time savings arising from major road projects and programs (note same as measure 4)
Target Reduced travel times
Previous result In 2016–17 the department prepared a case study on the Bruce Highway Cooroy to Curra (Section A) project, which reduced travel times from an average of 9.3 minutes to approximately 7.6 minutes for up to 16,000 vehicles a day
2017–18 result The department relies on project proponents' advice regarding travel time savings. The department expects reduced travel times to be achieved on projects where travel time savings are identified as an expected benefit of a project, and this is reported to the department—see project described in the analysis below and the activities section of this report for examples of travel time savings
n/a 18. Level of capacity for the rail network
Target Increased
Previous result Not measured
2017–18 result Data are not available for these measures

While some of the department's activities are designed to increase rail network capacity and coastal freight capacity, current resources are unable to measure it as an outcome. These measures will be removed in 2018–19 and the department's future focus for performance will be on the existing related measure, freight volumes
n/a 19. Level of capacity for coastal freight
Target Increased
Previous result Not measured
2017–18 result Data are not available for these measures

While some of the department's activities are designed to increase rail network capacity and coastal freight capacity, current resources are unable to measure it as an outcome. These measures will be removed in 2018–19 and the department's future focus for performance will be on the existing related measure, freight volumes
met 20. Level of capacity at major city airports
Target Increased compared to rolling strategic 20 year planning period
Previous result Increased, achieved through updating eight air services arrangements and implementing five new air services arrangements
2017–18 result By expanding commercial opportunities for airlines in new and existing markets, new and updated air services arrangements increase the level of capacity at major city airports and the level of available capacity in international aviation markets

New and updated arrangements also increase opportunities for Australian airlines to serve the respective market, either using their own aircraft or through cooperative commercial arrangements with foreign airlines (for example, code share)

In 2017–18 there were 107 air services arrangements in place, an increase compared to 2016–17 when there were 103 arrangements

During 2017–18 eight existing arrangements were updated, four new arrangements were made, and two air services agreements were signed. Five of the updated/new arrangements resulted in increased aviation capacity for both Australian and foreign airlines at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth airports
met 21. Level of available capacity in international aviation markets
Target Increased compared to previous year
Previous result Increased, achieved through updating eight air services arrangements and implementing five new air services arrangements
2017–18 result By expanding commercial opportunities for airlines in new and existing markets, new and updated air services arrangements increase the level of capacity at major city airports and the level of available capacity in international aviation markets

New and updated arrangements also increase opportunities for Australian airlines to serve the respective market, either using their own aircraft or through cooperative commercial arrangements with foreign airlines (for example, code share)

In 2017–18 there were 107 air services arrangements in place, an increase compared to 2016–17 when there were 103 arrangements

During 2017–18 eight existing arrangements were updated; four new arrangements were made; and two air services agreements were signed. Five of the updated/new arrangements resulted in increased aviation capacity for both Australian and foreign airlines at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth airports
met 22. Opportunities available to Australian airlines in international aviation markets
Target Increased compared to previous year
Previous result Increased, achieved through updating eight air services arrangements and implementing five new air services arrangements
2017–18 result By expanding commercial opportunities for airlines in new and existing markets, new and updated air services arrangements increase the level of capacity at major city airports and the level of available capacity in international aviation markets

New and updated arrangements also increase opportunities for Australian airlines to serve the respective market, either using their own aircraft or through cooperative commercial arrangements with foreign airlines (for example, code share)

In 2017–18 there were 107 air services arrangements in place, an increase compared to 2016–17 when there were 103 arrangements

During 2017–18 eight existing arrangements were updated, four new arrangements were made, and two air services agreements were signed. Five of the updated/new arrangements resulted in increased aviation capacity for both Australian and foreign airlines at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth airports
met 23. Level of aviation services to remote communities (note same as measure 33)
Target Maintained or increased compared to previous year
Previous result In 2016–17 departmental activities guaranteed aviation services were provided to 266 remote communities
2017–18 result In 2017–18 departmental activities guaranteed aviation services to 266 remote communities, maintaining service levels compared to 2016–17

Note: Measures 24, 25, 26 and 27 in the 2017–18 Corporate Plan related to the transport security function, which was transferred to the Department of Home Affairs in December 2017. The Department of Home Affairs has taken responsibility for all reporting requirements relating to the transport security function

Analysis

Increasing transport access for all Australians is a key focus for our department. Through access to safe, efficient and sustainable domestic and international transport systems, the department aims to contribute to Australia's continuing prosperity and the wellbeing of all Australians. During 2017–18 the department progressed work across various activities, programs and modes including the Regional Aviation Access Program, air services agreements, coastal freight, infrastructure investment, and rail network capacity.

The department helps increase transport access for all Australian's by designing and implementing the Australian Government's infrastructure policies and investment programs, especially in remote communities. The commitment to the Kennedy Developmental Road project under the Northern Australian Roads Program is an example of how we work with states and territories to prioritise projects which improve road reliability, reduce travel times, cut costs for freight operators and enhance economic opportunities. This year work progressed on making the road safer and more reliable during significant weather events for local communities and industries. Sealing sections of the Kennedy Developmental Road between The Lynd and Hughenden is expected to reduce travel times from 37 minutes to 26 minutes. In addition to the efficiency gains for regional businesses, improving this road will benefit communities by delivering more reliable access to community services and employment opportunities.

The department provides policy advice, oversees planning and manages the Australian Government's investment through selected infrastructure programs to deliver efficiency-enhancing transport infrastructure. It does this in partnership with state, territory and local governments and other implementation bodies, such as the Australian Rail Track Corporation Limited and the Moorebank Intermodal Company Limited.

The Australian Government is working to ensure that capacity exists for coastal shipping to play an increasing role in Australia's freight transport network. The Coastal Trading (Revitalising Australian Shipping) Amendment Bill 2017 was introduced to parliament in September 2017. This is designed to reduce the regulatory burden of the current coastal trading regime and increase the capacity of coastal shipping, which will benefit Australian manufacturing, mining and agricultural industries. The amendments will introduce greater flexibility and certainty to the coastal trading market and make coastal shipping a more competitive way to move freight.

The growth in the level of available capacity at major city airports (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth) directly relates to the new and updated air services arrangements negotiated by the department. These show the number of new markets open for Australian and foreign airlines and indicate more liberalised market access. This results in increased passenger traffic at major Australian airports, subject to airlines taking up new and updated commercial opportunities.

The level of available capacity in international aviation markets is related to the number of new and updated air services arrangements. The department is working to negotiate new—and liberalise existing—air services arrangements, and is progressively removing a range of market access restrictions (including on routes, capacity and traffic rights).

Expanded commercial opportunities available to Australian airlines in international aviation markets could be reflected in the number of new and updated air services arrangements which open new markets or liberalise market access in existing arrangements.

Maintaining the level of aviation services to remote areas ensures that Australians living in those communities can receive goods and services more reliably, and access regional service centres. In 2017–18 under the Regional Aviation Access Program, air services continued to be subsidised to 266 designated remote communities. Communities can apply to access the subsidised flights at any time. The department works with communities to maximise the benefits from the flights.

The government announced further funding for access and safety works at 31 remote aerodromes, improving the reliability of air services to these locations, especially during the wet season when air links are especially important. These projects were undertaken with state and local governments.

Our work to increase transport access means we liaise closely with state, territory and local governments to:

  • improve planning
  • provide strategic policy advice
  • strengthen investment decision making
  • make the most of share investments

By connecting people, communities, businesses and markets, the department provides a stronger Australia and stronger Australian economy.

Efficiency of departmental activities related to increasing transport access

The Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities highlighted the importance for the national economy of ensuring key intermodal hubs and ports are accessible and operate efficiently.

Supporting regional development and local communities

Delivering jobs and economic growth for regional Australia and improving standards of living through influencing policy, investing in infrastructure and building community capability

Australia's regional areas are home to one third of the population and are an important source of job creation and production.

The department supports regional development and local communities by providing policy advice, and managing the Australian Government's infrastructure investment, air transport, regional development and local government programs. Regional Development Australia Committees that we manage help foster local leaders who can facilitate regional growth opportunities tailored to their circumstances. Equally important is the financial assistance provided through grants programs to promote economic growth and ensure equitable levels of local government services across Australia.

The drivers of regional wellbeing are highly complex; our regions are diverse and changes to the national economy can affect individual regions in different ways. To support regional development and local communities, the department works closely with all tiers of government and local stakeholders.

In 2017–18 our contribution to this purpose was through four budget programs:

  • Infrastructure Investment (Program 1.1)
  • Air Transport (Program 2.4)
  • Regional Development (Program 3.1)
  • Local Government (Program 3.2)

Program activities are outlined in Part 4 of this report.

Performance results

Table 5.5 Results against performance measures
Measure
met 28. Number of employed persons outside capital cities
Target Increased compared to previous year Trend 2008–2017
Previous result 3.81 million persons in 2016
2017–18 result 3.88 million persons in 2017, up compared to 2016
not met 29. Real disposable household income for low and middle incomes outside capital cities
Target Increased compared to previous year Trend 2007/08–2015/16
Previous result In 2013–14, real disposable incomes were $523/week (in $15–16)
2017–18 result In 2015–16, real disposable incomes were $521/week, largely unchanged
met 30. Financial assistance is provided to support equitable levels of services by local government bodies
Target Financial assistance is provided in accordance with the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995
Previous result $3.5 billion in financial assistance provided to local government bodies in accordance with the Act
2017–18 result $2.4 billion in financial assistance provided to local government bodies in accordance with the Act
under development 31. Jobs supported by infrastructure investment and regional program investments
Target Demonstrated through delivery of Australian Government funded projects
Previous result In 2016–17 the department prepared a case study on the Werrington Arterial Road, which supported more than 80 direct and indirect jobs. Overall the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan is expected to support approximately 4,000 direct and indirect jobs over its 10-year lifetime. The department provided information on the expected number of jobs supported by a further four projects
2017–18 result By delivering Australian Government funded projects, the department supported both direct and indirect jobs—see case study included in the analysis below
met 32. Jobs supported by Western Sydney Airport project
Target Construction commenced in 2018–19
Previous result In 2016–17, the department focused on ensuring appropriate regulatory settings and an investment strategy for the Western Sydney Airport project. These will enable employment opportunities to be capitalised on through delivery of the project
2017–18 result In 2017–18, WSA Co, a government-owned company, was established to develop and operate the Western Sydney Airport. WSA Co's project schedule shows construction will commence in the second half of the 2018 calendar year. WSA Co currently has about 45 employees and expects to grow to about 75 in total. WSA Co has also engaged a delivery partner and project manager (definition) that will engage around 120 staff. Western Sydney Airport will be a major jobs generator and WSA Co has committed to a package of local employment, diversity and learning workforce targets that will be publicly reported against from 2021
met 33. Level of aviation services to remote communities (note same as measure 32)
Target Maintained or increased compared to previous year
Previous result In 2016–17 our activities guaranteed aviation services were provided to 266 remote communities
2017–18 result In 2017–18 our activities guaranteed aviation services were provided to 266 remote communities This maintained service levels compared to 2016–17
met 36. National Water Infrastructure Development Fund Investments provide affordable water to support the growth of regional communities
Target Co-fund construction of three water infrastructure projects, including one in northern Australia
Previous result New measure
2017–18 result In 2017–18 the department cofunded five water infrastructure projects, including two in northern Australia
met 37. National Water Infrastructure Loans Facility established to support state and territory investment in water infrastructure that will provide affordable water to support the growth of regional economies
Target State and territory governments have access to concessional loan funding for approved water infrastructure projects
Previous result New measure
2017–18 result In 2017–18, departmental activities guaranteed state and territory government access to concessional loan funding to build approved water infrastructure projects
met 38. Number of projects receiving funding through the Smart Cities Suburbs Program
Target 49 projects funded in round 1
Previous result New measure
2017–18 result 49 projects were funded in round 1 of the Smart Cities Suburbs Program

Analysis

The number of people employed in regional Australia is measured and released to test performance against annual targets. Employment is also an indicator of sustainability and capacity of communities.

The Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities portfolio supports this outcome by administering government investment in transport infrastructure, and delivering regional grants. These investments in regional communities build confidence, encourage private-sector investment and create jobs both during the construction phase and over the longer-term. They also improve community capability by providing a direct and indirect positive impact on employment.

Figure 5.4 People employed outside capital cities

Source: 6291.0.55.001–LM1–Labour force status by Age, Greater Capital City and Rest of State (ASGS), Marital status and Sex, February 1978 onwards

Regional Australia experienced increased employment from 2016–17 to 2017–18 and has kept pace with capital city employment. Increases in the number of people employed is an indicator of improved living standards within a community.

Figure 5.5 Number of people employed from 2016–17 to 2017–18

Source: 6291.0.55.001–LM1–Labour force status by Age, Greater Capital City and Rest of State (ASGS), Marital status and Sex, February 1978 onwards

This measure directly tracks living standards for income earners, the majority of who are on low and middle incomes. Consistent with the national average disposable household income, regional Australian household incomes experienced a slight decline between 2013–14 and 2015–16. This measure was chosen as an indicator of living standards and identifies the social and economic wellbeing of regional Australians compared to national trends. This income decline is partially attributable to factors outside the department's control such as slow wage growth.

Disposable income reflects the health of the wider economy and its vulnerability to economic fluctuations. Areas in regional Australia are more likely to have a narrow industry base with jobs concentrated with a smaller range of employers, including factors such as a region's reliance on a single employer or industry.

In 2017–18, $2.4 billion in financial assistance was provided to local governments.

The Local Government Financial Assistance Grants Program addresses inequality in the capacity of local governments to provide essential services to their communities. The funding is untied and comprises two components:

  • a general purpose component which is distributed between the states and territories according to population
  • an identified local roads component which is distributed between the states and territories according to fixed historical shares

The Australian Government provides $2.4 billion a year under the Financial Assistance Grants program to state and territory governments. This supports equitable levels of local government services across Australia, helping councils deliver infrastructure, health, recreation, environmental and employment projects.

By delivering Australian Government funded projects, the department supports both direct and indirect jobs.

In 2018–19 the department will report the expected number of jobs supported over the life of infrastructure and regional development projects underway during the financial year (based on proponent reported data).

The portfolio contributes to the prosperity of the economy and the wellbeing of all Australians by designing and implementing the government's regional development, infrastructure and transport policies and programs. Infrastructure policy and investment helps support local communities and increase regional productivity by creating local jobs and connecting our regions.

During 2017–18 for example, Indigenous company Bama Civil was contracted to seal a stretch of the Peninsula Developmental Road at Ten Mile Creek through the Cape York Region Package. This project not only demonstrates how infrastructure investment creates jobs but also supports regional development and local communities. The Cape York Region Package will give remote Queensland communities more reliable access during the wet season and safer, quicker trips during the dry season. The infrastructure investment will open up the region to more employment and business development opportunities, and is expected to support more than 160 direct jobs over the five year package.

Western Sydney Airport will also stimulate local employment. Construction will create over 11,000 jobs through to the airport's opening in 2026. By 2031 the airport will provide almost 28,000 jobs, both onsite and within the surrounding airport precinct. Construction will commence in the second half of 2018 and the airport will open in 2026.

WSA Co has committed to strong local employment targets. When the airport is fully operational, The target is for 50 per cent of employees to be residents of Western Sydney. There will be a separate target for 30 per cent of workers to be residents of Western Sydney during the construction phase. This is significantly higher than the typical 20 per cent target set on comparable projects underway in Sydney.

These workforce aspirations form part of a comprehensive package of employment targets for Western Sydney Airport which include:

  • Indigenous workers to make up 2.4 per cent of the total airport construction workforce
  • three per cent of all contracts during construction to be with Indigenous firms
  • 20 per cent of the workforce to be made up of learning workers, including apprentices and trainees
  • WSA Co will report annually against these targets from 2021

Access to water is a key driver for growth in Australia. This is particularly so in regional and remote areas where reliable water supplies are a constraint to investment in primary industries, including agriculture, and communities.

Through the $580 million National Water Infrastructure Development Fund and the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility, the Australian Government and the states are building infrastructure to provide secure and affordable water and to support the growth of regional economies and communities.

In 2017–18 the department completed the second funding round for the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund. Five water infrastructure projects were funded, including two in northern Australia. Co-investing with the states and their project partners in the construction of these projects will provide more than 100 gigalitres in new water for these rural and regional economies.

The $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility complements the $580 million National Water Infrastructure Development Fund. It co-invests in infrastructure that will provide secure and affordable water and support the growth of regional economies and communities.

In 2017–18 the department completed the second funding round for the National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility. The Myalup–Wellington Dam Project in Western Australia was awarded $50 million in concessional loan funding from the second assessment round. The Australian Government is partnering with the Western Australian Government and its project partners to build this project, which will provide 77 gigalitres of new water by:

  • rehabilitating the Wellington Dam
  • modernising the water distribution system to expand irrigated agriculture and move to higher valued crops

The Australian Government provided $27.7 million through the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program in 2017–18. Forty-nine projects from all states and territories will benefit from the funding, with 40 per cent of successful projects located in regional areas. These projects are being co-funded by partners including local governments, industry, research organisations and the private sector. This significant investment equates to almost $36 million. Collaboration between local governments, industry, research organisations, tech start-ups and manufacturers in cities and towns across Australia supports the growth of emerging industries and helps build smart city capability at the local level.

During the year the department assessed approximately 170 applications for funding under the program. The process ensured that successful applicants were suitable and able to deliver innovative smart city projects that improve the livability, productivity and sustainability of cities and towns across Australia, and deliver economic, social and environmental benefits.

The 2017–18 result met the target.

Case study

How the department's administration of government grant funding impacts on and improves the disposable household income for low and middle incomes outside capital cities

In 2015 SFM Environmental Solutions Pty Ltd received a $5 million grant under the Tasmanian Jobs and Growth Package (TJGP) for the Hydrowood Project. This included purchasing, manufacturing and modifying equipment to enable timber to be harvested underwater from Hydro Tasmania dam impoundments across the state. This project provided jobs and a new market opportunity for the local economy, and the company now supplies timber to the Oakdale Industries Retooling and Equipment Upgrade—another project funded under TJGP.

TJGP provided $4 million to Oak Tasmania. The project was completed in February this year enabling the organisation to increase production and output, improve its training environment, and support people with disability to transition to work.

In the last decade, ageing equipment and antiquated processes resulting from a lack of space and plant limitations had impacted Oakdale's ability to operate sustainably. This project expanded the Oakdale site to create a safe and modern workplace for employees, complete with workshop space and new equipment, a training room and office amenities.

What's next?

The new facility and equipment allowed Oakdale to develop new value-added, niche timber products that meet evolving market demands (including Hydrowood). Most importantly it is creating new employment, training and development opportunities through the construction of a dedicated training centre. The project has helped retain vital jobs for Tasmanians with disability and will create an additional nine jobs over two years through improved productivity and market responsiveness.

Oak Tasmania

Case study

Supporting vital regional infrastructure and community projects that have major social benefits

The Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) supports infrastructure and community investment projects in regional and remote Australia. Under Round 1 of the initiative, 257 projects totalling $226.4 million of Australian Government funding were supported. These projects are expected to create 4,000 jobs, and will allow regional and remote communities to partner with governments and other stakeholders to take full advantage of a range of economic and regional development opportunities.

Accommodation for flight crew and a multi‑purpose surfing centre are just two of the projects under the program.

Construction of a base to accommodate LifeFlight Australia crew and their new helicopter fleet is underway in Toowoomba. This project will increase on-site maintenance capacity and improve training facilities. It will also provide greater service capacity to meet projected population growth in Toowoomba and surrounding regions over the coming decade. Importantly a new, better-equipped fleet helicopter—capable of travelling greater distances at lower cost—will give people in the region's rural and remote communities access to high quality clinical care that currently is not readily available. The $4.3 million project created 350 jobs during construction and is expected to be completed in December 2018.

The expansion of a surfing centre in Casuarina, Northern NSW is creating jobs, driving economic growth and building regional communities. The project will deliver a three level, multi-purpose, high performance training facility within easy access to the Coolangatta airport that will:

  • increase business activity
  • encourage surf-related tourism
  • provide a one-stop-shop training facility with access to local playing fields and a nearby swimming pool
  • deliver a new gym and skate ramp

The facility will appeal to a broad spectrum of the community from keen local surfers to school and business groups, as well as other sports such as skating and snow-boarding. The project will benefit the community by:

  • expanding Surfing Australia's community based programs, doubling the current participation rates and providing connections and social inclusion for at-risk youth each year through local organisations
  • lifting community pride and making the region a more attractive place to live through the presence of a high-profile Olympic sporting body. The region's local surfing heritage and deeply rooted surf culture will also be recognised with a Surfing Hall of Fame located within the facility

What's next?

The project is due to finish by July 2018. It created 147 jobs during construction and is expected to create 132 ongoing jobs.

Providing good governance in the territories

Delivering services, legislative frameworks and infrastructure

Environment and risks

The department undertakes a wide variety of work across Australia's territories. This includes providing essential infrastructure and services to residents of Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and the Jervis Bay Territory (JBT). We administer the Ashmore and Cartier Islands and the Coral Sea Islands territories, and manage national interests in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Northern Territory (NT). The department also ensures appropriate and effective legislation is in place to allow the sound operation of the territories. The diversity of the territories we work with brings a range of relevant environmental factors and risks to consider, and requires consultation with key stakeholders including communities, state and local governments and service providers.

In 2017–18 our contribution to this purpose was through one budget program, Services to Territories (Program 4.1). Program activities are outlined in Part 4 of this report.

Christmas Island red crab

Performance results

Table 5.6 Results against performance measures
Measure
under development 34. Communities in the external territories and Jervis Bay Territory have comparable services and essential infrastructure to similar communities
Target Service delivery arrangements and contracts deliver comparable services and essential infrastructure to similar communities
2016–17 result State level services were delivered in accordance with arrangements and contracts in the territories of Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Jervis Bay. Essential infrastructure continued to support delivery of services

In 2016–17 we were only 12 months into the Norfolk Island reform program, a significant and complex task. The department worked closely with the NSW Government, the Norfolk Island Regional Council and the Norfolk Island Health and Residential Aged Care Service on service delivery arrangements for state-level services, including health, residential aged care, education and child wellbeing
2017–18 result In 2017–18 state level services were delivered in accordance with service delivery arrangements and contracts in the territories of Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Jervis Bay. Essential infrastructure continued to support service delivery

The department worked closely with the ACT Government and the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community Council to review service delivery arrangements and improve service delivery in the Jervis Bay Territory

The department also progressed financial and governance reform for Norfolk Island. This was achieved through community partnerships and by increasing the range and quality of federal and state services to a level consistent with similar sized communities in Australia. This included seeking additional funding of $38.7 million over four years from 2018–19 to provide a range of services and critical infrastructure. The additional funding will improve the state-level and local government services delivered on Norfolk Island, and enable critical maintenance of Commonwealth assets and the Kingston and Arthurs Vale Historic Area
met 35. Legal and governance frameworks in the external territories and Jervis Bay Territory are appropriate for the protection and wellbeing of the communities
Target Legal and governance frameworks comparable to similar communities
2016–17 result State level laws were applied and updated in the territories of Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and the Jervis Bay Territory to reflect arrangements in other comparable communities

In 2016–17 we were only 12 months into the Norfolk Island reform program, and this is a significant and complex task. In May 2017 a framework to guide the Australian Government's consultation on legislative changes was approved. Amendments to some existing Norfolk Island laws have been undertaken and the application of state-level laws, as Commonwealth law, has commenced
2017–18 result In 2017–18 state level laws were applied and updated in the Territories of Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and the Jervis Bay Territory to reflect arrangements in other comparable communities

Further legislation reforms were progressed using an agreed legislation consultation framework. Legislation was finalised to amend and improve a number of continuing Norfolk Island laws and NSW applied laws focusing on criminal justice reform

The department also reviewed the Jervis Bay Territory Rural Fire Ordinance which, among other things, will consider consistency with legislation protecting neighbouring communities

Analysis

The department plays an important role in administering Norfolk Island, Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the Ashmore and Cartier Islands, the Coral Sea Islands and the Jervis Bay Territory. To provide good governance and ensure comparable rights and protections to citizens of the external territories and Jervis Bay Territory, the department maintains appropriate legal frameworks, including preparing ordinances and determinations as required.

The department supported ongoing service delivery by maintaining essential infrastructure in external territories and the Jervis Bay Territory. For example in 2017–18 the government funded priority stormwater works and purchased a crawler crane for the Christmas Island port. Money was also provided to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the Cascade Pier on Norfolk Island, and capital works at the school and health facility.

In 2017–18 state and territory-level laws were applied that reflected comparable legislative standards and management arrangements to those in Australia. Ordinances were made to improve the clarity and consistency of the legal frameworks of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, including on emergency management and industrial relations laws. In the Jervis Bay Territory, the Rural Fires Ordinance was reviewed to ensure currency and consistency with the legislation on which it was based. On Norfolk Island, ordinances were made implementing improvements to the criminal justice system, child welfare, education and local government.

Further contributing to good governance, state-level services in Norfolk Island were delivered under arrangements with providers including the Norfolk Island Regional Council, the NSW Government and private sector and non-government providers. Services in the Indian Ocean Territories were delivered in accordance with 45 service delivery arrangements with Western Australia Government agencies. Services were also delivered directly by our local administration staff through contractual arrangements with private sector entities, local governments and other organisations. In the Jervis Bay Territory, a number of providers such as the ACT Government, NSW Government and Shoalhaven City Council delivered essential services.

Case study

Improving infrastructure on Norfolk Island

The extension and refurbishment of Cascade Pier on Norfolk Island highlights the Australian Government's role in delivering infrastructure projects in Australia's external territories. Norfolk Island is located in the South Pacific Ocean and has a population of around 1,800. Tourism is a key contributor to its economy. In 2015 the Australian Government agreed to support more cruise ship visits to Norfolk Island by refurbishing and extending the existing Cascade Pier.

The previous pier hadn't been upgraded since the early 20th century and was in danger of collapse. Advisian Pty Ltd was engaged to stabilise the existing pier and extend it by a further 24 metres. This has increased the operating berth, and wave deflectors allow the pier to operate in greater weather ranges. Tidal stairs have also been built to safely disembark cruise ship passengers.

In March 2016 Waterway Constructions was engaged by the department to build the pier. These works were successfully completed in April 2018 at a total cost of $16.9 million.

What's next?

The next stage of this project is to build and deliver transfer vessels to carry cruise ship passengers from ship to shore. The department has contracted Birdon Pty Ltd in Port Macquarie to construct three passenger transfer vessels at a cost of almost $4 million, to be delivered in May 2019. These 12 metre vessels will transfer 90 passengers at a time from cruise ships to the two landing places on Norfolk Island—Cascade Pier and Kingston Pier. The vessels will reduce the risks operators currently face when disembarking their passengers using life boats.

Key project numbers
MaterialsLabor
Concrete 5,000 tonnes Labour-hours 90,000 hours
Stainless steel reinforcement 200 tonnes Local labour component 60 %
Black mesh reinforcement 8 tonnes Local suppliers / subcontracting entities 24 #
Post-tensioned  down-force 3,000 tonnes Project duration 107 weeks
Rock fill 1,500 tonnes Time on site 92 weeks
Grout 400,000 Litres
In the I-units alone: 40,000 pieces of reinforcement
In the I-units alone: 100,000 lengths of tie wire
Time on site 92 weeks

Completed Cascade Pier. Photo courtesy Advisian April 2018

New passenger vessels under construction. Photo courtesy Birdon Pty Ltd June 2018

1 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2017, Australian Demographic Statistics, ABS cat. no. 3101.0, Canberra, and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2017, Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2016–17, ABS cat. no. 3218.0, Canberra

2 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2017, Australian Demographic Statistics, ABS cat. no. 3101.0, Canberra and Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2017, Regional Population Growth, Australia, 2016–17, ABS cat. no. 3218.0, Canberra

3 Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), 2017, Yearbook 2017: Australian Infrastructure Statistics, Statistical Report, BITRE, Canberra ACT

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Last Updated: 12 November, 2018