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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/02/2004   
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Contents >> Transport >> Transport infrastructure

Transport infrastructure comprises three essential elements:

  • physical infrastructure - roads, rail track, seaports, airports
  • transport equipment - motor vehicles, trains, ships, aircraft
  • people with the necessary skills - licensed drivers, pilots, etc.

Physical infrastructure

The cost of constructing Australia's vast transport infrastructure is very high. The value of transport-related public and private sector new engineering construction done during 2001-02 included: $5,180m on roads, highways and subdivisions; $326m on bridges; $867m on railways; $320m on harbours; and $548m on pipelines.

Length of the road system

The length of Australia's roads is described in table 22.27. New South Wales is the state with the greatest length of 'bitumen or concrete' roads (90,905 km), representing just under half of all roads in that state. The Australian Capital Territory has the highest percentage of total road surface consisting of 'bitumen or concrete' (95%) while South Australia has the lowest percentage of its roads that are constructed of 'bitumen or concrete' (29%).

22.27 LENGTHS OF ROADS OPEN FOR GENERAL TRAFFIC(a) - 30 June 2003

Units
NSW(b)
Vic.(c)
Qld
SA
WA(d)
Tas.(e)
NT(f)
ACT

Bitumen or concrete
km
90,905
75,600
68,482
28,231
50,057
10,485
6,547
2,556
Gravel, crushed stone or other improved surface
km
91,169
53,700
51,482
40,868
55,464
(g)13,129
6,607
128
Formed only
km
26,700
43,209
18,480
29,644
639
7,601
(h)
Cleared only
km
n.a.
-
15,117
9,005
13,140
1,291
-
Total
km
182,074
156,000
178,290
96,584
148,305
24,253
22,046
2,684
Percentage of total surface with bitumen or concrete
%
49.9
48.5
38.4
29.2
33.8
43.2
29.7
95.2

(a) Road length is defined as follows: for NSW, SA & WA - route (end-to-end) length plus ramps, connections, additional carriageways, etc. All reported lengths include roads, bridges and ferry route lengths. For Vic. - route (end-to-end) length excluding ramps, connections, additional carriageways, etc. All reported lengths include roads and bridges, but exclude ferry route lengths. For Qld - length of the primary through carriageway. For Tas. - point-to-point direct travel distance. For NT - road centre-line length in one direction of travel only. For ACT - route (end-to-end) length plus ramps, connections, additional carriageways, etc. Includes roads and bridges, but excludes forestry, private roads and roads not managed by the ACT Government.
(b) Excludes Lord Howe Island, forestry-controlled roads and crown roads.
(c) Excludes in excess of 40,000 km of roads in areas such as parks and forests coming under the responsibility of organisations such as the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Parks Victoria and Water Catchment Authorities. Includes VicRoads declared roads as at June 2003 and unclassified roads as at June 2002.
(d) Excludes approximately 27,100 km of forestry-controlled roads.
(e) Includes an estimate for forestry roads.
(f) Excludes roads not managed by the NT Government.
(g) Includes local government roads in Formed only and Cleared only categories.
(h) Included in gravel, crushed stone or other improved surface.
Source: Derived primarily from Road and Traffic Authorities and local government sources in each state and territory.

Rail network

Australia’s rail systems comprise 41,286 km of broad, standard and narrow gauge track (table 22.28). Australia has a diverse range of rail gauges, reflecting the historical development of state infrastructure. It also reflects private development, such as the 4,150 km narrow gauge system of the Queensland sugar industry. The rail system includes the 250 km tram/light rail network in Melbourne, the 12 km tram line in Adelaide, the 7 km light rail and 4 km monorail lines in Sydney, and the 9 km skitube in the New South Wales Snowy Mountains.

22.28 AUSTRALIAN TRACK NETWORK(a), Route kilometres operated - 30 June

Gauge
1999
2000
2001
2002(b)

Narrow
610 mm
4,150
4,150
4,150
4,150
1067 mm
15,122
15,081
15,054
(c)15,160
Standard
1435 mm
16,381
16,339
16,343
17,678
Broad
1600 mm
4,009
4,009
4,017
4,017
Dual
264
265
266
281
Total
39,926
39,844
39,830
41,286

(a) Includes tram and light rail.
(b) 2001-02 data is from the 2003 ARA Yearbook and Industry Directory.
(c) Includes 4 km of 940 mm narrow gauge monorail in Sydney.
Source: Australasian Railway Association Inc.

Seaports

Under Section 15 of the Customs Act 1901 (Cwlth), Australia has 97 appointed ports, which are points of passenger and cargo entry into Australia or transfer where customs and quarantine activities are carried out. Western Australia has the greatest number of such ports (22), while the Northern Territory has the fewest (3). Of the remaining states, Queensland has 20 ports, South Australia (18), Tasmania (15), New South Wales (14), and Victoria has 5 ports.

Airports

There are 261 licensed airports in Australia and its external territories. Of these, 12 were operated as international airports servicing scheduled international airlines. The majority of licensed airports are owned and operated by local councils, state government departments and private companies. The remaining airports are owned and operated by the Department of Defence or leased by the Australian Government to private sector companies or government corporations.

Air pilot licences

At 30 June 2003 there were 30,676 holders of a current aeroplane pilot licence (including student licences), including 15,507 private pilots, 4,350 commercial pilots and 6,046 air transport pilots.

In addition, there were 1,668 holders of a current helicopter pilot licence (including student licences), of whom there were 372 private pilots, 850 commercial pilots and 395 air transport pilots.

There were licences held by 105 commercial balloonists and 285 flight engineers. These figures show only the highest level of licence held and include only those pilots who have a current medical certificate enabling them to exercise the privileges of the licence. Student pilots who have not progressed to the flight test stage are excluded.

Transport equipment

Registered motor vehicles

There were almost 12.5 million motor vehicles (excluding motor cycles, tractors, plant and equipment, caravans and trailers) registered in Australia at 31 March 2002 (table 22.29). This represents an increase of 3% since the previous census was taken on 31 October 2001. Approximately 8 out of every 10 vehicles are passenger vehicles. Table 22.30 shows registered motor vehicles by state/territory of registration. New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland are the states having the largest numbers of vehicles with 30%, 27% and 19% of the total vehicle fleet respectively.

22.29 REGISTERED MOTOR VEHICLES

Trucks

Passenger vehicles(a)
Light commercial vehicles
Rigid
Articulated
Non-freight carrying
Buses
Total(b)
Motor
cycles
Motor vehicle census years(c)
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000

1996
9,022
1,602
341
58
16
59
11,097
304
1997
9,240
1,632
342
59
17
61
11,351
313
1998
9,561
1,686
347
62
18
64
11,738
329
1999
9,720
1,721
347
63
18
66
11,935
334
2001
9,870
1,770
338
63
18
68
12,126
351
2002
10,137
1,820
342
64
19
70
12,451
371

(a) Includes campervans.
(b) Excludes motor cycles, tractors, plant and equipment, caravans and trailers.
(c) As at 31 March for 2002 and 2001. As at 31 October for all previous years shown.
Source: Motor Vehicle Census, 31 March 2002 (9309.0).

22.30 REGISTERED MOTOR VEHICLES - 31 March 2002

Trucks

Passenger vehicles(a)
Light
commercials
Rigid
Articulated
Non-freight carrying
Buses
Total(b)
Motor
cycles
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000
’000

New South Wales
3,095
515
103
15
3
19
3,751
96
Victoria
2,762
424
85
19
5
16
3,311
103
Queensland
1,842
423
69
13
4
15
2,367
79
South Australia
867
130
25
6
2
4
1,035
28
Western Australia
1,072
221
44
8
3
10
1,359
46
Tasmania
249
63
9
2
1
2
326
9
Northern Territory
69
25
3
1
-
3
100
3
Australian Capital Territory
180
18
2
-
-
1
201
7
Australia
10,137
1,820
342
64
19
70
12,451
371

(a) Includes campervans.
(b) Excludes motor cycles, tractors, plant and equipment, caravans and trailers.
Source: Motor Vehicle Census, Australia, 31 March 2002 (9309.0).

The average age of the Australian motor vehicle fleet at 31 March 2002 was 10.5 years (table 22.31). Tasmania recorded the highest average age (12.5 years) while the Northern Territory recorded the lowest average age (9.2 years). Of the different vehicle types, campervans had the oldest average age (19.1 years), while motorcycles recorded the lowest (10 years).

22.31 ESTIMATED AVERAGE AGE OF THE VEHICLE FLEET(a) - 31 March 2002

State/territory of registration

Type of vehicle
NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.

Passenger vehicles
9.0
10.5
10.2
11.7
10.5
12.1
8.9
9.9
10.1
Campervans
17.3
19.3
17.2
20.1
21.4
19.8
20.1
19.6
19.1
Light commercial vehicles
10.4
12.3
11.2
12.5
12.0
13.4
9.9
10.9
11.5
Light rigid trucks
11.2
14.1
12.4
14.1
14.1
17.0
7.9
11.8
12.6
Heavy rigid trucks
14.0
17.3
14.9
17.9
17.8
17.5
13.0
11.5
16.0
Articulated trucks
10.8
12.1
11.6
11.1
13.8
11.4
11.7
8.5
11.8
Non-freight carrying trucks
13.4
15.7
11.5
14.6
16.9
17.1
12.4
14.9
14.6
Buses
9.7
10.7
10.4
11.8
9.1
14.3
8.1
10.3
10.2
Motor cycles
9.0
9.6
10.6
(b)9.5
11.9
10.6
8.1
9.4
10.0
Total
9.4
10.9
10.5
11.9
11.1
12.5
9.2
10.0
10.5

(a) Excludes plant and equipment, caravans and trailers.
(b) Year of manufacture is frequently not reported for SA motor cycles.
Source: Motor Vehicle Census, 31 March 2002 (9309.0).

The number of motor vehicles registered per capita, (excluding motor cycles) increased from 582 vehicles per 1,000 persons in 1991 to 652 per 1,000 persons in 2002 (table 22.32). Western Australia had the most registered vehicles per capita in 2002, at 708 per 1,000 persons, being 9% above the Australian average.

22.32 MOTOR VEHICLES(a)(b) ON REGISTER PER 1,000 OF POPULATION
1991
1993
1995
1996
1997(c)
1998
1999
2001(c)
2002

New South Wales
525
529
545
556
546
581
574
568
578
Victoria
622
642
637
669
661
682
693
690
701
Queensland
569
593
614
624
605
645
659
651
663
South Australia
637
638
653
667
661
693
692
694
699
Western Australia
653
665
679
694
682
725
723
722
731
Tasmania
643
661
676
686
688
684
701
700
708
Northern Territory
507
497
520
529
508
538
535
516
520
Australian Capital Territory
556
591
604
613
637
627
635
634
643
Australia
582
595
606
614
630
612
647
642
652

(a) Excludes motor cycles, tractors, plant and equipment, caravans and trailers.
(b) Motor vehicle census years: as at 31 March for 2002 and 2001, as at 31 October for all previous years shown.
(c) Revised data.
Source: Motor Vehicle Census, Australia (9309.0).

Sales of new motor vehicles

After reductions in each of the previous three years, sales of new motor vehicles increased to a record of 824,000 vehicles sold in 2002, (table 22.33).

Passenger vehicles comprised 66% of sales made in 2002, with four wheel drive 'sports utility' vehicles comprising a further 17% of total vehicles sold. This represents continuation of the shift to four wheel drive sports utility type of vehicle which in 1994 accounted for only 7% of total new vehicle sales while passenger vehicles then accounted for 75% of total sales.

22.33 SALES OF NEW MOTOR VEHICLES, By type of vehicle

Passenger vehicles(a)
Other vehicles(b)
Total vehicles
'000
'000
'000

1994
462
155
616
1995
489
154
643
1996
491
158
649
1997
541
183
723
1998
583
224
807
1999
547
238
784
2000
556
235
791
2001
531
245
775
2002
540
284
824

(a) Includes vehicles designed primarily for the carriage of people, such as cars, station wagons and people movers.
(b) Includes trucks, buses, vans, all terrain wagons, pick-up/cab chassis (whether four-wheel drive or not) with a gross vehicle mass of 2.5 to 3.5 tonnes. Also includes heavy trucks and buses, with a gross vehicle mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes, and four-wheel drive passenger vehicles.
Source: Sales of New Motor Vehicles, Australia (Electronic Publication) (9314.0).

After a period of decline, sales of new motor vehicles rose in 2002 (table 22.34). In 2002 New South Wales had the largest sales of new motor vehicles (283,000), representing 34% of total sales in that year, followed by Victoria (27%) and Queensland (19%).

22.34 SALES OF NEW MOTOR VEHICLES, By state and territory
State/territory of registration

NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
Aust.
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000
'000

1994
225
143
115
40
62
13
6
13
616
1995
235
152
116
42
64
14
8
13
643
1996
231
157
119
42
67
13
7
11
649
1997
257
179
130
47
73
14
8
14
723
1998
286
203
146
53
80
15
9
15
807
1999
282
206
142
48
70
14
8
14
784
2000
282
214
139
47
71
14
8
16
791
2001
271
216
136
48
69
14
7
14
775
2002
283
225
155
53
73
15
7
14
824

Source: Sales of New Motor Vehicles, Australia (Electronic Publication) (9314.0).

Rail rolling stock

The number of locomotives, passenger cars and wagons in the Australian rail fleet, is shown in table 22.35. A large number of the narrow gauge diesel locomotives are owned by Queensland operators (Queensland Rail and Sugar Cane Railways), and service the Brisbane to Cairns route or the extensive sugar cane rail network. Queensland Rail has the largest fleet of such locomotives with 326 narrow gauge diesel and 182 narrow gauge electric.

22.35 AUSTRALIAN RAIL FLEET - 30 June

2000
2001
2002(a)

LOCOMOTIVES

Diesel
Broad gauge
131
142
145
Standard gauge
886
875
912
Narrow gauge
1,050
1,018
747
Electric
Standard gauge
60
60
58
Narrow gauge
184
184
182
XPT standard gauge
19
21
19
Total
2,330
2,300
2,063

PASSENGER CARS

Locomotive hauled
711
668
683
Diesel rail cars
Non-urban
117
117
117
Suburban
106
100
91
Total
223
217
208
Electric railcars
Interurban(b)
283
283
283
Suburban
2,566
2,593
2,602
Total
2,849
2,876
2,885
Tram/light rail
556
565
601
Charter/heritage
47
40
43
Total
4,386
4,366
4,420

WAGONS

Revenue
Broad gauge
2,025
2,020
2,000
Standard gauge
20,703
20,928
22,341
Narrow gauge(c)
19,336
18,614
18,067
Total
42,064
41,562
42,408
Other
1,719
1,650
1,626
Total
43,783
43,212
44,034

(a) 2001-02 data is from the 2003 ARA Yearbook and Industry Directory.
(b) Includes 12 tilt cars.
(c) Excludes 54,000 610 mm sugar cane wagons.
Source: Australasian Railway Association Inc.

Shipping fleet

There were 9,040 ships registered in Australia at 30 June 2003 (table 22.36), with Queensland having the largest fleet (2,884 ships). In all states and territories except South Australia and Tasmania, over half the fleets were registered for recreational use. High percentages of the ships registered in South Australia (49%) and Tasmania (41%) were registered for fishing purposes.

22.36 SHIPS REGISTERED(a) IN AUSTRALIA - 30 June 2003

Nature of registration

Recreational
Fishing
Government
Demise chartered(b)
Other
Total

New South Wales
1,832
283
4
6
255
2,380
Victoria
690
202
-
-
96
988
Queensland
1,678
761
18
13
414
2,884
South Australia
281
311
1
-
46
639
Western Australia
640
419
1
3
147
1,210
Tasmania
273
227
1
-
60
561
Northern Territory
284
63
1
-
30
378
Australia
5,678
2,266
26
22
1,048
9,040

(a) Australian-owned commercial or trading ships of 24 metres or more in tonnage length. All ships, regardless of tonnage length, must be registered before departing on a voyage from Australia or from a foreign port where there is an Australian diplomatic representative.
(b) Demise charter is the charter of a foreign ship operated by an Australian company in Australian waters. These ships are not necessarily engaged in trade or commerce.
Source: Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

The major Australian trading fleet (vessels of 2,000 deadweight tonnes and over) comprised 51 ships at 30 June 2001 (table 22.37). The minor trading fleet, consisting of vessels with gross tonnage of between 150 and 2,000 tonnes, comprised 30 ships.

22.37 THE AUSTRALIAN TRADING FLEET - 30 June 2001

Ships
no.
Deadweight tonnes(a)
Gross tonnage(b)

Major Australian fleet(c)
Coastal
Australian registered
35
1,003,535
725,107
Overseas registered
4
115,144
71,983
Total
39
1,118,679
797,090
Overseas
Australian registered
10
933,731
796,051
Overseas registered
2
255,899
147,411
Total
12
1,189,630
943,462
Total
51
2,308,309
1,740,552
Minor trading ships(d)
Australian registered
24
11,798
15,556
Overseas registered
6
3,876
8,190
Total
30
15,674
23,746
Australian trading fleet
81
2,323,983
1,764,298

(a) Weight that a vessel can carry, including cargo, bunkers, water and stores.
(b) Measure of the internal capacity of a ship (in tonnes) that is available within the hull and enclosed spaces for cargo, stores, passenger and crew.
(c) Greater than 2,000 deadweight tonnes.
(d) Between 150 gross registered tonnes and 2,000 deadweight tonnes.
Source: Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics.

Aircraft fleet

There were 11,788 aircraft in the Australian Civil Aircraft Register, at 31 December 2002 (table 22.38). This included 9,335 aeroplanes and 1,034 helicopters (table 22.38). Over the 10 years to 2002, the number of aeroplanes has increased by 839 (10%), helicopters by 385 (59%), gliders by 166 (18%), and balloons by 148 (78%).

22.38 REGISTERED AIRCRAFT(a) - 31 December
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002

Aeroplanes
Single engine
6,547
6,565
6,612
6,676
6,738
6,890
7,024
7,196
7,280
7,350
7,403
Multi engine
1,949
1,881
1,884
1,907
1,950
1,950
1,918
1,930
1,971
1,969
1,932
Total
8,496
8,446
8,496
8,583
8,688
8,840
8,942
9,126
9,251
9,319
9,335
Helicopters
649
634
650
680
684
717
751
851
926
967
1,034
Gliders(b)
916
932
952
965
985
1,062
1,069
1,068
1,071
1,082
1,082
Balloons
189
203
223
239
262
282
296
309
322
334
337
Total
10,250
10,215
10,321
10,467
10,619
10,901
11,058
11,354
11,570
11,702
11,788

(a) Includes amateur built aircraft.
(b) Includes powered and non-powered gliders.
Source: Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Aircraft Register.


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