1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2003   
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Contents >> Transport >> General transport organisations

Australian Transport Council

The Australian Transport Council was established on 11 June 1993, subsuming the functions of the Australian Transport Advisory Council.

It comprises Commonwealth, state, territory and New Zealand ministers responsible for transport, roads, marine and ports matters. The Papua New Guinea minister for transport matters, and the Australian Local Government Association have formal observer status on the Council.

The Council meets biannually; its primary role is to review and coordinate various aspects of transport policy, development and administration. It initiates discussion and reports on issues raised by Council members, and provides advice to governments on the coordination and integration of all transport and road policy issues at a national level.

Standing Committee on Transport and Regional Services

Formed after the 2001 general election, this committee was created to cover transport matters. It is the successor to the Standing Committee on Communications, Transport and the Arts. The committee is one of 13 general purpose investigatory committees established by the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Australia. The role of the Standing Committee on Transport and Regional Services is to carry out inquiries into matters referred to it by the House of Representatives or a minister of the Commonwealth Government. The matters that may be referred by the House include reports by the Commonwealth Auditor-General. The committee can also inquire into matters raised in annual reports of Commonwealth government departments and authorities.
At July 2002 the committee was active in two inquiries:

Inquiry into commercial regional aviation services in Australia and transport links to major populated islands - examining the adequacy of regional and rural air services in Australia, the adequacy of alternative sea services to major populated islands, and the policies and measures required to assist the development of regional air services.

Inquiry into variable speed limits - a case study of intelligent transport systems - looking into the potential to apply variable speed limits on the F3 Freeway and the Hume Highway between Sydney and Canberra as case studies of the effectiveness of intelligent transport systems.

Commonwealth Department of Transport and Regional Services (DOTRS)

The department promotes economic, social and regional development by enhancing Australia's infrastructure performance. It is committed to the integration of transport and regional development. Divisional business units of the department include:

Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics (BTRE) - A centre for applied economic research, the BTRE undertakes studies and investigations that contribute to an improved understanding of the economic factors influencing the efficiency and growth of the transport sector and regional Australia, and the development of effective transport policies. The BTRE also undertakes consultancy work for a number of external agencies, and one-off projects.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) - Created as an independent division-level unit within DOTRS on 1 July 1999, the ATSB works closely with the states and territories, which investigate transport accidents. It deals with the non-regulatory aspects of road, rail, air and sea safety.

  • Road. The ATSB's road safety activities include: the federal road safety Black Spots Program; road safety research and statistical analysis; the National Road Safety Strategy; vehicle recall investigations (reflecting the Commonwealth Government's responsibilities under the Trade Practices Act); Australian Design Rules; and vehicle importing and certification.
  • Rail. ATSB's Rail Safety Unit will adopt a 'no-blame' systems approach to rail safety investigations on the interstate rail track when Commonwealth legislation has been enacted. It currently investigates, if requested, on behalf of states and is establishing a national rail safety database. The Government has also announced that it intends to legislate to give the ATSB the power to initiate its own investigations on the interstate rail system.
  • Air and Sea. Using a 'no-blame' whole-of-system approach, ATSB investigates accidents, incidents and safety deficiencies, and analyses safety data to prevent repeat occurrences and to minimise the effects of those that do eventuate. As a Commonwealth body, the bureau has legislative authority to investigate cases involving all civilian aircraft and large marine vessels. It works independently of regulators such as the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Airservices Australia (Airservices), and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
  • Aviation. The role of this division is to advise on international and domestic aviation issues; regulate international airline operations; and manage Australia's participation in the work of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). It also manages the continuing relationship between the Government and Australia's airlines, and with the aviation safety organisations - particularly Airservices and CASA, and it publishes Australia's international and domestic air-service statistics from AVSTATS (Aviation Statistics and Alaysis Section).

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

The CSIRO is conducting research, in collaboration with the transport industry, into intelligent transport systems. These systems involve the application of information technology and telecommunications to traffic control and management.

Institute of Transport Studies, The University of Sydney

The primary objective of the Institute is to undertake graduate teaching, management development programs, grant and contract research and development in the fields of transport and logistics studies.

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