Global transport sector meets in Sydney
The Hon Anthony Albanese MP
The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,
Regional Development and Local Government
Leader of the House
Member for Grayndler
January 27 2009
Representatives from 17 countries and the European Union are for the first time meeting in Australia to finalise the agenda of this year’s annual gathering of the most influential political and business leaders from across the global transport industry.
Today I had the pleasure of welcoming the representatives to Sydney for a meeting of the International Transport Forum’s Task Force, in preparation for the annual International Transport Forum to be held in the German city of Leipzig.
Last year’s three day Forum was attended by more than 800 government officials, businesspeople, academics and community leaders from 54 countries.
Scheduled for May, the next Forum will take place against the backdrop of a global economy experiencing the most severe downturn in recent history. For the global transport industry these economic circumstances are creating unprecedented challenges.
The fortunes of transport operators are closely linked to the health of the global economy. Recession internationally means fewer goods to transport, with consumers spending less and businesses delaying their expansion plans.
The upcoming Forum will provide an opportunity for the industry to take stock and plan for the eventual economic upturn. Appropriate therefore that the theme of this year’s gathering is Transport for a Global Economy: New Challenges and Opportunities.
Delegates will discuss the implications of further liberalisation; measures to improve the reliability and efficiency of the global supply chain; removing impediments to cross border trade; ways of attracting greater private investment into transport infrastructure; and the industry’s environmental and social obligations.
For its part, the new Australian Government is already planning for the long term. We are investing record amounts in the nation’s road and rail infrastructure, while also overhauling and streamlining the way government regulates transport operators.
And as symbolised by our hosting of today’s meeting of ITF’s Task Force, Australia is also playing an active role in reforming the transport systems beyond our borders; upon which much of our continuing economic development relies, particularly given our position as a large, relatively isolated island continent.
The countries represented at today’s Task Force meeting are Australia; France; Italy; Turkey; New Zealand; Finland; the US; Germany; The Netherlands; Canada; the UK; Greece; Switzerland; the Czech Republic; Sweden; Armenia and Japan.
The ITF was established by transport ministers from 51 countries – including Australia – to offer the world’s policy makers and industry players a platform to work together on issues of global significance.