Main Menu

WP_Query Object
(
    [query] => Array
        (
            [category_name] => transport
        )

    [query_vars] => Array
        (
            [category_name] => transport
            [error] => 
            [m] => 
            [p] => 0
            [post_parent] => 
            [subpost] => 
            [subpost_id] => 
            [attachment] => 
            [attachment_id] => 0
            [name] => 
            [static] => 
            [pagename] => 
            [page_id] => 0
            [second] => 
            [minute] => 
            [hour] => 
            [day] => 0
            [monthnum] => 0
            [year] => 0
            [w] => 0
            [tag] => 
            [cat] => 28
            [tag_id] => 
            [author] => 
            [author_name] => 
            [feed] => 
            [tb] => 
            [paged] => 0
            [meta_key] => 
            [meta_value] => 
            [preview] => 
            [s] => 
            [sentence] => 
            [title] => 
            [fields] => 
            [menu_order] => 
            [embed] => 
            [category__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__not_in] => Array
                (
                    [0] => 22371
                )

            [category__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_name__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [ignore_sticky_posts] => 
            [suppress_filters] => 
            [cache_results] => 1
            [update_post_term_cache] => 1
            [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1
            [update_post_meta_cache] => 1
            [post_type] => 
            [posts_per_page] => 14
            [nopaging] => 
            [comments_per_page] => 50
            [no_found_rows] => 
            [order] => DESC
        )

    [tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                    [0] => Array
                        (
                            [taxonomy] => category
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => transport
                                )

                            [field] => slug
                            [operator] => IN
                            [include_children] => 1
                        )

                    [1] => Array
                        (
                            [taxonomy] => category
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => 22371
                                )

                            [field] => term_id
                            [operator] => NOT IN
                            [include_children] => 
                        )

                )

            [relation] => AND
            [table_aliases:protected] => Array
                (
                    [0] => wp_term_relationships
                )

            [queried_terms] => Array
                (
                    [category] => Array
                        (
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => transport
                                )

                            [field] => slug
                        )

                )

            [primary_table] => wp_posts
            [primary_id_column] => ID
        )

    [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                )

            [relation] => 
            [meta_table] => 
            [meta_id_column] => 
            [primary_table] => 
            [primary_id_column] => 
            [table_aliases:protected] => Array
                (
                )

            [clauses:protected] => Array
                (
                )

            [has_or_relation:protected] => 
        )

    [date_query] => 
    [queried_object] => WP_Term Object
        (
            [term_id] => 28
            [name] => Transport
            [slug] => transport
            [term_group] => 0
            [term_taxonomy_id] => 28
            [taxonomy] => category
            [description] => 
            [parent] => 0
            [count] => 336
            [filter] => raw
            [cat_ID] => 28
            [category_count] => 336
            [category_description] => 
            [cat_name] => Transport
            [category_nicename] => transport
            [category_parent] => 0
        )

    [queried_object_id] => 28
    [request] => SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS  wp_posts.ID FROM wp_posts  LEFT JOIN wp_term_relationships ON (wp_posts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) WHERE 1=1  AND ( 
  wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id IN (28) 
  AND 
  wp_posts.ID NOT IN (
				SELECT object_id
				FROM wp_term_relationships
				WHERE term_taxonomy_id IN (22364)
			)
) AND wp_posts.post_type = 'post' AND (wp_posts.post_status = 'publish') GROUP BY wp_posts.ID ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 0, 14
    [posts] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 28579
                    [post_author] => 673
                    [post_date] => 2017-11-20 15:16:02
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-20 04:16:02
                    [post_content] => 

The NSW Government will introduce free vehicle registration for the owners of private vehicles who spend more than $1300 a year on Sydney toll roads. Sydney’s growing motorway system is heavily tolled, with the revenue going to private operators to offset the price they have paid to buy and operate the infrastructure. There has been growing controversy over the extent of the tolls and the total costs for regular users. There is already a Cashback system for heavy users of the M5 motorway in Sydney’s southwest, introduced by then then Labor Government in 1995 after it broke an election promise to abolish tolls completely. That scheme, which costs around $90 million a year, will remain in existence. It is estimated the new scheme will cost a similar amount. The new scheme will come into effect on 1 July 2018, but the measure of toll costs spent will be backdated to 1 July 2017 to determine eligibility. Government registration fees will be waived for vehicles weighing less than 2795kg, and which have incurred an average of $25 a week over the previous 12 month period. “The majority of eligible motorists will save $358 a year on registration costs, with potential savings of up to $715 a year,” said NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. “The Government’s strong budget position allows us to give back to toll users. “The NSW Government has made it a priority to drive down the cost of owning a vehicle with big savings being delivered through reforms to CTP Green Slips and the introduction of a FuelCheck app.” Registration costs in NSW are based on vehicle weight. Motorcycle registration is $127 a year, and small cars below 975 kg are $272 a year. Vehicles in the highest eligible weight category (2505-2794 kg) will save $715 a year. That means a driver spending $30 a week on tolls and driving a 2000 kg car will have their toll bill reduced by about one third. The scheme will apply to private drivers who use any existing toll roads and will apply to new toll roads in the future – of which there will be many. The expensive and controversial WestConnex tunnel system is currently under construction, with an extension to the airport and another Harbour Tunnel to the Northern Beaches planned. The Government is also considering an extension to the F6, which runs south to Wollongong. To help fund its expansion plans, the Government recently reintroduced tolls on the M4 in Sydney’s west, which were abolished in 2010. [post_title] => Free rego in NSW for heavy toll users [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => free-rego-nsw-heavy-toll-users [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-21 06:12:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-20 19:12:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28579 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28576 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-20 13:16:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-20 02:16:19 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28577" align="alignnone" width="295"] Trouble in paradise[/caption] Norfolk Island is ‘on the brink of disaster’, says an independent report on the island’s economic situation. The report was commissioned by the island’s small community following the Australian Government’s abolition of self-government in July 2016 and the imposition of direct rule. Norfolk Island’s 1700 residents are now subject to the same laws – and taxation – as the rest of Australia, and is expected to pay its own way. The report, written by economist and scientist Dr Chris Nobbs says that the changes mean “spiralling costs and inappropriate regulation.” It is titled ‘On the Brink of Disaster: The Impact of the Australian Government Reforms on Norfolk Island Businesses’. Dr Nobbs says Norfolk Island is in crisis as the direct result of flaws in the intervention by the Australian Government in Norfolk Island's governance and economy. The report outlines the impact of substantial cost increases facing businesses, including “double-digit price rises for incoming freight, a 15 percent rise in telecommunications costs, a 12.7 percent rise in regional council fees, along with regulatory changes that will see wage costs jump more than 35 percent next year.” The report projects that Norfolk Island will suffer significant price rises, a steep downturn in tourism, a slump in business activity, a rise in unemployment, and widespread community distress. “By requiring both that Norfolk Island pay its own way and that Norfolk Islanders become like mainland Australians in terms of their obligations and expectations, the Australian Government is crushing the island's economy in a vice from which few groups will escape unscathed,” says Dr Nobbs. Critical factors the report singles out as responsible for the economic crisis include:
  • the widespread imposition of Commonwealth and NSW laws and regulatory regimes.
  • the planned introduction of Australia's industrial awards.
  • the failure of the Australian Government to take up the responsibilities previously held by the Norfolk Island Government, such as for the promotion of tourism.
  • the loss of direct passenger airline services between New Zealand and Norfolk Island.
  • restrictions placed on primary producers and agriculture
  • the removal of the general revenue raising powers of the Norfolk Island Government.
The makes a number of recommendations to the Australian Government, including the halting of further impositions on the island. It says the Productivity Commission should carry out research and conduct a public inquiry to determine the real financial capacity of Norfolk Island and how it can survive economically, socially and culturally at reasonable cost. Norfolk Island has a population of only 1750 and an area of 34.6 sq km, and a very chequered history of governance. It was part of the colony of NSW from its founding as a penal settlement in 1788, and was transferred to Van Diemen’s Land in 1844. Van Diemen’s Land was renamed Tasmania in 1856, and in the same year Norfolk Island became a distinct British territory with its own Governor. 1897 that office was abolished and administration returned to NSW, though the island remained a separate entity. It became a Territory of Australia in 1913, under an Administrator. Then, in 1979 Norfolk Island was granted limited self government, with a small Legislative Assembly running most internal affairs. Financial problems led to the islanders asking for special assistance from the Australian Government in 2010, which led to the recent changes. More than two thirds of the island’s voters rejected direct rule from Canberra at a referendum, but to no avail. Elections were held for a new Regional Council, a standard Australian Local Government Area, and Norfolk Island became an integral part of Australia on 1 July 2017. Islanders can now voe in Australian elections, where they are deemed to be part of the electorate of Canberra. But the natives are increasingly restless. “The Australian Government has given insufficient thought to the genuine requirements of a very small and marine-isolated economy such as Norfolk Island has. The ‘development’ model currently in place for Norfolk Island is grossly inappropriate. Dr Nobbs’ 34 page report is available here. [post_title] => Federal takeover a ‘disaster’ for Norfolk Island [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => federal-takeover-disaster-norfolk-island [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-21 06:04:27 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-20 19:04:27 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28576 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28544 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-14 12:42:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-14 01:42:41 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28545" align="alignnone" width="220"] Darwin to get 'switched on'[/caption] The Australian Government has made its first grants under its Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. The grants are to Darwin to ‘switch on’ the city, and to a number of smaller projects in Perth. The program, announced in March 2017 has earmarked $50 million for projects across Australia, with 40 percent of the total to be located in regional areas. Darwin is the big winner from the first round of grants, with $5 million awarded to the City of Darwin and the Northern Territory Government, who will each contribute $2.5 million to the $10 million project. The money will pay for the installation of CCTV cameras at entrances to the city and on Daly Street and Bennett Street in the CBD. Street lighting will be upgraded to LED lighting and on ‘smart’ columns with the capacity to adjust lighting to reduce street crime. In Bicentennial Park along the Darwin foreshore, smart lighting will include sound monitoring to detect people in distress and potentially notify policy and emergency services. No mention was made in the announcement of the fact that the ‘street crime’ and ‘people in distress’ are mostly homeless or indigenous people. The NT Government has recently announced a program to address ‘anti-social itinerant behaviour’ on Darwin’s streets. Homeless (‘itinerant’) Aborigines (‘indigenous people') hanging around the streets, often drunk and engaging in petty street crime, is a major problem in Darwin. In September a video of a shop owner using a hose to move one in the centre of town caused a minor storm. Darwin’s free city Wi-fi network will also be expanded in key tourist and shopping areas. Smart parking sensors will indicate available parking, intended to reduce congestion and emissions. Perth has also been awarded $6 million in technology grants under the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. It supplements $9 million from the LGAs in which the projects are located, bringing the total value of the announcements to $15 million:
  • City of Fremantle: renewable energy generation and storage, rainwater storage and distribution, and an electric vehicle shared ownership trial ($8.26 million).
  • City of Perth: communications precinct around the new Perth Stadium (to be called Optus Stadium after a recent ten year $50 million naming rights deal) and an irrigation trial in public parks ($2.63 million).
  • City of Joondalup: monitoring system to better manage the Yellagonga Wetlands ($2.05 million).
  • University of Western Australia and the City of Wanneroo: real-time rail patronage data to improve development of rail station precincts along the Metronet extension ($1 million).
  • City of Gosnells: real-time data on thermal performance of newly built homes, to encourage the uptake of energy efficiency measures for new housing developments ($265,000).
  • RAC WA with the City of South Perth: trial of driverless electric shuttles to reduce congestion ($980,000).
There will be 52 projects around Australia in the $28.5 million allocated under the first round of the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, with other projects to be announced soon. The second round of funding will open in the first half of 2018. The Australian Smart Communities Association (ASCA) welcomed the announcements and said they “indicate a growing realisation in government circles that smart technologies will positively transform our communities. “We look forward to working with the Federal Government to ensure that Australia is a global leader in the deployment of smart technologies,” said newly appointed ASCA CEO Laurie Patton. “While there's already a good deal of energy at local government level we'll need Canberra and the states and territories on board if we are to become world class, so we applaud the Federal Government on this project. “ASCA is committed to fostering informed debate and greater collaboration across all sectors involved in this exciting area of social policy.” Originally established as the Broadband Alliance, ASCA started as a collaborative coalition of local government, Regional Development Associations and Regional Organisations of Councils. It describes itself as the ‘peak industry association in Australia supporting the rapidly developing digital, sharing and interconnected communities’.   [post_title] => First Smart Cities funding announced [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => first-smart-cities-funding-announced [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-21 03:52:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-20 16:52:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28544 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28485 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-08 11:27:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-08 00:27:20 [post_content] =>

NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance, is a bit of a conference junky. His latest outing was at Salesforce.com’s annual ‘Dreamforce’ conference in San Francisco, where he had some interesting things to say about the future of transport in his home state. “Government gets Ubered all the time,” he said in his presentation. “Uber operated in NSW for two years in breach of our passenger transport app, so we reformed the entire point-to point-transport market – hire cars, buses, taxis, community transport, ride sharing. “We have now laid a regulatory framework that will allow mobility-as-a-service into the future. Even the taxi industry is becoming innovative. By stripping out red tape, changing compliance, and using technology, we can make this change.” The Dreamforce conference is the annual event for customers and partners of Salesforce.com, which has become the world’s largest cloud-based applications software company. The NSW Government is a major Salesforce.com user. Mr Constance also spoke at the Salesforce World Tour event in Sydney in March. He said Transport for NSW is using the software to help revolutionise the transport system in NSW. “We’re only just getting started. The reality is that transport is a technology business. The introduction of the Opal travel card gave us all sorts of rich data. Many in the transport department didn’t even know what questions to ask when we started to get this done. “Customers want a number of things – they want a personalised service, they want on-demand services. They don’t want timetables.” He said he wants to make Transport for NSW the number one jurisdiction in the world for technology and transport. “With the advent of mobility-as-a-service and the advent of autonomous vehicles, we have to make sure we are well advanced “When we established our technology roadmap, we asked everybody in the department to contribute. It didn’t matter if it was a train guard, a bus driver, an executive within the agency. Everyone could input. To have cultural shift within the agency, everyone has got to shift with you. “One of our key challenges is that our industry is full of engineers, not futurists. We’ve got to try and push that. Autonomous vehicles are going to change everything. We won’t have driver’s licences, we won’t have accidents. We are going to see an enormous change, and we have to make sure government is not behind. “We’ve got a skills deficiency in transport, so we are relying on partnerships. It’s really important to engage with frontline staff on what technology can do for their lives.” [post_title] => ‘Government gets Ubered all the time’ [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => government-gets-ubered-time [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-10 03:55:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-09 16:55:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28485 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28459 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-06 09:17:01 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-05 22:17:01 [post_content] =>

Australia is a laggard compared to other countries when it comes to encouraging the use of electric vehicles (EVs). The ACT is the only jurisdiction in Australia which offers any sort of incentive to motorists to go electric. This is in stark contrast to most of the rest of the developed world. Most countries in Europe, and many states in the USA and provinces in Canada, offer tax breaks such as registration discounts, lower sales tax, and reduced tolls. There are also preferential parking schemes and other incentives. But not in Australia, one of the world’s highest per capita carbon emitters. White the recalcitrance on matters environmental is well known at the federal level, Australia’s states could also be doing a lot to encourage EV use. They are not. Last month two major reports on EV usage in Australia were published. Both are damning in their views on the situation in this country. ‘The Future is Electric’ was released by the NRMA, the country’s largest motoring organisation, and the Electric Vehicle Council. “The humble car is undergoing a major paradigm shift,” says the report. “Manufacturers and technology companies are rapidly moving the automotive industry towards an electric and automated future. As trends around the world point to increasing numbers of electric vehicles, jurisdictions have begun to put in place strategies to phase out petrol and diesel propulsion.” But not in Australia. The report outlines the widespread and growing use of EVs in many countries, and compares that to the miniscule takeup in Australia, where just 0.1 percent of cars sold last year were electric. It makes a number of recommendations on how to turn things around. It wants more charging stations. The NRMA has taken the initiative to build these itself, and recently announced a $10 million investment for 40 charging stations around NSW and the ACT, in range of 95 percent of its members. But its strongest recommendations have to do with more EV-friendly government policies. “The Australian Government should remove impediments to the purchasing of electric vehicles,” it says. “Australia has a low uptake of electric vehicles compared with our global counterparts. Less than one per cent of Australian vehicles currently possess electric drivetrain technology. The Australian Government should provide a short-term exemption to Fringe Benefits Tax and abolish the Luxury Car Tax for electric vehicles and associated infrastructure to encourage mass adoption.” The report also calls for governments to demonstrate leadership by buying EVs for their own fleets, which are substantial. It also wants more intergovernmental cooperation: “The transition to EVs will provide significant benefits across energy, transport, public health, infrastructure and industry development. The Australian Government should establish an intergovernmental working group, representing governments, industry and consumers, tasked with establishing a roadmap for the co-ordinated transition to electric road transport, including the deployment of associated infrastructure.” It points out Australia’s almost total reliance on imported vehicle fuel, linking EVs with energy security. Another major report, from The Australia Institute, makes many of the same points. “Governments around the world offer incentives to support electric vehicles. Australia does not,” says the report, which goes on to examine how Australia can boost electric vehicle sales “in four proven, low-cost ways.” The report, If you build it, they will charge, looks at policies Australian governments can implement to overcome barriers to EV usage. “If governments act now to support the development of the market, financial and environmental benefits will flow.” It proposes four incentives
  • A Luxury Car Tax exemption for electric vehicles, to better target the scheme’s two-tiered threshold structure towards environmental outcomes.
  • Charging station rebates, which would boost rollout of electric vehicle infrastructure and minimise duplication of sites and technological standards.
  • A scheme to reduce the upfront cost of electric vehicles without cost to the budget.
  • An offer to allow electric vehicles to utilise bus lanes in congested urban centres, supported by a rollout of EV-only license plates.
“Public interest in electric vehicles continues to rise and policies to support electric vehicles are popular. Polling for The Australia Institute shows that nearly two thirds of voters support incentives for electric vehicles.” But there are none.

Comment

The energy debate in Australia has been dominated by pricing and renewable targets. EVs have not received much attention. It is high time they did. The disparity between the inaction of Australia’s governments on EVs and the situation in many other countries is stark. Australia seems stuck in a time warp, unable to follow, let alone lead. There is no excuse. Encourage the use of EVs should be an integral part of Australia’s energy policy. Oh – hang on … we don’t have one. [post_title] => Australian governments slow on electric vehicles [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => australian-governments-slow-electric-vehicles [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-07 06:52:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-06 19:52:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28459 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28455 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-06 03:15:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-05 16:15:27 [post_content] =>

Victoria has rejected a recommendation to lower the driving age to 17. It will remain the only jurisdiction in Australia that does not allow unaccompanied driving until age 18. The decision was flagged earlier this year by Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donellan. It has now been formalised, as part of a package of tougher penalties and greater powers for Victoria Police, all in pursuit of Mr Donellan’s grand plan to cut the road toll in the state to zero. In Australia driver licencing is a state and territory responsibility. As in many other areas, this has led to a confusing mix of laws across the country. The age at which drivers can get their L plates  is 15 years and nine months in the ACT, and 16 years and all other jurisdictions, including Victoria. All states and territories except Victoria allow unaccompanied driving at 17, with a number of different probationary license rules after that age. Only Victoria makes learners learn for two years. The push to lower the driving age in Victoria initially came from James Purcell, the only parliamentary member of the Vote 1 Local Jobs microparty, which was formed in 2014. Mr Purcell was elected to the Western Victoria Region in the Victorian Legislative Council in the election of that year, receiving just 1.26% of the regional vote but winning office on preferences. He has long called for the driving age to be lowered so that younger workers in regional Victoria could more easily get to work. He was successful in having the matter referred to the state Parliament’s Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee, which in March of this year recommended a lowering of the driving age to 17, in line with the rest of Australia. The inquiry also recommended that if the license age was not lowered, the Government should consider allowing 17-year-olds facing ‘undue hardship’ to apply for P plates. This was rejected by the Government. Mr Donellan said that lowering the driving age would cause ten more deaths a year and Victorian roads, without offering any supporting evidence other than a vague reference to ‘road safety experts’. Mr Donnellan said drivers aged 18-25 were four times more likely to die or be seriously injured on the road. "The State Government has a 'towards zero' road safety policy. We're very serious about that. We do not expect anybody in the future to die on our roads and that is very much what we're working towards." The other measures introduced last week include the mandatory loss of licence for all drink driving offences, and increased powers for police to impound vehicles.

Comment

A zero road toll is a commendable aim. But it is also absurd that Australia’s state and territories have different driving ages. The Victorian Government has missed an opportunity to correct the anomaly. The only way Victoria, or any place, could eliminate road deaths would be to ban motor vehicles altogether. That obviously will not happen, so it becomes a matter of degree. Victoria is erring too far on the side of caution. [post_title] => Victoria remains odd one out on licencing [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => victoria-remains-odd-one-licencing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-07 06:54:48 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-06 19:54:48 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28455 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28410 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-01 16:42:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-01 05:42:27 [post_content] => On 1 November new regulations came into force in NSW for taxis, hire cars and rideshare services such as Uber. The reforms are the result of a consultation process the State Government began in 2015 with the appointment of a Point to Point Transport Taskforce, which took over 200 submissions and reported to the Government in 2016. The review was headed by Professor Gary Sturgess, formerly a senior state public servant and Liberal Party policy advisor. That led to the Point to Point Transport (Taxis and Hire Vehicles) Act 2016, which embodied a number of changes recommended by Professor Sturgess’ inquiry. The main aspects of the new regulations are:
  • The creation of the office of Point to Point Transport Commissioner. The first Commissioner is Barbara Wise, a transport bureaucrat who worked on the Taskforce.
  • Confirmation of the legality of Uber and other conforming rideshare services.
  • Rideshare cars will have a to display a sign showing their business.
  • The freedom for taxis to set their own fares, rather than the metered fare.
  • A moratorium for three years on the issuing of new taxi plates, except for disabled taxis.
  • The abolition of the $4 return tolls for taxis crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge northbound.
“A new era for the transport industry has begun,” said Ms Wise. “Sydney taxi customers in particular will notice some changes for the better.” Some of the changes are substantial. The most significant is that consumers will now be able to shop around for the best price when they want to book a taxi. Many of the changes are intended to remove regulatory differences between taxis and rideshare services. “Taxi booking companies will be able to set their own prices and potentially offer ‘frequent rider’ discounts, price matching or similar schemes,” said Ms Wise. “Consumers booking taxis and hire vehicles, including traditional hire cars and rideshare, will also get an estimate of the price before their trip begins. This could be a fixed amount, a rate per hour or per kilometre. Importantly, they will also have to accept the estimate before the trip starts. “Prescriptive and costly rules have been removed, and point to point transport businesses have the level playing field they have been asking for. It is now up to them to seize the opportunity to innovate to provide better services for their customers,” she said. Mandated maximum fares for ride sharing will still apply – though customers will now have more bargaining power. When the law was change the Government also provided a $250 million industry assistance package to help taxi and hire care licence owners adjust to the changes. More than $92 million has already been provided, mostly as compensation to plate owners, who have seen the value of their assets slashed. The industry assistance package will be paid for by a $1 levy of all point to point travel, which will start in February 2018 and which the Government says it expects to stay in place for five years. “While the new laws reduce red tape, safety standards have been strengthened,” said Ms Wise. “As Commissioner I have significant powers to hold the industry to account for safety. “For the first time the buck will stop with the company making profit from the services – not just the driver,” she said. The new laws are backed by an industry and customer education campaign about the changes. [post_title] => NSW taxi reforms now in effect [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-taxi-reforms-now-effect [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-03 07:53:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-02 20:53:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28410 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28392 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-30 14:08:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-30 03:08:10 [post_content] => Australia’s major cities fare badly in a recently released global ranking of mobility – how well they allow their citizens to move around. The ranking of 100 global cities, the ‘Sustainable Cities Mobility Index 2017: Bold Moves’, was published by Arcadis, a major Dutch engineering and management consultancy. Each city is rated on three factors: People (how the system affects those using it), Planet (environmental measures), and Profit (economic aspects, including commute times). Overall, Brisbane is the most highly rated Australian city, in 48th position globally. Sydney is 51st, Canberra 53rd, Melbourne 55th, and Perth a lowly 87th (Adelaide was not rated). First on the list was Hong Kong, followed by Zurich, Paris, Seoul and Prague. All Australian cities rated worse than what we might regard as less developed cities, such as Chennai, Macau and Sao Paulo. It is not a function of population. Megacities like Paris (3rd) and Tokyo (13th) rated well, as did much smaller cities such as Prague, Lyon and Dublin. Australia did about as well as many US cities, with Middle Eastern cities at the bottom of the list (the last for places were Jeddah, Amman, Riyadh and Kuwait City). “Most Australian cities sit in around the middle of the overall Index,” says the report. “A lack of comprehensive underground metro systems and dependence on private vehicles deters mobility in Australian cities, and all have less travel made by foot, bike and public transport than their peer cities. “Greater utilisation of urban public transport would improve mobility in cities like Perth and Canberra. Promisingly, underground train networks are being expanded in Sydney and Melbourne, and under consideration in Brisbane.” Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane all have short analyses in the report:

Sydney

While Sydney is well on its way to global city status, its middle-of-the-road ranking in this Index reflects historic under-investment in mass transit, compounded by increasingly rapid population growth – the city’s population topped five million for the first time in early 2017. Some of Sydney’s lacklustre performance can be attributed to the high concentration of professionals traveling into the CBD, which is on the city’s eastern coastal edge and a significant distance from Sydney’s geographical centre. While initiatives from the Greater Sydney Commission and State Department of Infrastructure are driving the development of multiple business hubs, it will be some time before the benefits of these schemes are realised. Further impacting Sydney’s mobility performance are a cultural preference for single-family dwellings and a legacy of urban sprawl, coupled with Sydney’s ranking as the second least affordable city for housing globally. These factors result in a high proportion of residents undertaking long daily commutes, thereby putting further pressure on congested suburban road and rail networks.

Melbourne

Melbourne has a reputation as a thriving city with strong business, cultural and sporting sectors. Melbourne has become known as the world’s most liveable city, yet it ranks 55th in the Index. One of the largest factors affecting Melbourne’s mobility is its rapid recent growth. It is projected that Melbourne’s population will double to around eight million in the next generation, overtaking Sydney as Australia’s largest city. Expanding fast and with high house prices in the city centre – Melbourne has the fifth least affordable housing market in the world – the city is increasingly reliant on long-range transport options. Melbourne boasts the world’s largest tram and light rail network and has recently begun the development of a cross-city Metro. This will help to free up the train network and enable more commuters to use public transport. Melbourne performed relatively well in the People sub-indicator compared with Australian cities (second to Sydney). This is despite the fact that the city does not yet have a functioning Metro network; a situation that will improve upon its completion. Melbourne already has a digital ticketing system and public transport mobile applications. Further digitisation will ensure continued improvements to the mobility of the city.

Brisbane

Brisbane ranks highest out of all the Australian cities in the Index. As the capital of Queensland, Brisbane is Australia’s third-largest city and has the most rapid population growth rate of any capital city in Australia. Established as a port within the Brisbane River, the city offers a laid-back urban lifestyle which is subtropical, creative and sustainable. Benefitting from a diverse trade industry based on aviation, sea ports and expanding industries, Brisbane also profits from its position as the gateway to Queensland’s education and tourism industry and is a huge pull for the world’s creative and knowledge economies. Its residents and visitors enjoy an exceptional quality of life amidst the natural beauty of Australia’s eastern coast. However, despite ranking top in Australia, Brisbane still has work to do to strengthen its infrastructure and to remain attractive, liveable, and mobile. Chronic underinvestment in public transport has seen the city, alongside its southern counterparts, suffer on the global mobility stage. The mobility sub-indices show that, not only does Brisbane need to find better ways to fund public transport, it must also ensure any existing and new public transport developments are affordable and sustainable. The report is available here.   [post_title] => Australian cities rank poorly in mobility [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => australian-cities-rank-poorly-mobility [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-31 10:06:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-30 23:06:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28392 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28363 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-26 10:27:01 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-25 23:27:01 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28364" align="alignnone" width="300"] Fishermans Bend - ripe for renewal[/caption] Two separate announcements this week have shown a glimpse of Melbourne’s future. The city is evolving rapidly and will soon regain its former position as Australia’s largest city. In the 19th century, fuelled by money from the gold rushes, the city was called ‘Marvellous Melbourne’. In just 40 years it grew from a village on the Yarra to become the second largest city in the British Empire. Many public buildings built during this period have made it a global exemplar of Victorian era architecture. When Australia became a nation in 1901 it chose Melbourne as its capital (Canberra wasn’t ready until 1927).  It was regarded as Australia’s financial centre, but Sydney soon surpassed it in population and – according to some – prestige. Now, a century later, it is set to surpass Sydney and once become the largest city in Australia. Indeed, by some counts it is already there. The ABS includes the NSW Central Coast in the Sydney metropolitan area, and projects that Melbourne will surpass Sydney - including Central Coast - in population by 2030. Both cities suffer from urban sprawl, and both are attempting to revitalise inner suburbs to provide high density housing. The plans to do so are fast taking shape. Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne has announced the rezoning of the Macaulay industrial area between the Melbourne CBD and Flemington to high density residential. He outlined changes to the Melbourne planning scheme that will allow 9 to 12 story apartment blocks on the site, which covers a dozen city blocks around the existing Macaulay railway station. The area will also be serviced from 2025 by the new Arden Metro station. The Victorian government has also released a ‘Framework’ for the redevelopment of Fishermans Bend, the large industrial area that lies at the mouth of the Yarra north of Port Melbourne, in the shadow of the Westgate Bridge. It will be the biggest redevelopment in Melbourne’s history, dwarfing the Docklands reconstruction. “Fishermans Bend is an unparalleled opportunity for urban renewal on the doorstep of Melbourne’s famously liveable and economically productive central city,” says the document. “At 480 hectares and more than twice the size of the current CBD, Fishermans Bend is Australia's largest urban renewal site, and will play a key role in the further evolution of central Melbourne as a world leading place to live, work, visit and invest.” The Framework is not a detailed plan, but rather outlines how the area should be developed out to 2050, by which time it is planned to have 80,000 residents and 80,000 jobs. The area is broken into five precincts will be redeveloped sequentially. The Framework is a discussion document, and the Government has invited comment on how planning should proceed. Submissions close on 15 December It is available here. [post_title] => Major Melbourne makeover – new suburbs planned [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => major-melbourne-makeover-new-suburbs-planned [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-27 09:21:29 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-26 22:21:29 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28363 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28345 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-23 11:17:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-23 00:17:46 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28346" align="alignnone" width="233"] Sydney's three hubs (Greater Sydney Commission)[/caption] As the population of Australia’s two largest cities push towards the 5 million mark, increasing attention is being paid to urban sprawl and the need for people to live closer to where they work. Many people in Australia say that Australia’s two megacities are getting too big, but they are minnows on the world scale. Sydney is the only the 84th largest city on earth, and Melbourne is 89th. There are more than 20 cities in China alone larger than either of them. But, thanks to Australian’s love of the quarter acre block, both Sydney and Melboourne are physically large, which means comparatively low population density. That in turn means comparatively poor transportation links and long travel times. Long commutes are exacerbated by the fact that both cities are centred on their CBDs. Many people travel to the city centre, which in neither city is at the centre of the larger metropolitan area, to work. There has long been talk of decentralisation within the metropolitan areas, but it has been a slow process. Still, attempts are being made. The Prime Minister’s wife, Lucy Turnbull, is a former Lord Mayor of Sydney and now heads the Greater Sydney Commission. On 21 October she handed the NSW State Government a draft for the Commission’s vision of a ‘a metropolis of three cities’. They are the ‘Easter Harbour City’, centred on the existing CBD, the ‘Central River City’, centred on Parramatta, and the ‘Western Parkland City’, which is a ‘cluster’ centred around the Badgerys Creek Airport, Penrith and Campbelltown. The Badgerys Creek Western Sydney Airport, due to open in 2026, is even referred to as an ‘aeropolis’.  In Melbourne, consultancy PwC has outline a similar vision for ’30 minute Melbourne’, which refers to the maximum time it should take to commute to work. It talks of a ‘polycentric’ vision for Melbourne, without saying where the new centres should be – though it does mention locations such as Fishermen’s Bend and Monash as candidates. Both documents call for a refocussing of transport links away from the existing radial model, where all roads lead to the CBD, towards a grid model that connects suburbs to each other. Both Sydney and Melbourne have long suffered from a lack of coherent planning or a long-term vision. Transport infrastructure projects in particular are implemented in a notoriously ad hoc fashion. These reports show that are some people able to take the longer view. Maybe – one day – politicians will listen to them. The Greater Sydney Commission ‘A metropolis of three cities’ report is available here. The PwC ’30-minute Melbourne’ report is available here. [post_title] => Sydney and Melbourne should be ‘polycentric cities’ [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => sydney-melbourne-polycentric-cities [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-24 05:48:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-23 18:48:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28345 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28280 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-16 09:51:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-15 22:51:41 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28281" align="alignnone" width="267"] Professor Billie Giles-Corti. RMIT University[/caption] Australia’s big cities often rate well on international ‘liveability’ indexes. But all is not as it seems. Life for many residents in Australia’s cities isn’t nearly as good as we would like to believe, a new report from RMIT University has found. The new ‘Creating Liveable Cities in Australia’ study is the culmination of five years of research, intended to create a baseline measure of liveability in Australia’s state and territory capitals. The report examines seven aspects of a city’s liveability: walkability, public transport, public open spaces, housing affordability, employment and the food and alcohol environments. “No Australian capital city performs well across all the liveability indicators,” says Professor Billie Giles-Corti, who led the research and is Director of RMIT’s Urban Futures Enabling Capability Platform. “Many also failing to meet policy targets aimed at ensuring liveability. “There is widespread evidence of geographical inequities in the delivery of liveability policies within and between cities, with outer suburban areas less well served than inner-city suburbs. Measurable policies and targets to deliver liveable communities are often not in place, and often those that are in place are not strong enough. “Many policies aren’t making best use of the available evidence. There are no spatial measurable policy standards or targets in any capital city for local employment, housing affordability, promoting access to healthy food choices, or limiting access to alcohol outlets.” Professor Giles-Corti said the report is the first of its kind, and shows that better policies are urgently needed to maintain and enhance liveability and ensure the wellbeing of residents, particularly as Australia faces a doubling of its population by 2050. “One significant way to create liveable cities and to improve people’s health and wellbeing is through urban design and planning that create walkable, pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods,” she said. “But Australian cities are still being designed for cars. “Our study shows that only a minority of residents in Australian cities live in walkable communities, and most of our city’s density targets for new areas are still too low. This means walkable communities will never be achieved in outer suburbs. “Higher residential densities and street connectivity, mixed land-uses, and high-quality footpaths are all desperately needed to achieve walkable cities. But we don’t have the policy frameworks in place in Australia to create vibrant walkable communities,” she said. Public transport also rates poorly. “While many residents might live nearby a public transport stop, most dwellings in state capitals lack close access to stops serviced at least twice an hour. This creates a risk of increasing inequity in our cities, with some residents doubly disadvantaged. “Given that outer suburbs have poorer access to public transport, household expenditure on cars is likely to be higher there than in other areas, meaning these residents are losing out twice over.” Professor Giles-Corti said the report is a useful diagnostic tool for understanding the current state of liveability in Australian cities, and that could it should be repeated regularly. “What’s even more important is what governments should do about it,” she said. :We’ve made seven recommendations in the report which we’ll be pushing to see adopted at local, state and federal level.” The report was produced by RMIT University in collaboration with researchers from the Australian Catholic University and the University of Western Australia. The research team received funding from the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program, the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre, and the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Centre of Research Excellence in Healthy Liveable Communities. The report is available here. [post_title] => Australia’s cities not so ‘liveable’ after all [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => australias-cities-not-liveable [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-16 13:02:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-16 02:02:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28280 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28243 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-11 15:30:23 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-11 04:30:23 [post_content] => A leaked report to the NSW Government has recommended that cruise ships be permitted to use the Royal Australian Navy dockyard at Garden Island. At present cruise ships use the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay and a secondary terminal at White Bay, 3km west of the CBD. But to use White Bay they must go under the Harbour Bridge, which is impossible for the new breed of larger cruise liners. The number of cruise ships coming to Sydney at more than doubled in the last five years, and already some operators are saying that they are avoiding Sydney because of congestion. In July the State government commissioned a report on the matter, asking for recommendations on how to handle the increasing demand. Heading the inquiry was Peter Collins, who was state Liberal leader and Leader of the Opposition from 1995 to 1998. His former seat of Willoughby is now held by Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Collins was also a longtime office in the RAN Reserve, reaching the rank of Captain. He handed his report to the Government on 6 October. Its contents have not been made public, but in an increasingly common practice, it seems to have been deliberately leaked the Murdoch press. Sydney’s Daily Telegraph has run a splash on it. It says the Collins report recommends the use of Garden Island, a massive facility in the middle of the city, close to Kings Cross and on the eastern side of Woolloomooloo Bay. As a military base, Garden Island certainly has the capacity, but agreement would have to be reached with the Navy and the Federal Government to allow its use for commercial purposes. Immigration and other facilities would also have to be built. The other option considered and rejected by Collins was to move some cruise ships to Botany Bay, which is where most of Sydney’s commercial port activity now takes place. But Port Botany or another facility on Botany Bay would also need new facilities, and it is an unattractive industrial precinct 10 km from the CBD. The recommendation is likely to reignite debate about the future of Garden Island. It is a prime waterfront location in the middle of Sydney, and ripe for redevelopment. But it is also Australia’s largest naval base, and moving it is not a trivial exercise. During the 2013 election campaign, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd suggested moving the Navy out of Sydney Harbour, an idea that was ridiculed at the time.  But there is no logical reason for the Navy to be located there. There have been many suggestions over the years that it be moved to Jervis Bay 150 km south of Sydney, where the Navy already has a presence, or to the north of Australia, possibly Darwin, which is much closer to the areas where the Navy mostly operates. This is likely to happen eventually. Garden Island is an incredibly valuable and very high profile location. It would make for a massive urban renewal project. The Daily Telegraph also ran a piece on what a potential redevelopment would look like, with cruise ship facilities, parks and gardens, and apartments. It would be much bigger and more visible than Barangaroo. Industry body Tourism and Transport Forum Australia (TTF) has called on the NSW Government to adopt Collins’ recommendation for the cruise-ship industry to be allowed permanent access to Garden Island. TTF Chief Executive Margy Osmond said Australia’s cruise industry is now worth $5 billion annually and needed better facilities. “The cruise industry reference group and its head Peter Collins must be congratulated on coming up with a common sense solution to address Sydney’s looming cruise crisis,” she said. “Cruise shipping is the most dynamic and fastest growing sector of the Australian visitor economy, and has rapidly become one of the great success stories for Australian tourism. “But with port facilities at Circular Quay at full capacity, and an increasing number of ships too large to pass beneath Sydney Harbour Bridge to access the White Bay terminal, the only deep-water option in the city which is able to accommodate growth is Garden Island. “Port Botany is not the answer. The big drawcard is Sydney Harbour. It is not just international tourists that crave the 'big picture' moment of sailing through the heads - this is also about Aussie tourists who want to feel that sense of excitement and pride that comes from sailing in and out of their Harbour City. “I commend the NSW Government and the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey for initiating this review, and I urge them to adopt the recommendations of this report and allow cruise ships to access the infrastructure at Garden Island.” [post_title] => Park cruise ships at Garden Island, Government told [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => park-cruise-ships-garden-island-government-told [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-13 08:45:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-12 21:45:07 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28243 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28218 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-09 07:05:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-08 20:05:34 [post_content] => The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) has published a report on ‘Measuring infrastructure asset performance and customer satisfaction: A review of existing frameworks’. “Well-managed, modern and functioning infrastructure underpins much of Australia’s economic prosperity, “ said BITRE’s head Dr Gary Dolman, releasing the report. “Services provided by roads, rail, ports, telecommunications networks and energy infrastructure are essential inputs into the activities of most Australian businesses. Infrastructure performance therefore has implications beyond the infrastructure sector. “Yet current infrastructure performance measures often reflect the priorities of infrastructure owners and/ or operators rather than those of customers, and therefore may overlook the changing needs of customers.” The report was prepared with from the Better Infrastructure Initiative (BII) at the John Grill Centre for Project Leadership at the University of Sydney, which has been undertaking research into how to manage Australia’s infrastructure assets for long-term efficiency gains. It provides a review of existing infrastructure performance measures and performance measurement frameworks in Australia and elsewhere, and how customer preferences might be better incorporated to improve the long-term efficiency of operation of Australia’s infrastructure assets. “While some infrastructure asset types, namely public roads and airports, have made significant progress in performance measurement, for others there is a dearth of information or public engagement,” said Dr Dolman. “The patchwork approach that has resulted means that Australia may be missing out on the potential benefits of consistent and widespread performance measurement: improved accountability, incentivised performance, and better performance evaluation. “This report introduces and explores many of the issues surrounding infrastructure performance measurement that should be considered in the context of providing greater consistency across infrastructure asset types.” The report is available (PDF) here. Originally established as the Bureau of Transport Economics in 1970, BITRE) provides economic analysis, research and statistics on infrastructure, transport and regional development issues to inform Australian Government policy development and wider community understanding. It is contained within the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. It employs 30 staff, mostly economists, statisticians, modellers, social researchers and policy analysts. [post_title] => How to measure infrastructure [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => how-to-measure-infrastructure [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-10 15:13:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-10 04:13:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28218 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28215 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-09 06:13:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-08 19:13:28 [post_content] => The Federal Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), announced with great fanfare 18 months ago, has yet to invest in single project. “This facility will provide financing to build the transport, energy, water and communications infrastructure needed in our north,” said Josh Frydenberg, the Minister for Industry Innovation and Science, when he announced the fund in May 2016. “This will create jobs, enhance investment, and unlock the full potential of this vibrant region to grow the northern Australian economy.” Fine words, but there appears to be little urgency to putting them into action. The NAIF came into existence on 1 July 2016. Costs so far include over $1 million for wages, $630,000 for directors’ fees, $100,000 for travel, and $13,000 for functions. CEO Laurie Walker, a banker and lawyer who has worked at a senior level for both ANZ and CBA, receives a $410,000 salary. The agency’s website shows that she has given many presentations at conferences, but she has yet to sign off on a single investment, after more than a year on the job. So far there is nothing to show for the agency’s establishment, and the natives are getting restless. Two weeks ago the Government said the first project would be announced that week, but still nothing has happened. It is widely believed that the first investment is intended to be a low interest $1 billion loan to Indian coal company Adani for a rail line to its controversial giant Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. But that announcement seems to be on hold as disquiet grows about the government’s energy policy and about Adani itself. On 2 October the ABCs Four Corners TV program exposed the Indian company’s sometimes dodgy business practices, and community resistance to the mine culminated in major demonstrations across Australia last weekend. Some have blamed NAIF’s inaction on political uncertainty. Resources Minister Matt Canavan had responsibility for the agency, but resigned from Cabinet after doubts were raised about his citizenship. Responsibility now lives with Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who is also under a cloud. Mr Joyce says this is not a problem, and that NAIF is a statutory body that can make its own investment decisions. But the fact that it has not yet made any, well over a year after it was formed, has called into question why it is needed at all. Even Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited, normally supportive of the government, is critical of the inaction. “$5 billion North Australia fund yet to approve a single project,” screamed a headline in the Courier-Mail last month. “Still waiting for NAIF,” said the Townsville Bulletin. Predictably, the Opposition is not happy. Bill Shorten told the NT News, another Murdoch outlet, in a prominently displayed article, that the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund was a “poster child for inaction. “Its dealings are opaque ... nothing has happened,” he was quoted as saying. “Some of its directors are faced with allegations of conflict of interest. It is like a high rollers club and you don’t get in without $100 million.” The same article gave examples of investors in the Kimberley region of Western Australia laying off staff because of NAIF’s inaction. NAIF has also been criticised for blocking freedom of information requests about information as basic as the dates and locations of its board meeting. It says it is keeping this information secret  because of concerns over protests and “media interest.” It is not a good look. Nor is it likely to get much better. If NAIF approves the Adani loan, it is likely to face a High Court challenge because of Adani’s past behaviour and the project’s proven environmental challenges. If it does not, its continued inability to make any investment decision at all will also cause it problems. NAIF, uncapitalised, is a word from the French which means an innocent person who doesn’t know what’s happening. It seems an appropriate acronym. [post_title] => $5 billion fund has done nothing [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 5-billion-fund-done-nothing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-10 11:10:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-10 00:10:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28215 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28579 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-11-20 15:16:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-20 04:16:02 [post_content] =>

The NSW Government will introduce free vehicle registration for the owners of private vehicles who spend more than $1300 a year on Sydney toll roads. Sydney’s growing motorway system is heavily tolled, with the revenue going to private operators to offset the price they have paid to buy and operate the infrastructure. There has been growing controversy over the extent of the tolls and the total costs for regular users. There is already a Cashback system for heavy users of the M5 motorway in Sydney’s southwest, introduced by then then Labor Government in 1995 after it broke an election promise to abolish tolls completely. That scheme, which costs around $90 million a year, will remain in existence. It is estimated the new scheme will cost a similar amount. The new scheme will come into effect on 1 July 2018, but the measure of toll costs spent will be backdated to 1 July 2017 to determine eligibility. Government registration fees will be waived for vehicles weighing less than 2795kg, and which have incurred an average of $25 a week over the previous 12 month period. “The majority of eligible motorists will save $358 a year on registration costs, with potential savings of up to $715 a year,” said NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. “The Government’s strong budget position allows us to give back to toll users. “The NSW Government has made it a priority to drive down the cost of owning a vehicle with big savings being delivered through reforms to CTP Green Slips and the introduction of a FuelCheck app.” Registration costs in NSW are based on vehicle weight. Motorcycle registration is $127 a year, and small cars below 975 kg are $272 a year. Vehicles in the highest eligible weight category (2505-2794 kg) will save $715 a year. That means a driver spending $30 a week on tolls and driving a 2000 kg car will have their toll bill reduced by about one third. The scheme will apply to private drivers who use any existing toll roads and will apply to new toll roads in the future – of which there will be many. The expensive and controversial WestConnex tunnel system is currently under construction, with an extension to the airport and another Harbour Tunnel to the Northern Beaches planned. The Government is also considering an extension to the F6, which runs south to Wollongong. To help fund its expansion plans, the Government recently reintroduced tolls on the M4 in Sydney’s west, which were abolished in 2010. [post_title] => Free rego in NSW for heavy toll users [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => free-rego-nsw-heavy-toll-users [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-21 06:12:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-20 19:12:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28579 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 336 [max_num_pages] => 24 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => 1 [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => b6c139f0d1fc92d0a9b6f85653e237b5 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )

Transport

WestConnex

Free rego in NSW for heavy toll users

The NSW Government will introduce free vehicle registration for the owners of private vehicles who spend more than $1300 a year on Sydney toll roads. Sydney’s growing motorway system is heavily tolled, with the revenue going to private operators to offset the price they have paid to buy and operate the infrastructure. There has been […]

Norfolk Island

Federal takeover a ‘disaster’ for Norfolk Island

Norfolk Island is ‘on the brink of disaster’, says an independent report on the island’s economic situation. The report was commissioned by the island’s small community following the Australian Government’s abolition of self-government in July 2016 and the imposition of direct rule. Norfolk Island’s 1700 residents are now subject to the same laws – and […]

Darwin

First Smart Cities funding announced

The Australian Government has made its first grants under its Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. The grants are to Darwin to ‘switch on’ the city, and to a number of smaller projects in Perth. The program, announced in March 2017 has earmarked $50 million for projects across Australia, with 40 percent of the total to […]

Person using the Uber app

‘Government gets Ubered all the time’

NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, Andrew Constance, is a bit of a conference junky. His latest outing was at Salesforce.com’s annual ‘Dreamforce’ conference in San Francisco, where he had some interesting things to say about the future of transport in his home state. “Government gets Ubered all the time,” he said in his presentation. […]

P Plate

Victoria remains odd one out on licencing

Victoria has rejected a recommendation to lower the driving age to 17. It will remain the only jurisdiction in Australia that does not allow unaccompanied driving until age 18. The decision was flagged earlier this year by Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donellan. It has now been formalised, as part of a package […]

taxis

NSW taxi reforms now in effect

On 1 November new regulations came into force in NSW for taxis, hire cars and rideshare services such as Uber. The reforms are the result of a consultation process the State Government began in 2015 with the appointment of a Point to Point Transport Taskforce, which took over 200 submissions and reported to the Government […]

mobility

Australian cities rank poorly in mobility

Australia’s major cities fare badly in a recently released global ranking of mobility – how well they allow their citizens to move around. The ranking of 100 global cities, the ‘Sustainable Cities Mobility Index 2017: Bold Moves’, was published by Arcadis, a major Dutch engineering and management consultancy. Each city is rated on three factors: […]

Giles-Corti

Australia’s cities not so ‘liveable’ after all

Australia’s big cities often rate well on international ‘liveability’ indexes. But all is not as it seems. Life for many residents in Australia’s cities isn’t nearly as good as we would like to believe, a new report from RMIT University has found. The new ‘Creating Liveable Cities in Australia’ study is the culmination of five […]

BITRE

How to measure infrastructure

The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) has published a report on ‘Measuring infrastructure asset performance and customer satisfaction: A review of existing frameworks’. “Well-managed, modern and functioning infrastructure underpins much of Australia’s economic prosperity, “ said BITRE’s head Dr Gary Dolman, releasing the report. “Services provided by roads, rail, ports, telecommunications networks […]

NAIF

$5 billion fund has done nothing

The Federal Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), announced with great fanfare 18 months ago, has yet to invest in single project. “This facility will provide financing to build the transport, energy, water and communications infrastructure needed in our north,” said Josh Frydenberg, the Minister for Industry Innovation and Science, when he announced the fund […]