Nov 9, 2012

Communique – Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure

The 3rd meeting of the Standing Council on Transport and Infrastructure (the Standing Council) was held in Western Australia today to consider a wide range of major transport initiatives and reforms. The Standing Council includes Transport, Infrastructure and Planning Ministers from the Commonwealth, States and Territories, New Zealand and the Australian Local Government Association.

HEAVY VEHICLE CHARGING AND INVESTMENT REFORM

The Standing Council endorsed a suite of heavy vehicle charging, funding and governance reform options that will go forward for further development and consultation as part of a Regulation Impact Statement for COAG consideration in late 2013.  The Standing Council noted that, while the Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment (HVCI) reform presents particular challenges, it represents a major microeconomic reform opportunity which can deliver substantial real benefits to industry and the national economy.

To ensure full industry engagement with the HVCI process, the Standing Council agreed that a representative nominated by industry would be added to the Board that is guiding the development of the reforms.

HEAVY VEHICLE CHARGING REVIEW AND DETERMINATION

The Standing Council confirmed support for a two stage heavy vehicle charges review and determination process.  The first stage will focus on the development of policy options for consideration by the Standing Council at its first meeting in 2013.  The second stage will build on the outcomes of the first and present specific advice to the Standing Council on new heavy vehicle charges that would be implemented from 1 July 2014.  Industry and stakeholder consultation will form a key element of both stages of the determination process.

NATIONAL ROAD SAFETY

The Standing Council noted the latest progress report on the National Road Safety Strategy, showing that considerable activity is underway across all areas of the strategy. The report also revealed that road crash deaths in 2011 had reduced by 10 per cent relative to the strategy baseline period (2008–2010), with similar reductions for most of the strategy’s key performance indicators.

The Standing Council acknowledged the role of the National Road Safety Council in helping to drive road safety improvement and thanked Council members for their efforts over the last three years.

The Standing Council emphasised the importance of continuing engagement with road safety stakeholders and agreed to convene a National Road Safety Forum on an annual basis, building on the successful forum held in Canberra earlier this year.  The Council welcomed Tasmania’s offer to host the 2013 forum, with a focus on vulnerable sectors of the community (particularly pedestrians and children).

NATIONAL LAND FREIGHT STRATEGY

The Standing Council agreed to the vision, objectives and principles to underpin further development of the National Land Freight Strategy.  Transport and Infrastructure Senior Officials have now been tasked with finalising the Strategy and with be preparing a draft work plan to implement the Strategy.  The work plan will be developed in close consultation with Infrastructure Australia, the National Transport Commission, industry and local government and will be considered by the Standing Council at its first meeting in 2013.

NATIONAL TRANSPORT REGULATION REFORMS

The Standing Council took a number of further decisions in preparation for the commencement of the historic reform process that will see the establishment of national heavy vehicle, rail safety and maritime safety regulators next year.

The Standing Council agreed that the National Marine Safety regulatory arrangements will commence in March 2013.  The Standing Council also unanimously agreed to the making of Regulations to support the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act.

The Standing Council congratulated New South Wales and Tasmania on the passage of legislation and the Northern Territory on the introduction of the legislation to apply the Rail Safety National Law, following its passage by South Australia in May 2012.  The Standing Council also agreed that the National Rail Safety Regulator would commence operations on  20 January 2013 and unanimously approved the National Rail Safety Regulations that underpin the National Law.

The Standing Council further agreed to appoint Peter Batchelor and Catherine Scott as the non-executive members of the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator.  They will work with Mr Rob Andrews, who was appointed as the National Regulator in June 2012, to provide the leadership and governance of this new organisation.

The Standing Council noted progress on the implementation of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and industry groups’ general support for the Heavy Vehicle National Law Amendment Bill 2012, which will be introduced into the Queensland Parliament shortly.  The Standing Council agreed that the National Regulator would commence a limited range of operations (not subject to legislation) from 21 January 2013, including the management of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme and the Performance Based Standards Scheme for higher productivity heavy vehicles.  The Standing Council also agreed a forward work program for considering further reform to the Heavy Vehicle National Law, to be undertaken by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and the National Transport Commission over the next few years.

INFRASTRUCTURE FINANCE WORKING GROUP

The Standing Council noted the Infrastructure Finance Working Group Report entitled Infrastructure Finance and Funding Reform.

ACCESSIBLE TRANSPORT AND INFRASTRUCTURE DISABILITY CHAMPION

In response to a request from the Chair of the Standing Council on Community, Housing and Disability Services, the Standing Council accepted the nomination of the Hon Terry Mulder  MP (Minister for Public Transport, Victoria) to act as a Disability Champion Minister for accessible transport and infrastructure.  Champion Ministers will play a role in the implementation of the National Disability Strategy 2010–2020, and champion disability issues in the transport and infrastructure portfolio.

CITIES WORK PLAN

The Standing Council endorsed a Work Plan to progress COAG’s commitment to the agreed objective “to ensure Australian cities are globally competitive, productive, sustainable, liveable, socially inclusive and well placed to meet future challenges and growth”.  The Work Plan includes improving national information on cities and sharing best practice in strategic planning systems, engaging the private sector to create better public spaces and considering the effectiveness of coordination and communication arrangements associated with non-aviation development on airport land.

NATIONAL CYCLING STRATEGY

The Standing Council noted the National Cycling Strategy Implementation Report 2011.  In 2011 the Australian Bicycle Council developed a survey to provide reliable data on cycling participation.  The survey found that 4 million Australians ride in a typical week, the challenge is to increase this to 8 million by 2016.  In this first year of the Strategy, Australian states and territories invested $89 million in cycling related infrastructure, education and promotion.

 

PARTICIPATING MEMBERS

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP Minister for Infrastructure and Transport (Commonwealth)
The Hon Duncan Gay MLC Minister for Roads and Ports (NSW)
The Hon Terry Mulder MP Minister for Roads, Minister for Public Transport (VIC)
The Hon Scott Emerson MP Minister for Transport and Main Roads (QLD)
The Hon Troy Buswell MLA Minister for Transport (WA)
The Hon John Day MLA Minister for Planning (WA)
The Hon Patrick Conlon MHA Minister for Transport, Minister for Infrastructure (SA)
The Hon David O’Byrne MP Minister for Infrastructure (TAS)
The Hon Adam Giles MLA Minister for Transport (NT)
Mayor Felicity-Ann Lewis President (Australian Local Government Association) representing Councillor Paul Bell