Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
Section 1: Agency overview and resources
Under the Administrative Arrangements Order of 18 September 2013, the Department of Infrastructure and Transport was renamed the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (the Department). Functions of the abolished Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport (DRALGAS) relating to regional development, local government and services to territories were transferred to the Department.
An updated Strategic Direction Statement is provided below.
In accordance with the four outcomes outlined in the Portfolio Overview, the Department is responsible for providing policy advice and targeted research, delivering administered items and regulation for the following programmes:
- infrastructure investment;
- transport security;
- surface transport;
- road safety;
- air transport;
- regional development;
- local government; and
- services to territories.
These programmes are described in detail in Section 2 of this document, ‘Revisions to Agency Outcomes and Planned Performance’.
The Department consists of six business divisions that in aggregate deliver these programmes. These business divisions are supported by the Corporate Services division. Employees are made available by the Department to assist the Infrastructure Coordinator who supports Infrastructure Australia in the performance of its functions. The Department also provides employees in support of the International Air Services Commission and the Office of the Inspector of Transport Security.
On behalf of the Minister, the Department oversees the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), Airservices Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), the National Capital Authority (NCA), and the operations of the National Transport Commission (NTC) in collaboration with the states and territories through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Council on Transport and Infrastructure.
In 2013–14 and beyond, the Department will continue to be at the forefront of the Australian Government's efforts to build a more productive Australia. The portfolio has an economic investment focus—a focus which is critical to the economic development of all regions to meet the growth and development challenges the nation faces. The AusLink Programme will continue to be a priority, and the transport agenda continues to involve significant national and international reforms.
The addition of outcomes 3 and 4 to the portfolio's responsibilities provide the opportunity to integrate regional economic development with Commonwealth infrastructure investment programmes. This focus will assist in delivering economic and social outcomes for regions across Australia. The Department's new responsibilities for promoting effective local government and for external territories administration will further contribute to a strong and liveable Australia.
In addressing the growth and development challenges that lie ahead for Australia, the Department will build on policy development and delivery capability, and further strengthen engagement and partnership with stakeholders and the users of services.
Other key priorities for 2013–14 include:
- delivering the Australian Government's AusLink Programme and supporting future infrastructure investment decisions;
- providing advice to the Australian Government on projects for the next phase of the AusLink Programme including continuing work on infrastructure financing, assessment and procurement processes, integrated transport planning and micro-economic reforms;
- implementing the national ports and land freight initiatives to harness improvements in Australia's productivity and international competitiveness;
- continuing to develop a strong maritime policy agenda;
- continuing to work with states and territories and the national regulators for maritime safety, rail safety and heavy vehicle safety to embed national transport regulation reforms;
- continuing development of the heavy vehicle charging and investment reforms for COAG consideration;
- implementing the Australian Government's aviation policy, including initiatives set out in the Coalition's Policy for Aviation (August 2013);
- providing advice to the Australian Government to settle its strategy to address aviation capacity needs in the Sydney region and work towards implementation;
- ensuring Australian aviation is supported by a modern and competitive regulatory framework across the regional, domestic and international markets;
- undertaking an external review of Australia's system of aviation safety regulation;
- providing advice to the Australian Government on what role high speed rail could play as part of long-term transport planning and implementing resulting decisions;
- continuing the State of Australian Cities reporting;
- continuing to work with states and territories to implement the national road safety initiative, and managing arrangements for the scheduled 2014 review of the strategy;
- providing advice in relation to the Australian Government's investments into rail freight through the Australian Rail Track Corporation and the Moorebank Intermodal Company Limited;
- ensuring Australia is best placed to meet new and emerging threats in transport security through delivery of enhanced security measures;
- strengthening the sustainability, capacity and diversity of regional economies to support regional Australians;
- progressing regional initiatives in key areas such as Tasmania, Murray-Darling Basin, Latrobe Valley and Northern Australia;
- managing regional and local government grants programmes to fund capital works projects to improve socio-economic circumstances through locally identified priorities;
- responding to the review of the Local Government Financial Assistance Grants Programme;
- progressing reforms towards long term financial sustainability and improved governance on Norfolk Island;
- supporting the Inspectorate and the National Disaster Recovery Taskforce in its review of reconstruction activities in Queensland flood affected areas from 2011–13;
- maintaining and upgrading essential infrastructure in the Indian Ocean Territories; and
- developing the capacity and capability of local government.
At all times the Department's work will recognise the importance of ongoing effective delivery of vital regulatory and programme functions, whilst maintaining and enhancing policy capability.
The Agency resource statement details the resourcing for the Department at Additional Estimates. Table 1.1 shows the total resources from all sources for the 2013–14 Budget year, including variations through Appropriation Bills No. 3 and No. 4, special appropriations and special accounts.
Table 1.1: Agency resource statement—Additional estimates for 2013–14 as at Additional Estimates February 2014
Table 1.2 summarises new Government measures taken since the 2013–14 Budget. The table shows expense measures, with the affected programme identified.
Table 1.3 summarises variations to appropriations since the 2013–14 Budget.
The following tables detail the additional estimates sought for the Department through Appropriation Bills No.3 and No.4.