Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
Section 1: Agency overview and resources
The Department supports the Australian Government to respond to emerging and critical issues affecting the nation, including: growing demand for infrastructure and transport; improving the social and economic outcomes for Australia's regions; dealing with the opportunities and challenges presented by projected population and demographic changes; and increasing Australia's economic prosperity.
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, ‘Outcomes and Planned Performance’.
From 1 July, the Department will consist of eight divisions that in aggregate deliver these programmes, including a Corporate Services division. Employees are made available by the Department to assist the Infrastructure Coordinator who supports Infrastructure Australia1 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 Deputy Prime Minister and Assistant 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) Transport and Infrastructure Council.
The Department is at the forefront of the Australian Government's efforts to secure Australia's economic future and improve living standards, particularly through infrastructure planning and strategic investment in transport infrastructure, transport system reform, regulation of safety and security and strategic development of policies and programmes. The Department also assists regions and local communities to strengthen and diversify their economic base and provides non-self-governing territories with community services and capital investment.
A high priority for the Department in 2014-15 is progressing the Australian Government's commitment to reduce the cost of the regulatory burden on industry, community groups, and individuals. The Department's regulatory savings will make a significant contribution to the achievement of the Australian Government's commitment to reduce regulatory burden by a net $1 billion a year. The portfolio's efforts to reduce red tape to ensure that the Australian Government is not imposing unnecessary restrictions on business and the community will be balanced by the need to maintain the safety and security of our transport systems.
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 Infrastructure Investment Programme and supporting future infrastructure investment decisions 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 from September 2013 provide the opportunity to integrate regional economic development with Australian Government infrastructure investment programmes. This focus will assist in delivering economic and social outcomes for regions across Australia. The Department's 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 2014-15 include:
- providing advice to the Australian Government on projects for the next phase of the Infrastructure Investment Programme including continuing work on infrastructure financing, assessment and procurement processes, integrated transport planning and micro-economic reforms;
- implementing the reforms to Infrastructure Australia to strengthen its role as an independent advisor on infrastructure priorities and increase the transparency of project selection and assessment;
- implementing the Australian Government's response to the Productivity Commission inquiry report on public infrastructure;
- coordination of Australian Government assistance to the Government of Malaysia in its investigation into Malaysian Airlines flight MH370;
- implementing the outcomes of the Review of Coastal Shipping;
- finalising a review of the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989;
- 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 the development and implementation of heavy vehicle charging and investment reforms;
- implementing the Australian Government's response to the Productivity Commission inquiry report on Tasmanian shipping and freight;
- finalising the second five year review of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 and implementing the Australian Government's response;
- implementing the Australian Government's aviation policy, including initiatives set out in the Coalition's Policy for Aviation (August 2013);
- implementing the Australian Government's decision of 15 April 2014 that the location for western Sydney's new airport will be the Commonwealth-owned site at Badgerys Creek;
- ensuring Australian aviation is supported by a modern and competitive regulatory framework across the regional, domestic and international markets;
- implementing the Australian Government's response to the recommendations of the Aviation Safety Regulation Review;
- continuing to work with states and territories to implement national road safety initiatives, including completion of the scheduled 2014 review of the National Road Safety 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;
- working with Australian Rail Track Corporation to deliver the Australian Government's commitments on Inland Rail;
- ensuring Australia is best placed to meet new and emerging threats in transport security through delivery of security measures commensurate with the risks;
- 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 and northern Australia;
- contributing to and supporting the White Paper on Developing Northern Australia taskforce;
- managing regional and local government grant programmes to fund capital works projects to improve socio-economic circumstances through locally identified priorities;
- administering the Local Government Financial Assistance Grants Programme;
- progressing reforms towards long term financial sustainability and improved governance on Norfolk Island;
- supporting the Inspectorate to complete its review of reconstruction activities in Queensland flood affected areas during 2011–13;
- maintaining and upgrading essential infrastructure in the Indian Ocean Territories;
- providing efficient and effective state and local government equivalent services to the non-self-governing territories of Jervis Bay Territory and the Indian Ocean Territories (Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands); and
- ensuring a balance is maintained between project acceleration and quality delivery.
The Department is focused on delivering against outcomes in these areas, meeting the Australian Government's expectations and on building capability within the Department. The Department seeks to do this through: having a view on the right outcome; driving policy reform; leading programme and project delivery; effective regulation; leading investment strategy; and fostering a high performing workforce.
Table 1.1 shows the total resources from all sources. The table summarises how resources will be applied by outcome and by administered and departmental classification.
Budget measures in Part 1 relating to the Department are detailed in Budget Paper No. 2 and are summarised below.
- The Infrastructure Australia Amendment Bill 2013 currently before the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia proposes to amend the Infrastructure Australia Act 2008. If the amendments to the Act take effect Infrastructure Australia's governance arrangements will change.