Apr 30, 2010

Joint Communique – Australian Transport Council

Joint Communique – Australian Transport Council


The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

Friday, 30 April 2010


Transport Ministers from the Commonwealth, States and Territories, together with the New Zealand Minister for Transport and the President of the Australian Local Government Association, met in Perth today as the Australian Transport Council (ATC) to further consider a range of national transport regulatory reforms and initiatives.


Australia has a strong road safety record. Despite a substantial growth in population and vehicle usage over the last four decades, the national road fatality rate has fallen from 3,798 deaths in 1970 to 1,507 in 2009. This record has been achieved through a combination of tougher laws, improved vehicle technology, road design and improved driver education. Nevertheless, road crashes exact a heavy toll on the community in terms of lives lost, serious injuries and suffering of families, friends and the community, so we must continually strive to improve road safety outcomes.

The current ten year National Road Safety Strategy is coming to an end. ATC Ministers considered approaches that have worked in individual states and territories and longer-term strategic directions for the next National Road Safety Strategy to cover 2011 to 2020, including some of the more challenging options for action to address the major crash types and problem areas such as speeding and measures to assist younger drivers.

The need for activity in these areas was reinforced to Ministers by a representative of the National Road Safety Council who attended the Ministers’ discussions for this item. ATC Ministers recognised the significant contribution the National Road Safety Council is making in developing a new strategy and engaging with the community on this important issue.

Ministers agreed the new National Road Safety Strategy must contribute to the progressive elimination of serious road trauma. It should set an ambitious long term vision for road safety improvements with national targets for reductions in serious injuries and fatalities.

Recognising the role of police forces in enforcement, ATC Ministers agreed to seek the active engagement of police Ministers and Commissioners in the development of the strategy.

Ministers have directed officials to develop the draft strategy over the coming months, elaborating on measures and including the best possible evidence of why they work. Ministers have indicated clearly their expectation that stakeholder and community consultation will be a strong part of the development and that the National Road Safety Council will support efforts in this area.

Ministers will consider the full draft strategy when they meet in the second half of the year.


Ministers welcomed the road transport industry’s acceptance that heavy vehicles should pay their fair share of road maintenance and infrastructure costs incurred by governments for the wear they cause on the nation’s roads.

From 2010, ATC has approved a technical modification to the heavy vehicle charges annual adjustment formula applied to registration charges and the road user charge to ensure that it avoids over or under-recovery of road costs due to changes in road use (including fleet mix). This will result in the 2010 adjustment being 4.2% from 1 July 2010, or as soon as possible thereafter depending on the regulatory timetables in the separate jurisdictions. The National Transport Commission will provide the result of future annual adjustment calculations to ATC members no later than 31 January each year.


ATC received progress reports about the major projects it has responsibility for under the reform agenda of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). The aim is to have new national transport regulators up and running by 2013.

ATC agreed to advise COAG that a satisfactory way forward has been reached on key issues associated with the development of a National Partnership Agreement in relation to the single national system of maritime safety regulation and COAG will be asked to approve that Agreement.

The National Transport Commission has begun drafting national law for heavy vehicles and rail safety and the National Partnership Agreement for heavy vehicles is developing well for ATC’s, and then COAG’s consideration, by the end of this year.

ATC Ministers reconfirmed COAG’s position that the improvement of safety is a central point to these reforms and reconfirmed that current rail safety standards will be maintained through the establishment of the National Rail Safety Regulator.

Furthermore, the annual work program, reporting and consultation for the National Rail Safety Regulator will ensure that each jurisdiction’s rail safety issues are addressed.

Ministers welcomed the confirmation of plans to ensure that further development of all these reforms will include continuing stakeholder engagement, such as the creation of an Industry Advisory Group to the COAG Road Reform Plan’s Project Board and the Rail Safety Reform Project Office’s establishment of a reference group.

These are critical reforms for Australia that will drive future prosperity through their contribution to how we meet our infrastructure challenges in coming years.


ATC endorsed new National Guidelines for Integrated Passenger Transport and Land Use Planning for reference to Local Government and Planning Ministers Council for counter endorsement. These Guidelines will support the essential contribution of Transport Ministers to the development of capital city strategic plans by 2012.



ATC endorsed the National Minimum English Standard to be implemented using the International Second Language Proficiency Ratings standard or equivalent methodology as part of all metropolitan taxi driver licensing assessments from 1 July 2010.


ATC also endorsed Implementation Plans for projects it has carriage of under the National Strategy on Energy Efficiency agreed by COAG.

These plans include:

  • Development of a Regulatory Impact Statement for light vehicle CO2 standards;
  • Development of online resources to help improve vehicle fuel efficiency;
  • Introduction of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions data in vehicle advertisements;
  • Introduction of a voluntary program to improve the energy efficiency of light and heavy vehicle fleets; and
  • Development of a national eco-driving program.


ATC endorsed a standard for buoyancy and stability after flooding which incorporates a performance-based framework that considers the hazards of swamping, local flooding, grounding and collision. The standard specifies higher standards for high flooding risk vessels that carry large numbers of passengers. These higher standards align with changes made to relevant international standards for passenger vessels.

The ATC meeting was attended by:

 The Hon Anthony Albanese MP Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government (Commonwealth)  
 The Hon David Campbell MP  Minister for Transport and Roads (New South Wales)
 The Hon Tim Pallas MP  Minister for Roads and Ports (Victoria)
 The Hon Martin Pakula MLC

Minister for Public Transport (Victoria)

 The Hon Rachael Nolan MP

Minister for Transport (Queensland)

 The Hon Craig Wallace MP  Minister for Main Roads (Queensland)
 The Hon Simon O’Brien MLC  Minister for Transport (Western Australia)
 The Hon Rob Johnson MLA  Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Road Safety (Western Australia)
 The Hon Patrick Conlon MHA  Minister for Transport (South Australia)
 The Hon Jack Snelling MP  Minister for Road Safety (South Australia)
 The Hon Lara Giddings MP  Minister for Infrastructure (Tasmania)
 The Hon Gerald McCarthy MLA  Minister for Transport (Northern Territory)
 The Hon Steven Joyce MP  Minister for Transport (New Zealand)
 Cr Geoff Lake

President (Australian Local Government Association)