Delivering progressive infrastructure solutions
NATIONAL URBAN POLICY
Last year, I released our national urban policy – Our Cities, Our Future to drive better infrastructure planning.
As part of this reform process and in partnership with the COAG Reform Council, all states and territories have agreed to have in place strategic planning systems for their capital cities.
These planning systems must meet nine criteria, agreed to by COAG – all designed to ensure that effective, coordinated long-term planning is embedded right throughout the government process.
- Cities must show how they are providing for nationally-significant economic infrastructure such as for transport corridors, airports and ports, intermodal connections, communications and utilities.
- They must show how they are providing for evidence-based land release and an appropriate balance of infill and greenfield development.
- And they must address big policy issues such as how they are planning for population growth and demographic change, climate change mitigation, housing affordability and how to better connect people to jobs.
Future Commonwealth infrastructure funding will be tied to these plans and to the principles laid out in the National Urban Policy.
The Government has doubled federal spending on roads and raised spending on rail a remarkable tenfold.
We recognise that rapid population growth requires mass transport solutions.
Rail is especially effective in moving large numbers of people quickly and reliably.
We have committed $7.3 billion in major urban rail projects in every mainland state capital.
Since 2007, we have committed more to urban public transport than all other Federal Governments – collectively – since Federation.
HIGH SPEED RAIL
In 2010, I announced that the Government would put high speed rail back on the national agenda.
The Phase One report identifies the short-listed corridors for high speed rail between Brisbane and Melbourne.
These corridors minimise travel times, provide a raft of regional development opportunities, and serve major tourism destinations, such as the Gold Coast.
The second, more detailed report due towards the middle of this year will develop detailed capital and operating cost estimates, revenue forecasts and potential financing and staging models.
As with all big nation building projects, the capital cost upfront is large — depending on the eventual route it is estimated to be between $61 billion and $108 billion in today’s dollars.
In addition to our record infrastructure investment, we have also been working to remove the regulatory burden on the transport industry.
We have agreed through COAG to abandon from January 2013 the multitude of conflicting and costly State-based transport laws in favour of a single national regulator.
This will bring considerable savings to the tourism sector, in particular pleasure craft and coaches.
PROTECTING THE BARRIER REEF
New laws were introduced in September last year to increase the penalties for oil spills in the Great Barrier Reef to $11 million dollars.
The new laws follow a review of Australia’s maritime offences following the 2010 grounding of the Shen Neng in the Great Barrier Reef.
The changes will increase the penalties for the discharge of oil or oil residues by ships in Australian waters from $1 million to $11 million.
The Gillard Labor Government is committed to protecting the Barrier Reef and improving safe navigation through the marine park.
In July last year, the Government extended the coverage of the Reef Vessel Traffic Service – which shows the best times and safest speeds for vessels to move through the area – to the southern boundary of the Reef.
REDUCING CAR EMISSIONS
The Government has released a discussion paper outlining the issues involved in the setting of mandatory standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from passenger vehicles from 2015.
Cars and other light vehicles contribute around 55 million tonnes of carbon emissions to our atmosphere each year, so the light vehicle sector is an important area for action if we are to achieve our national five per cent target for carbon reduction by 2025.
Mandatory vehicle emissions standards are internationally recognised as one of the most cost effective ways for industry and consumers to reduce transport emissions.
The Government is committed to working closely with industry to develop standards that will contribute to the important task of cutting CO2 emissions and creating a greener future for Australians.
In 2009, Australia became one of the first countries in the world to give a factory built, all electric vehicle approval to drive on city streets.