May 11, 2010

Budget boost for historic transport reforms

Budget boost for historic transport reforms

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

May 11 2010

The Rudd Government will provide an additional $8.3 million to progress sweeping reforms to the way governments regulate our $49 billion transport sector.

From 2013, maritime safety, rail safety and heavy vehicles will for the first time be regulated nationally.

This is a historic reform that will improve safety, simplify the compliance task for transport operators and boost national income by up to $2.4 billion a year.

These important reforms to the transport sector are part of the Rudd Government’s plan to strengthen our economy and secure our future.

The new funding will be used to:

  • Establish a national heavy vehicle regulator based in Brisbane with offices around the country and responsibility for registration and aligning the regulations applying to trucks and buses over 4.5 tonnes.
  • Establish the national rail safety regulator in Adelaide, with offices around the country providing day-to-day oversight of the country’s urban passenger rail networks and interstate freight operations. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) will become the national investigator of rail accidents.
  • Provide the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) – based in Canberra – with the extra resources it needs to regulate all commercial vessels, not just those involved in interstate and international trade.

Not only are we making an unprecedented investment in the infrastructure used by transport operators, we are also working to replace more than century old, differing state based regulations with one set of modern nation-wide rules.

This measure supports the implementation of one of the priorities under the Council of Australian Government’s National Partnership Agreement to Deliver a Seamless National Economy.

For example, even after two decades of incremental progress truck drivers still face small but important differences between the existing state-based regimes, particularly around enforcement standards, driving hours and mass limits.

The new national regulator will end these costly, frustrating and confusing variations once and for all.

The funding in the Budget implements the reforms developed in cooperation with state and territory governments and formally approved by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) last December.