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This section provides data relating to the movements of goods and persons. Examples include distance travelled, tonnes of freight carried and numbers of passengers.
Motor vehicles travelled a total distance of 180,782 million kilometres in the year ended 31 October 2000 at an average of 15,400 kilometres per vehicle on the road (table 23.1). Business use accounted for an estimated 34.4% of distance travelled, while the journey to and from work accounted for a further 22.1%. Private use made up the remaining 43.5%.
Table 23.2 shows the areas in which motor vehicles travelled. Only 5.4% of total distance travelled was interstate while 55.5% was within the capital city of the State or Territory in which the vehicle was registered.
Rail transport activity
The Australian rail industry is very diverse, comprising rail operators (freight, passenger, tourist and heritage), manufacturers, suppliers, consultants, track access corporations, maintenance and construction contractors, logistics providers and a wide range of other companies covering all sectors of the industry.
Australia's railways are undergoing significant change as a result of the Commonwealth and State/Territory Governments' policy to increase competition. Consequently, there has been an increase in private rail activity, with a decline in government ownership and management of railways.
The following information as at 30 June 2001 on the ownership and management of individual State railways was supplied by Australasian Railways Association.
New South Wales: The Rail Infrastructure Corporation (RIC) manages rail infrastructure including maintenance and operator access to the network. The State government-owned enterprises are:
A number of private operators also operate rail services.
Victoria: The Victorian Rail Track Corporation (VicTrack) is the State government statutory corporation which owns the public transport land in Victoria. This land is leased by VicTrack to various government and private operators. In February 1999 Victoria’s rail freight operator V/Line Freight was sold to US regional rail operator Rail America, which trades as Freight Australia. In mid-1999 Victoria’s rail passenger services were franchised to private operators:
Queensland: The primary rail system remains operated by government-owned business enterprises that have responsibility for their entire operations. There are also a number of private enterprises operating smaller railways, primarily for the transportation of products such as sugar cane.
South Australia: In November 1997 the Commonwealth sold the non-urban rail systems. Australian Southern Railroad operates the former SA Freight. Great Southern Railway operates the long distance passenger trains, namely the Ghan, the Indian Pacific and the Overland. There are also some private operators.
Western Australia: In late 2000, the West Australian government owned Westrail was sold to a consortium comprising Australian Southern Railroad and Wesfarmers. The urban rail passenger operations and non-urban rail and bus passenger services remain government owned under the Western Australian Government Railways Commission. In north-west WA, private railways haul iron ore from mine to port on some of the world’s longest, heaviest and most efficient trains.
Tasmania: In November 1997 the Commonwealth sold Tasrail to Australian Transport Network.
Commonwealth: National Rail Corporation Ltd (NRC) operates interstate rail freight services between Brisbane and Perth as well as intrastate services in NSW. It is jointly owned by the Commonwealth Government and the NSW and Victorian Governments, which have agreed to its privatisation. The Australian Rail Track Corporation owns the interstate standard gauge track in South Australia extending to Kalgoorlie in WA, and leases the interstate standard gauge track in Victoria from the State Government and VicTrack.
Domestic airline activity
Table 23.3 shows the hours flown and aircraft departures for the major domestic and regional airlines. Aircraft departures increased by 3.8% in 2000 compared to departures in 1999. The number of hours flown in 2000 increased by 4.8% from 1999.
In addition to scheduled services of domestic and regional airlines shown in table 23.3, a wide range of other activities is undertaken by the aviation industry, including business flying, aerial agriculture, charter, training and private flying (table 23.4). Charter operations and training have, in recent years, made up more than half of general aviation hours flown and approximately 40% of total domestic hours flown. Charter operations involve the use of aircraft in non-scheduled operations for the carriage of passengers and cargo for hire or reward. General aviation hours flown in 2000 were 13% lower across all activity types than hours flown in 1999. Fuel contamination problems which grounded some aircraft may have been a factor in the lower figures recorded.
International air transport activity
As table 23.5 shows, the number of flights into and out of Australia in 2000 both increased by 10.4% over 1999 levels. Other airlines (i.e. overseas operators) represented 66.5% of all scheduled international airline traffic. In 2000 these airlines increased their incoming flights by 12.5% and their outgoing flights by 12.6%, and were the primary contributors to the overall increase in flights. Qantas also contributed to the total growth in flights, with a 8.5% increase in flights into and out of the country, flights to and from Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore, UK and USA recording increases. In contrast, the number of Ansett flights fell across all services except to and from Hong Kong.