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Public forum outcomes: detailed version

This includes detailed outcomes from the National Remote and Regional Transport Infrastructure and Services Forum in Alice Springs on 22 May 2014.

Summary of forum outcomes

Transport and Infrastructure Council

Extract from the Communique of the first Transport and Council Meeting held on 23 May 2014 in Alice Springs:

  • the Council recognises the enormous and ongoing economic contribution made by remote and regional Australia for the benefit of all Australians
  • the Council congratulated the Northern Territory and remote jurisdictions for the highly successful Remote and Regional Transport Infrastructure and Services Forum held on 22 May 2014, with over 120 industry and government participants
  • the Council has agreed that the Northern Territory Government will lead the development of a Remote and Regional Transport Strategy that takes full account of the key issues and possible solutions identified to resolve the significant transport challenges faced in remote and regional Australia
  • the Council also recognises that the significant and distinctive challenges in remote and regional Australia require flexible application of national approaches

Summary of working group outcomes

Two working group sessions were a major component of the Forum. Groups identified and ranked issues and potential solutions for Infrastructure, Services and Regulation. The key identified issues and highest ranked potential solutions are listed below:

1. Remote and regional transport infrastructure

1.1 Infrastructure funding – proposed solutions raised by forum participants

  • Hypothecate percentage of royalties from mining industry to develop remote and regional infrastructure
  • Build social and equity issues into cost benefit analysis guidelines
  • Undertake taxation reforms and provide taxation incentives
  • Use planning provisions to require private sector development to contribute to infrastructure development
  • Provide different funding models for metropolitan and regional areas
  • De-politicise funding - separate infrastructure construction timetables from the budget cycle

1.2 Infrastructure prioritisation – proposed solutions raised by forum participants

  • Develop asset registers and audits
  • Develop infrastructure development strategies to underpin future investment programs
  • Consider infrastructure requirements when assessing development approvals
  • Bring all parties together
  • Develop a national rural and remote strategic arterial road network plan
  • Develop a user pays model for major users of assets, e.g. Mines.

1.3 Infrastructure maintenance – proposed solutions raised by forum participants

  • Improve cost benefit and estimated cost analysis when planning maintenance
  • Ensure government procurement processes have specific targets, for example jobs, and up-skilling
  • Construct roads to single seal and improve the quality of build

1.4 Land tenure and Aboriginal Land Rights – proposed solutions raised by forum participants

  • Consider amendments to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act Use major project status.

1.5 Integrated transport networks – proposed solutions raised by forum participants

  • Define function first, get agreement to standards, determine the best option to respond, then allocate funding (how package put together)
  • Create transport hubs
  • Explore integration – outfields and ports
  • Prepare risk overviews and summaries.

1.6 Telecommunications – proposed solution raised by forum participants

  • Ensure strategic placement of infrastructure along major transport routes.

1.7 Cross borders – proposed solution raised by forum participants

  • Develop national economic zones (Remote Australia).

2. Remote and regional transport services

2.1 Remote aerodromes – proposed solutions raised by forum participants

  • Resolve ownership issues
  • Centralise remote aerodrome administration and management
  • Standardise fees and services.

2.2 Service costs – proposed solutions raised by forum participants

  • Provide weighted government subsidies for remote areas
  • Fix infrastructure to improve access and reduce the cost of service delivery
  • Allow higher productivity combinations of heavy vehicles to reduce costs of transport in remote areas.

2.3 Funding arrangements – proposed solutions raised by forum participants

  • Undertake stock take and gap analysis to target resources
  • Aggregate funding sources
  • Develop community transport models
  • Develop remote business models
  • Use levies, royalty contributions and cross subsidisation to fund services.

2.4 Hub and spoke model – proposed solutions raised by forum participants

  • Use a centralised agency (as owned by Councils in Tasmania for water and sewerage)
  • Take a holistic view of transport networks
  • Develop intermodal hubs
  • Allocate funding based on service need rather than transport mode.

2.5 Local employment and sustainability – proposed solutions raised by forum participants

  • Source and skill locals and provide a motivation to participate in remote communities
  • Undertake training and skill building
  • Develop remote and regional business models
  • Brokerage services.

2.6 Recognise social Values – proposed solutions raised by forum participants

  • Agree acceptable levels of service for access
  • Re-direct royalty funding
  • Document community service obligations
  • Develop community transport models.

2.7 Telecommunications – proposed solution raised by Forum participants

  • Improve mobile coverage.

3. Transport regulation in remote and regional Areas:

3.1 Inconsistency and national regulation – proposed solutions raised by forum participants

  • Create an authoritative commission to ensure consistency Australia wide and across all transport modes and systems
  • Explore a national zonal approach, including to access decision making
  • Create a national risk based framework with recognition of local environments and needs, based on population and remoteness
  • Recognise reality – one size does not fit all
  • Metropolitan and rural administered and funded specifically.

3.2 Minimising regulatory burden – proposed solutions raised by forum participants

  • Harmonise opportunities by zone rather than by jurisdiction
  • Provide exemptions and regional concession schemes.

3.3 Risk based approach – proposed solutions raised by forum participants

  • Move away from prescription towards "goal setting standards" based on risk
  • Apply outcomes based regulation
  • Better understand asset capacity and deterioration.

3.4 Development opportunity restricted by Aboriginal Land Rights Act – proposed solutions raised by forum participants

  • Review land tenure – road reserves, barge landings, airstrips
  • Treat community and commercial infrastructure differently
  • Provide concessions.

3.5 Aviation – cost of compliance – proposed solutions raised by Forum participants

  • Undertake risk assessments for remote airports (safety and security)
  • Provide exemptions for certain compliance requirements
  • Remove red tape.

3.6 Remote and regional needs and differences – proposed solutions raised by Forum participants

  • Provide a zonal approach, for example with fatigue laws
  • Apply a risk based approach that recognises regional differences.

4. Working group sessions - detailed outcomes

4.1 Remote and regional transport infrastructure

Questions posed to Working Group participants (from Forum Discussion Paper) to inform discussion:

  • How can long term sustainable transport infrastructure funding for remote and regional areas be realised?
  • Can alternative funding and assessment mechanisms be designed to deliver better outcomes for remote and regional areas without compromising broader fiscal, infrastructure investment and policy governance principles?

4.1.1 Infrastructure funding

Key issues identified by Working Group participants:

  • Economic development opportunities restricted because of limited funds to develop transport links off major arterial routes.
  • Having capital and recurrent funding to maintain infrastructure to appropriate standard.
  • Remote roads frequently have low benefit cost ratios because of social and equity issues not well catered for in Cost Benefit Analysis.
  • Funding and network demands due to mining growth.
  • Recognising value / broader economic benefit.
  • Recognising 'public value'.
  • Safety on road networks - Royalty shortfall to regional infrastructure.

Potential solutions as identified by Working Group participants (in priority order):

  • Hypothecate percentage of royalties for mining industry to develop remote and regional infrastructure.
  • Build social and equity issues into Cost Benefit Analysis guidelines.
  • Undertake taxation reforms and provide taxation incentives.
  • Use planning provisions to require private sector development to contribute to infrastructure development.
  • Provide different funding models for metropolitan and regional areas.
  • Local government recognition.
  • Better use of data to support infrastructure development
  • Regional funding management model that replaces state / local government.
  • Heavy vehicle road pricing – user pays.
  • How funds are split and prioritised (heavy vehicle road pricing).
  • Program management / accountability.
  • Infrastructure a catalyst for development / employment.
  • Public Private Partnership (PPP) between individual and tiers of government and resource developers.
  • Further exploration of value capture opportunities in infrastructure funding.
  • Funding from Aboriginal benefit account (from Royalties).
  • Tax reform – how channelled and managed.

Potential risks identified by Working Group participants:

  • Tax reform has a poor history.
  • Funds may be disincentive to invest.

De-politicise infrastructure funding

Key issues identified by Working Group participants:

  • Some infrastructure industries operate on commercial models, however transport predominantly part of political process.
  • Need to separate commercial and community service obligation investment decisions.
  • Improve transparency of decision making.
  • Short term thinking versus long term infrastructure requirements.
  • Has government got the balance right between capital and maintenance expenditure.
  • Inefficiencies in construction timetables that are aligned to budget cycles and not construction ones.
  • Quality of life – higher cost of doing business.

Potential solutions as identified by Working Group participants:

  • Separate infrastructure construction timetables from the budget cycle.
  • Where moving away from politicised funding decisions is not possible, be transparent about community service obligations and mining service stats and pool of funds for community service obligation.
  • Where depoliticising funding decisions is possible, move to commercial / corporate model.
  • Improve focus on nation building projects.

Potential risks identified by Working Group participants:

  • Remote areas will never have commercially / corporately viable infrastructure opportunities so still rely on political process.
  • Failure to de-link construction timetables from budget cycles will lead to higher costs in the future.

4.1.2 Infrastructure prioritisation

Key issues identified by working group participants:

  • Scarce resources means there is a need to direct resourcing to where it has highest priority.
    • Need to ensure we efficiently invest in remote and regional areas.
  • Getting all stakeholders to participate in facilitating Greenfield developments.
  • Need to resolve cross jurisdictional coordination.
  • Maximising community benefit on the back of infrastructure built for a specific project in the first instance.
  • Roads not of standard to allow all year transport.
  • Costs to bring roads to an "all-weather" standard would require government funding (significant).
  • How to prioritise 'all-weather' roads based on community needs and enterprise needs.
  • Utilisation of High Productivity Vehicles is limited by infrastructure in terms of last mile access – particularly minor infrastructure e.g. roundabouts, and damage to infrastructure as a result.
  • Mining and remote growth.
  • Safety on road networks in regions (more fuel movement).

Potential solutions as identified by working group participants (in priority order):

  • Develop asset registers and audits.
  • Infrastructure development strategies to underpin future investment programs.
  • Consider infrastructure requirements when assessing development approvals.
  • Bring all parties together.
  • Develop a national rural and remote strategic arterial road network plan.
  • Develop a user pays model for major users of assets, e.g. mines.
  • Investigating funding models that would increase investment in road improvements.
  • Service studies that reflect community and industry needs. De-politicise this area – need to look at this through nation building etc.
  • Rationalise Mining Act to facilitate regional growth.
  • Local Government to understand Australian Trucking Association's Equivalent Standard Axles / 1000+ chart.
  • Extra funding needed for councils to address last mile access issues.
  • Review engineering standards to take into account last mile access.
  • Promote understanding of Cost Benefit Analysis for last mile access East-west corridors.
  • Facilitation, working together.
  • Better cross jurisdictional coordination.
  • Public sector funding.

Potential risks identified by Working Group participants:

  • Opportunity lost for economic development.
  • Local infrastructure under pressure from resources sector.
  • Infrastructure constraints hindering or stopping development.
  • Threat to existing primary industry.
  • Shortfall in essential services
    • Teachers
    • Medical
    • Emergency services
  • Inbound freight growth with dangerous goods
    • Fuels
    • Explosive

4.1.3 infrastructure maintenance

Key issues identified by Working Group participants:

  • Roads and airports / aerodromes built but no repairs and maintenance funding.
  • Need to maximise community benefits when putting in or upgrading infrastructure.
  • Need long term sustainable developments / options when developing delivery approach.
  • Modern trucks / weights running on aged infrastructure.
  • Running trucks and the weight they are carrying are not compatible with infrastructure – modern technologies cannot withstand corrugation.
  • Variable quality of construction leading to increased maintenance costs. Causes -
    • 1. Inadequate funding.
    • 2. Inadequate local knowledge (use of local knowledge).
    • 3. Short sighted funding.
    • 4. Practical training / knowledge retention.
  • Seasonal access - Northern Australia seasonal issues.

Potential solutions as identified by Working Group participants (in priority order):

  • Improve cost benefit and estimated cost analysis when planning maintenance.
  • Ensure government procurement processes have specific targets, for example jobs, and up-skilling.
  • Construct roads to single seal and improve the quality of build.
  • Better technical design – passing lanes.

Potential risks identified by Working Group participants:

  • Magnitude of existing / proposed infrastructure.
  • Low regional / remote populations.
  • Difficulty in attracting labour / professionals to remote Australia from costal centres.
  • Could get major companies to do all the work but this would lose community development.

4.1.4 Land tenure and aboriginal land rights

Key issues identified by Working Group participants:

  • Bureaucracy, red and green tape etc. is leading to considerable delays in getting projects developed.
  • Negotiating with Land Council can be very difficult, lengthy process.
  • Key decision makers not across major issues in regional and remote areas.
  • Land tenure / access to resources.
  • Access / seasonal / remote – connectivity between models and systems through Aboriginal lands.
  • Access to gravel for road building repairs and maintenance due to Native Title issues.

Potential solutions as identified by Working Group participants (in priority order):

  • Consider amendments to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act
  • Use major project status.

Potential risk identified by Working Group participants:

  • Opportunities lost for economic development.

4.1.5 Integrated transport networks

Key issues identified by working group participants:

  • Maintaining service standards is not just roads; it is also about access, e.g. barge landings etc.
  • There is a need to reduce duplication across modes.
  • Current silo approach - 
  • Geography, modes, interests
  • Multiple owners / operators.
  • Cost (animal welfare) of cross-loading.
  • Cross loading impacts on all freight.
  • Standards drive what will be done.
  • Commonality of resources for all modes.
  • Sharing resources.
  • Level or regulation and standards and risk.
  • Bridge stock and remote and rail infrastructure.

Potential solutions as identified by working group participants (in priority order):

  • Define function first, get agreement to standards, determine the best option to respond, then allocate funding (how package put together).
  • Create transport hubs.
  • Explore integration – outfields and ports.
  • Prepare risk overviews and summaries.
  • National investment strategy.
  • Use existing localised government and industry transport assessment to build a national review / assessment.
  • Get rid of the state borders.

Potential risks identified by Working Group participants:

  • Sheer magnitude / scale.
  • Political risks – self-interests.
  • Inability to collaborate our service standards.
  • Inability to collaborate between three phases of government and industry when developing service standards.
  • More of the same if action isn't taken– current system is disjointed which does not optimise efficiency and has a negative impact on industry viability.
  • Mining companies using local / pubic infrastructure (roads / airports / ports etc).

4.1.6 Telecommunicatons

Key issues identified by working group participants:

  • Limited / not same standard as mainstream Australia.
  • No 3G / 4G on transport network.
  • Limited broadband service.

Potential solutions as identified by Working Group participants (in priority order):

  • Ensure strategic placement of infrastructure along major transport routes.
  • Greater government and private investment in communication infrastructure.
  • Good integrated planning of communication infrastructure.
  • Coordination at national level of communication infrastructure and amongst other levels of government.

4.1.7 Cross borders

Key issues identified by Working Group participants:

  • State borders mean nationally efficient solutions may not be realised
  • Movement of produce and minerals is determined by the most efficient route
  • Various rail gages between states

Potential solutions as identified by Working Group participants (in priority order):

  • Develop national economic zones (remote Australia).
  • Develop national strategies.

4.2 Remote and Regional Transport Services

Questions posed to Working Group participants (from Forum Discussion Paper) to inform discussion:

  • Funding arrangements – are we using the right business models? How can we incorporate the social value of trips into funding approaches?
  • How can we better manage remote aerodromes and airstrips?
  • What potential is there for improving freight and developing hub and spoke models?

4.2.1 Remote aerodromes

Key issues identified by Working Group participants:

  • Maintenance – capability, no funding for training, literacy, numeracy, attendance, Government services, health, weather, roads closed, mail, freight, regular passenger transport services.
  • Services are decreasing – milk runs and low frequency services are not attractive to passengers.
  • Aerodrome ownership – mines, Indigenous (little funding), stations.
  • Operations / Availability – inspections, staff reliability / trust, training, funding.
  • Most regional airlines are struggling.
  • Making remote communities more viable requires better access – community consolidation doesn't/hasn't worked.
  • Security – aircraft security, fuel, vandalism, theft, arrivals, animals (fencing).
  • Air strip standards are too high for services to be provided (frequency of grading etc).
  • Not enough funding to maintain airstrips impacts on ability to provide medical services to remote areas.
  • Maintenance issues.
  • Maintenance and regulation – costly – aircraft getting larger.
  • Government funding – various sources – no funds for remote aerodromes.
  • Varying levels of management.
  • Aging workforce – skills and training needed.
  • Larger aircraft used, more infrastructure costs.
  • Regulatory burden.

Potential solutions as identified by Working Group participants:

  • Resolve ownership issues.
  • Centralise remote aerodrome administration and management.
  • Standardise fees and services.
  • Central repository of expertise – existing funding – pooled to use available funding.
  • Increase government funding for maintenance.
  • Centralise grants program.
  • Subsidy for regional airlines.
  • Costs, skills, training.
  • Resolve ownership issues.
  • Review of standards for remote aerodromes.
  • Centralised remote aerodrome administration.
  • Flexibility of standards – to allow services to be provided.
  • Flexibility around standards (e.g. bus services and disability standards).
  • Centralise management and maintenance.
  • Regulation and standards for aerodromes.
  • Lesson regulations - too many layers involved.

Potential risks identified by Working Group participants:

  • Safety.
  • Community viability.

4.2.2 Service costs

Key issues identified by Working Group participants:

  • All costs are inflated in remote areas – extremely high fuel costs.
  • Impacts on costs of other services e.g. health etc, funding being used for transport.
  • High cost of transporting basics (food, fuel) – remote services cost more when infrastructure is poor.
  • High cost of maintenance, resources, services in remote locations.
  • Poor quality due to time and rough ride.
  • Without infrastructure, no services can be provided.
  • Major costs associated with transport in remote areas.
  • Lack of competition.
  • Regulatory settings.
  • Fuel costs in remote areas.
  • Limited backload opportunities.
  • Infrastructure not good in remote areas.
  • Lack of competition among providers.

Potential solutions identified by Working Group participants:

  • Provide weighted government subsidies for remote areas.
  • Fix the infrastructure to improve access to reduce the cost of service delivery.
  • Allow higher productivity combinations of heavy vehicles to reduce costs of transport in remote areas.
  • Cost sharing – national fuel prices to assist resolve high costs in remote areas.
  • Coalition of transport providers.
  • Allocation formulas used by Grants Commission needs to acknowledge inflated costs in remote areas.
  • Standard pricing across Australia.
  • Regulatory settings – cross border.
  • Community based solutions for efficient freight transport e.g. Outback Stores and Arnhem Land Progress Association (ALPA).

Potential risks identified by Working Group participants:

  • Costs to other services, e.g. health etc, will increase due to cost of transport.
  • Transport providers withdraw services as they are too costly to operate.
  • Continual decline of standard of living increased urban drift.

4.2.3 Funding arrangements

Key issues identified by working group participants:

  • We don't know where the transport gaps are, and need to better understand existing transport assets. A transport gap analysis is needed to better distribute existing services.
  • Fill the gaps or seek additional funding or provide additional services? There is a basic policy requirement to undertake this assessment.
  • Funding sources are not aggregated – is there potential for pooling?
  • What business models should we be using?
  • How can the social values of a trip be incorporated?

Potential solutions as identified by working group participants:

  • Undertake stocktake and gap analysis to get resources.
  • Aggregate funding sources.
  • Develop community transport models.
  • Develop remote business models.
  • Use levies, royalty contributions and cross subsidisation to fund services.

Potential risks identified by Working Group participants:

  • Costs to other services, health etc. will increase due to cost of transport.
  • Transport providers withdraw services as they are too costly to operate.

4.2.4 Hub and spoke model

Key issues identified by Working Group participants:

  • Hub and spoke access to services for the movement of freight– car, bus, air access, barge service links.
  • Transport links into the small communities, impacts on medical, social services, etc.
  • Access from small communities to larger transport links, taking into consideration weather issues.
  • Transport network – intermodal ports is not maximised, leading to lower efficiency
  • Last mile access.
  • Lack of Intermodal capability.
  • Limited networks, need to be broader.

Potential solutions as identified by Working Group participants:

  • Use a centralised agency (as owned by Councils in Tasmania for water and sewerage)
  • Take a holistic view of transport networks.
  • Develop intermodal hubs.
  • Allocate funding based on service need rather than transport mode.
  • Micro transport providers, e.g. providing fleet vehicles to link with buses for remote towns due to inappropriate vehicles / roads.
  • Alignment of transport funding for highest and best, e.g. centralised road maintenance, centralised runway control, maintenance, regulation, common ownership of runways, roads.
  • Centralised funding for grants.
  • Royalty money – could be contributed to key community infrastructure.
  • Link to service assessment.
  • Infrastructure ownership – combined ownership across infrastructure, e.g. roads, airstrips.
  • Solutions not orientated to a particular transport mode, but service need.

4.2.5 Local employment and sustainability

Key issues identified by Working Group participants:

  • What is a regional community? Alice Springs and communities around it?
  • Looking at all services – sustaining all these.
  • Business community model – essential services.
  • Sustaining services relative to the size of communities they are servicing.
  • Cultural barriers – who can travel with who?

Potential solutions as identified by Working Group participants:

  • Source and skill locals and provide a motivation to participate in remote communities.
  • Undertake training and skill building.
  • Develop remote and regional business models.
  • Brokerage services.
  • Costs of transport for services such as health could be transferred to community transport solution. Obligation for businesses operating in regional areas – levy for operating in regional areas to create a sustainable remote services environment.
  • Private sector / government funding models.
  • Tax incentives.
  • Remote business model.

Potential risks identified by Working Group participants:

  • Migration away from remote areas. Lack of appropriate motivations to remain and participate.
  • Lack of take up by providers and passengers.

4.2.6 Recognise social values

Key issues identified by Working Group participants:

  • Need more consideration of the social value of a trip.
  • Some services are never going to be commercial, what level of government subsidy is appropriate.
  • There is no basic policy foundation to start, no minimum standard for access to remote and regional areas.
  • Take up of existing services in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Cultural barriers and use of workers from other services for transport.
  • Health professionals picking up patients for appointments, taking those health professionals away from their responsibilities – waste of money and resources.
  • Servicing communications at remote locations.
  • Intermodal transport.
  • Strategic planning - prioritising for infrastructure build.
  • Ownership – intergovernmental relationships.
  • Sustainability of outstations.
  • Culture of inherited moral obligation.

Potential solutions as identified by Working Group participants:

  • Develop acceptable levels of service for access.
  • Re-direct royalty funding.
  • Document community services obligations.
  • Developing community transport models.
  • Strategy for embedded transport to be transferred on a cost-effective basis to community transport and other providers.
  • Viable or not? Can we provide level of service, what is the acceptable level? What price will community pay?
  • Cultural issues around ownership, access to gravel etc.

Potential risks identified by Working Group participants:

  • Cultural barriers – who can travel with who.
  • Lack of take up by non-transport providers and potential passengers.
  • Welfare dependency.
  • Demise of settlements.
  • Social unrest.
  • Political.
  • Financial.

4.2.7 TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Key issues identified by Working Group participants:

  • Difficult to relay issues, breakdowns etc.
  • Mobile and wireless is not available and frustrates efficient operations.
  • Mobile communications and access to wireless networks is problematic for service providers to operate and resolve problems.

Potential solution as identified by Working Group participants:

  • Improve mobile coverage.

Potential risk identified by Working Group participants:

  • Solutions may not be effective.

4.3 Transport regulation in remote and regional areas

Questions posed to Working Group participants (from Forum Discussion Paper) to inform discussion:

  • Are there ways to achieve regulatory objectives that better support the needs of remote and regional areas?
  • Should regulatory regimes include differential risk models to be applied for remote and regional areas, acknowledging the different operating environment?
  • Are there innovative approaches to regulation and institutional arrangements to minimise the compliance demands for remote and regional transport operators without compromising safety and other regulatory objectives?

4.3.1 INCONSISTENCY AND NATIONAL REGULATION

Key issues identified by Working Group participants:

  • Recognising the difficulties in remote areas, related to communication in part, which over regulates and creates administrative burden.
  • Some inappropriate approaches in remote areas due to the lack of capacity to appreciate risk and develop bespoke solutions.
  • Regulatory consistency versus flexibility.
  • The national framework is defined by state borders rather than environment / needs.
  • Larger and national operators tend to work (successfully) to laws that apply in eastern states which may not recognise local environments and needs of jurisdictions.
  • "Abuse" of laws occurs at interface between the different frameworks, i.e. work diaries record "rest" while driver is actually working in the Northern Territory.
  • Small verse large infrastructure.
  • Inconsistency with specifications and regulations.
  • Need to be more outcomes focused.
  • Compliance resourcing costs.
  • Growing compliance requirements - not sufficient processes around the review of the regulations to determine whether they continue to be required - therefore results in increasing cost.
  • Regulatory compliance does not take into account the cost of implementation.
  • Not all regulatory compliance requirements are clearly conveyed to industry.

Potential solutions as identified by Working Group participants (in priority order):

  • Create an authoritative commission to ensure consistency Australia wide and across all transport modes and systems.
  • Explore a national zonal approach, including to access decision making.
  • Create a national risk based framework with recognition of local environments and needs, based on population and remoteness.
  • Recognise reality – one size does not fit all.
  • Metropolitan and rural administered and funded specifically.
  • Remove cost and inconsistency in regulation.
  • Have flexibility for regional issues / options.
  • National legislation and standards to take into account geographic / regional variation based on real issues being freed and effective consultation (listening and acting on industry issues).
  • Federation.
  • Use this Forum and associated Ministerial meetings to consider true 'break through' solutions.
  • Reduce costs - delivery methods need to vary – especially in flexible prescription. How will this work in Tennant Creek?

Potential risks identified by Working Group participants:

  • Can be mitigated – not removed.
  • Regulatory overlap.
  • Uncertainty in constant change.
  • Rigid regulatory system can prevent innovation.
  • Technology – regulation not keeping up.

4.3.2 Minimising regulatory burden

Key issues identified by Working Group participants:

  • Heavy Vehicle National Law has not addressed cross border / regional and remote issues - Jurisdictional differences in requirements for:
    • Exemptions
    • Axle weights/dimensions
    • Fatigue.
  • Long distances mean more mass, e.g. fuel.
  • Inconsistency with national regulations leads to approvals taking too long because of multiple approvals from various jurisdictions.
  • Oversize permits cross jurisdictions take too long which has an impact on business.
  • Councils under resourced to issue the permits.
  • Councils unwilling to allow oversize overmass vehicles as road damaged and can't afford to.
  • Regulatory certainty as distinct from regulatory burden. Incremental regulatory requirements when process assessments in train. 80-85% seaborne task originates in regional and remote. Very high regulatory risk. Impacts performance of entire supply chain (NB: Abbott Point).
  • Local Government Association (LGA) issues with State and Federal government delineation in regulation and legislation. In some placed LGA under writing private / commercial enterprise with no wider community benefit.
  • Review of regulatory impacts on National Heavy Vehicle Law from other requirements:
    • Disability Discrimination Act.
    • Access to National Ports.
    • Utilisation of school bus fleet.
  • Competitive neutrality regulation between models.
  • Example of National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.
  • Metro vs Regional.
  • How to break through Local vs National Benefits.
  • User pays cannot work easily.
  • Taxi and other regulations that (arguably) works in city is too onerous in remote / small towns.

Potential solutions as identified by Working Group participants (in priority order):

  • Harmonise opportunities by zone rather than jurisdiction.
  • Prove exemptions and regional concession schemes.
  • Shift national priority from urban freeway building to regional highway upgrade.
  • Subsidise Council for roads.
  • Move funding from freeway building to remote.
  • Move to mutual recognition:
    • 5 year transition to 1 set of rules
    • Limited prescription.
  • Corporate focus.

Potential risks identified by Working Group participants:

  • Continued cost and frustration.
  • No reliability in supply chain.
  • Too many local and state government employees involved and cost.
  • Unsure of scale of the taxi problem.

4.3.3 Risk based approach

Key issues identified by Working Group participants:

  • Different levels of risk apply in different parts of Australia - Nationally acceptable level of risk (especially to life) should drive regulatory solutions.
  • Perceived differences in the level of risks to infrastructure and safety - What is an acceptable level of risk (and rate of consumption of assets)?
  • National acceptance of risk should drive regulatory solution (air and road).

Potential solutions as identified by Working Group participants:

  • Move away from prescription towards "goal setting standards" based on risk.
  • Apply outcomes based regulation.
  • Better understand asset capacity and deterioration.

Potential risk identified by Working Group participants:

  • Taxi Regulation.

4.3.4 Development opportunity restricted by aboriginal land rights act

Key issues identified by Working Group participants:

  • Opportunities to undertake development is restricted by the Aboriginal Land Rights Act where development is for community benefit versus commercial benefit.
  • Aboriginal Land Rights Act suggests Indigenous ownership of all land.
  • Need for forward planning given land tenure issues / requirements / permission.
  • Cost of compliance inhibits infrastructure development.

Potential solutions identified by Working Group participants:

  • Review land tenure - road reserves, barge landings and airstrips.
  • Treat community and commercial infrastructure differently.
  • Provide concessions.

4.3.5 Aviation – cost of compliance

Key issues identified by Working Group participants:

  • Varying requirements for different size planes:
    • This drives unintended consequences like cost rather than need.
    • This impacts freight and other transport.
    • This restricts fly in, fly out.
  • Requirements for transport safety and security for remote aviation considered excessive due to the actual cost of compliance.
  • Capital city and security requirements applying in local / remote airports which may affect the viability of regional air services.
    • JFK rules applying in Gove.
    • Cost of security processing 10-20 time higher than capitol.
    • Local Government can't afford:
      • Through rates or cost recovery
      • Same "airports" are bigger than the Local Governments.

Potential solutions identified by Working Group participants:

  • Undertake risk assessments for remote airports (safety and security).
  • Provide exemptions for certain compliance requirements.
  • Remove red tape.

Potential risk identified by Working Group participants:

  • Not dealing with the viability of regional air services will (is) lead to service reducing.

4.3.6 Remote and regional needs and differences

Key issues identified by Working Group participants:

  • Need different rules in remote / regional areas, e.g. fatigue laws.
  • Different requirements from state to state for oversize loads and escorts:
    • Some require police escort, some "private" escorts.
    • Number of escorts required varies from state to state.

Potential solutions identified by Working Group participants (in priority order):

  • Provide a zonal approach, for example with fatigue laws.
  • Apply a risk based approach that recognises regional differences.
  • Need to take personal responsibility in managing fatigue.
  • A new fatigue system that can apply in all remote and regional areas, i.e. cross border.
  • Lower cost entry / management for fatigue.
  • More flexibility.
  • Give private oversize loads and escort providers ability to direct other vehicles, i.e. as occurs in Western Australia.
  • Review any conflicting day / night travel restrictions for oversize loads and escorts.
  • Utilise limited police resources in more appropriate areas for oversize loads and escorts.

Potential risks identified by Working Group participants:

  • New fatigue research.
  • Compliance does not mean safe.
  • Police resistance to give up their role for oversize loads and escorts.

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Last updated: 28 November 2017