Jan 21, 2014

Labor reforms keep Australia moving

One year after Australia’s new transport regulators opened for business, Labor’s historic reforms are helping to increasing productivity and efficiency and reducing paperwork and compliance costs, while keeping workers safe on the job.

The changes are expected to boost national income by $30 billion over the next two decades including $12.4 billion in productivity gains in the heavy vehicle transport industry, which moves over 70% of Australian domestic freight.

The reforms, delivered by Labor in government after five years of intense negotiations with states and territories, replaced separate 23 state and territory regulators with just three national agencies.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is Brisbane based and next month will introduce a single national heavy vehicle rule book replacing multiple sets of regulations on road access, vehicle configuration, and fatigue management.

The Adelaide-based National Rail Safety Regulator has introduced a single annual accreditation fees for operators, a national safety compliance system and a new rail communication and a new signalling system replacing 22 previous systems.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority continues to be headquartered in Canberra, with seafarers no longer burdened by seven different marine regulatory systems, replaced by a single set of rules for all domestic commercial vessels.

It is also more than six months since the Navigation Act 2012 commenced, replacing the century old Navigation Act 1912 with a modern maritime safety regime. Almost all of Australia’s exports are shipped, making a safe, efficient system vital.

It took a Labor Government and a great deal of hard work to deliver these reforms.  Lasting, effective reform requires vision, collaboration and the ability to unite a broad range of stakeholders under a common vision.

In contrast, Tony Abbott’s continued attack on good reforms, starting with his so-called ‘review’ into the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, simply to pursue his ideological agenda will damage our competitiveness and fairness as a nation.