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                    [post_date] => 2018-06-19 08:48:13
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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_30670" align="aligncenter" width="658"] Health, education and infrastructure are big ticket items in NSW's 2018 budget.[/caption]

Assertive outreach services and a new social impact investment are among the elements of a $1 billion homelessness package to be included in NSW’s budget today. 

Tailored support will be provided to rough sleepers, young people and victims of domestic violence under the package.

The program includes $20 million over four years to a social impact investment on homelessness to tap into the expertise of the private and not-for-profit sector.

It will provide for more assertive outreach services for rough sleepers, strengthened risk assessment to address individuals’ circumstances and enhanced support to maintain a tenancy.

Included in the program is $9.1 million for additional transitional accommodation, $6.9 million on co-located homeless and health services and $6.2 million to expand the Staying Home Leaving Violence program to five new sites.

The NSW Government’s budget will also contain $1 billion in new recurrent health funding to employ an extra 1370 workers, including 950 nurses and midwives, 300 doctors and 120 allied health professions.

The State Government says that brings the budget’s total health spend to $23 billion.

In education, the government will announce “the largest investment into schools by any state government in history” with funding of $6 billion over four years to deliver more than 170 new and upgraded schools. The budget contains funding for an extra 20 new and upgraded schools, the planning for which will begin this year.

Work will commence on 40 new and upgraded school projects this year.

In transport, the budget will outline a $1.5 billion investment in bus services throughout the state, which will see more than 2,000 extra bus services rolled out in the next 12 months.

The number of trains running in the morning and afternoon peaks on the T4 and T8 lines will be increased with an $880 million investment in technology to modernise the Sydney Trains network.

The key southern Sydney route Heathcote Road will get a $173 million package to improve safety and traffic flow, while $40 million will be spent sealing the last stretch of the Cobb and Silver City highways, meaning every major highway in the state will now be sealed.

In resources, the budget will also contain $23 million for the recently established Natural Resources Access Regulators to increase water compliance and enforcement.

The Australia Museum will undergo a $50 million refurbishment before it hosts Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, the largest Tutankhamun exhibition to ever leave Egypt, for a six-month run in early 2021.
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[post_title] => Boost for health workforce, homeless services in NSW budget [post_excerpt] => Assertive outreach services and a new social impact investment are among the elements of a $1 billion homelessness package to be included in NSW’s budget today. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => boost-for-health-workforce-homeless-services-in-nsw-budget [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-06-19 08:48:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-06-18 22:48:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=30804 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 30728 [post_author] => 675 [post_date] => 2018-06-15 11:17:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-06-15 01:17:30 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_30745" align="aligncenter" width="700"] There are better outcomes when councils run public transport, says Graham Currie.[/caption] One of Australia’s foremost public transport experts has called for greater local government involvement in Australia’s public transport system. Professor Graham Currie, the world’s first public transport professor and director of Monash University’s Public Transport Research Group says the most successful public transport systems, both nationally and around the world, are steered by local governments. Councils need to campaign for greater involvement in public transport based on their ratepayer’s needs if Australia is to drastically improve transport networks in line with international best practice, he argues.  “There is a particularly Australian flavour to the problems we have in this country,” Professor Currie told Government News. [caption id="attachment_30736" align="alignright" width="141"] Professor Graham Currie[/caption] “We have a very strong central government, our states have all revolved around big cities and as a result we’ve had less local government involvement in public transport provision. That’s quite unusual internationally - France, the United States even, have much more local government involvement,” he said. Professor Currie said that where local governments in Australia have had greater power, they have had markedly differently outcomes. He points to Brisbane, where one of the largest bus fleets in Australia is run by local government. “It’s one of best in the world and we have a local government running it,” said Professor Currie, who has published more papers in leading academic journals on public transport than any other researcher. “Whenever we have local government involvement in running, managing, funding we get better outcomes,” he said. The Gold Coast’s light rail and the Canberra and Darwin public transport systems are other examples where “local government involvement has been much more successful with public transport,” Professor Currie said. “Councils should be doing facilitation, which means campaigning and working with other local governments to bring about change. Councils can do things better by encouraging better design and running transport systems themselves,” he said.

Urban sprawl a key issue

Urban sprawl operates as the greatest impediment to an efficient public transport system in Australia’s capital cities, according to Professor Currie. European-style high density inner areas and urban sprawl on the fringe is the “new dynamic” in Australia, which is creating a need for better public transport services, he said.   Addressing urban sprawl through better planning controls could help to ameliorate the problem. “We could do it with planning by having constraints on boundaries of cities and encouraging high-density development,” he said.

Funding model flawed

Professor Currie argues that state governments need to review the current public transport funding models, saying a reliance on fuel taxes to fund road maintenance is problematic as the road system is increasingly electrified.    “There are international funding models around which will help solve the problem and many cities now are pricing use of transport in congested cities.” As Government News reported last week, the City of Melbourne is currently exploring long-term options to meet unprecedented demand for public transport.
Comment below to have your say on this story.
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[post_title] => Local government key to tackling public transport woes: expert [post_excerpt] => One of Australia’s foremost public transport experts has called for greater local government involvement in Australia’s public transport system. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => local-government-key-to-tackling-public-transport-woes-expert [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-06-19 08:54:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-06-18 22:54:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=30728 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 30600 [post_author] => 675 [post_date] => 2018-06-08 08:38:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-06-07 22:38:31 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_30601" align="aligncenter" width="665"] City of Melbourne is exploring long-term public transport options.[/caption] As Melbourne explores various options to meet unprecedented demand for public transport, leading experts point to road pricing and improved traffic signaling as key solutions. With a rapidly growing population, pressure on the Melbourne public transport network is expected to reach 200 per cent of current capacity by 2031. According to chair of the transport portfolio in Melbourne, Councilor Nicolas Gilley, the tram running through the center of the city is one of the busiest in the world. “At peak times at the moment the trams are at capacity. When you have trams on single lane traffic at peak hour sharing with cars, it’s not working well,” he said.  Overcrowding and vehicle congestion are causing trams to spend 17 per cent of their time stopped at traffic lights, according to a recent public transport discussion paper from the City of Melbourne. [caption id="attachment_30602" align="alignright" width="169"] Graham Currie[/caption] Despite having the largest tram network in the world, Melbourne “compares very poorly internationally” with speeds in the lowest 20 per cent of all tram systems, according to Professor Graham Currie, director of the public transport research group at Monash University. “They are delayed, held back and unreliable as a result and traffic is growing. There is a need to substantially change the right of way for trams on streets,” he told Government News. The City of Melbourne’s discussion paper, released in April, has recommended the introduction of a Metro 2 network linking Newport to Clifton Hill and a Metro 3 connecting Southern Cross to the airport. The paper also proposes the introduction of electric buses, bus charging capabilities at stops, traffic priority for buses and trams, more accessible tram stops and the creation of orbital routes to link suburbs.

Follow example on road pricing

Professor Currie said that in formulating its 10-year public transport plan later this year, Melbourne needs to follow other major cities by focusing on building metros, minimising single person vehicle use through a charge or pricing while also improving rail, bike and tram networks. “We should be taking the same approach all world megacities do in central areas when they have eight million people which is restricting car access for anyone who wants to travel on their own in the peak,” he said. The occupancy of the average car in Melbourne during peak hour is 1.06, the lowest rate in the nation, said Professor Currie. He describes single occupancy vehicle trips as the second most inefficient use of space second to parking, saying it is getting “less and less efficient over time.”
“The number one priority is public transport in high volumes, the second priority is walking. Commuting by car shouldn’t be encouraged at all in central areas and if it’s causing a problem we should tax them with a congestion charge."
Professor Currie said that while there are political impediments to road pricing given the density of voters in outer suburbs that use cars to commute, it is a political reality that must be confronted if public transport is to be improved and congestion constrained. [caption id="attachment_30604" align="alignright" width="163"] Ian Woodcock[/caption] “There are short-term difficulties politically in implementing these policies but my view is we have no real choice,” he said. Dr Ian Woodcock, a co-author of the City of Melbourne’s discussion paper and convener of the planning and city transport program at RMIT University, agrees that greater focus on improving both bike and tram networks is critical. “It is other road traffic that causes congestion on trams and the more people who get out of cars and into trams, the fewer vehicles on the road,” he told Government News.

London adopts congestion charge

Dr Woodcock pointed to London as an example of a city facing growing population pressures that was able to transform itself following the introduction of a congestion charge. The charge was introduced more than 15 years ago, and according to Transport for London has reduced traffic by 15 per cent and congestion by 30 per cent. Road pricing “needs a lot more investigation” in Australia given its proven ability to reduce congestion in comparable global cities, said Dr Woodcock.
“The center of London was transformed because of the introduction of a congestion charge."
Dr Woodcock says that the City of Melbourne has commissioned other consultants to look at the issue of road pricing in an upcoming report.

Melbourne Metro 2 is ‘critical’

Both Dr Woodcock and Professor Currie agree that Melbourne Metro 2, which would include a new rail tunnel linking Newport to Clifton Hill via Fishermens Bend with high capacity trains through Wyndham Vale to Mernda, should be commenced as soon as possible. Although Metro 2 was one of the key recommendations of the discussion paper and identified as a priority by Infrastructure Victoria and the Rail Network Development Plan, the project has not yet been greenlit by the government. Dr Woodcock said that the Metro 2 is the most “critical project” and needs to commence immediately if it is to be completed by 2028. Professor Currie similarly said that the Victorian Government needs to prioritise Metro 2 and 3 as they are the most efficient means of managing the volume of commuters in the area. “The idea of more metros in particular is something we need given the substantial growth we’re having in the inner area and the lack of capacity we have for managing that growth,” he said. The use of improved technology in tram signaling to reprioritise trams in traffic and the electrification of buses are also welcome and would be  more in line with international practice, said Professor Currie. According to Clr Gilley, another key priority identified in response to the discussion paper is the need to reclaim more space from parking and reuse for pavements.
Comment below to have your say on this story.
If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at editorial@governmentnews.com.au.  
Sign up to the Government News newsletter.
[post_title] => Mind the gap: Melbourne looks for transport fix as pressure mounts [post_excerpt] => As Melbourne explores various options to meet unprecedented demand for public transport, leading experts point to road pricing and improved traffic signaling as key solutions. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => mind-the-gap-melbourne-looks-for-transport-fix-as-pressure-mounts [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-06-12 10:56:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-06-12 00:56:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=30600 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 30217 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2018-05-09 09:50:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-05-08 23:50:11 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_30218" align="aligncenter" width="581"] NSW isn't a big winner out of last night's budget, while states like Victoria and Queensland did well.[/caption] Government and public policy experts provide a state-by-state analysis of Budget 2018-19, handed down last night by Treasurer Scott Morrison. 

New South Wales and ACT

Anika Gauja, Associate Professor, Department of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney: With income tax cuts and a return to surplus earlier than expected, Treasurer Scott Morrison has certainly delivered a budget full of pre-election sweeteners. New South Wales itself isn’t a big winner, however, with only A$1.5 billion of the A$24 billion earmarked for infrastructure projects heading its way. The projects that have been announced are strategically targeted: A$400 million will be spent on upgrading the Port Botany rail link, and A$50 million will go towards investigating the business case for the proposed Badgery’s Creek airport rail. The Pacific Highway will be upgraded with a new A$1 billion bypass at Coffs Harbour, bringing a windfall to the Nationals-held seat of Cowper. Scott Morrison’s own electorate will get A$25 million for a new monument commemorating the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s landing. The “election budget” takes on even more significance in NSW, where voters will most likely go to the polls twice in the coming 12 months, with the next state election due in March 2019. By allocating only a modest proportion of infrastructure funding to NSW, the federal Coalition has made it hard for its NSW counterpart to capitalise on spending announcements during the state campaign. If the state election is held before the next federal election, this might indicate confidence that Gladys Berejiklian’s government will be returned. Yet it might also signal a strategic focus away from NSW, where the state election could act as a buffer to absorb some of the disaffection that might otherwise be directed at the federal government.

Victoria

David Hayward, Professor of Public Policy and Director, VCOSS-RMIT Future Social Service Institute, RMIT University: Victoria is one of the big winners from the budget, through a mixture of luck and good political management. First the luck. Mainly due to higher-than-expected population growth, Victoria will receive a bigger share of the national Goods and Services Tax pool, with revenue growing by a whopping A$1.4 billion, or almost 10% to A$17.3 billion. For the first time, Victoria’s share of GST revenues will be almost the same as its share of Australia’s population. Also growing rapidly is the state’s share of federal infrastructure spending, which is tipped to rise from barely 8% to 15%. This is where the good political management part comes in. Over the last three years, Premier Daniel Andrews and Treasurer Tim Pallas have hit the airwaves to great effect, complaining bitterly about the state’s low levels of infrastructure investment under the Turnbull government. With an election only six months away, the federal government has finally responded with a cool A$7.6 billion in total. Most of that investment will flow into a Melbourne Airport rail link (A$5 billion), a North East toll road that is yet to gain the support of the opposition (A$1.75 billion), and a rail link to Monash University’s Clayton Campus (A$500 million). Much of this money won’t be seen for many years, with the spend next year being just A$900 million. The airport rail link is unlikely to start being built until 2026. There will also be some wrangling well before then, with the federal government determined to “equity” fund and the Victorian government looking for good old-fashioned capital grants. Overall, though, this is a good-news budget for Victorians and the Victorian government. Just don’t expect opposition leader Matthew Guy to be smiling.

Western Australia

Ian Cook, Senior Lecturer in Australian Politics, Murdoch University: Today the budget confirmed that the West Australian government would get another A$2.8 billion to spend on transport infrastructure, and A$189 million to spend on hospitals. Low to middle-income earners in WA, like everyone else in the country, can now expect around A$500 back by way of an increased tax rebate. West Australians were told last week that they would get around A$1 billion more through a revised GST carve-up. The crucial question now is whether Western Australians will see the federal government’s budget and the GST boost as a visit from Santa or Scrooge. They had been wondering where the money would come from to pay for infrastructure projects, especially Perth’s Metronet, promised by State Labor during the last election campaign. Now they know. Well, most of it. A couple of billion dollars more will be needed to fund the projects. Western Australians were expecting 45 cents back for every dollar in GST raised in the state (up from 34c) and they were told they would in fact get 47c. But Victorians will get A$1.8 billion more in funding, and 98c in the dollar back from their GST. Many people in the West will be wondering whether another A$10 a week in their pocket is all that much, especially given Perth’s notorious coffee prices. In a pre-election budget, and in a state in which the Liberal vote is falling, the Santa or Scrooge question is important – and the answer is still not really clear.

Queensland

Chris Salisbury, Research Associate, University of Queensland: As expected, Scott Morrison’s third federal budget is big on pleasure and light on pain for Queenslanders. With a federal election due within a year, and given Queensland’s status as a battleground state, the temptation to splash the cash in the Sunshine State is strong. Committing almost A$536 million (A$478 million of it new) over five years to improve the health of the Great Barrier Reef has been welcomed widely, although criticised in some conservation circles for supporting programs that don’t directly address the impacts of climate change. The biggest smiles are reserved for proponents of infrastructure spending, especially to relieve commuter congestion, with A$5.2 billion newly earmarked for projects in Queensland. This includes a A$1 billion boost for expanding the M1 motorway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, A$170 million for the Amberley interchange section of the Cunningham Highway near Ipswich, and A$3.3 billion for much-needed upgrades to the Bruce Highway. There is also A$390 millon for the Sunshine Coast rail line duplication, a project that has long been advocated by local Liberal National Party MPs. Significantly, but not surprisingly, there is no federal funding for the Cross River Rail project in Brisbane, a longstanding bone of contention between the Labor state government and the federal Coalition. Instead, Morrison has pledged A$300 million for the LNP-controlled Brisbane City Council’s Metro transport project. Regional Queensland hasn’t been ignored, with A$176 million promised for the long- proposed construction of Rockhampton’s Rookwood Weir, dependent on equivalent state funding. Federal Nationals MPs hope this will boost Coalition support in marginal central Queensland seats, where the popularity of One Nation looms large.

Northern Territory

Rolf Gerritsen, Professorial Research Fellow, Northern Institute, Charles Darwin University: The federal budget’s impact in the Northern Territory was determined before the territory’s own budget was released last week. Two days before the NT budget came out, Treasurer Scott Morrison gave the territory a A$259 million top-up to compensate for its reduced GST revenue share. (A sweetener, perhaps, for approving fracking?). Morrison also promised a A$550 million contribution to the territory’s indigenous housing budget. The Country Liberal Party candidate for the Labor seat of Lingiari also announced A$250 million to extend the indigenous Ranger program. And the NT received $280 million in roads funding, as well. The NT has three problems in coming years. Its public service expenditure is overly large and top-heavy, meaning its cost is rising faster than inflation. Secondly, its population is growing relatively slowly compared with the rest of Australia. Finally, the territory’s Aboriginal population is decreasing as a proportion of the national Indigenous population, as more people in cities on the east coast have begun identifying as Indigenous in recent censuses. These factors affect the territory’s relativities as calculated by the Commonwealth Grants Commission. The NT’s relativities have declined from 5.4% to 4.6% in the coming year. This means the NT received A$540 million less in its general purpose grant than if the 2010 relativities settings were still in place. That will likely only get worse as the territory’s debt burden is expected to become intolerable within two decades.

South Australia

Rob Manwaring, Senior Lecturer, Politics and Public Policy, Flinders University: The twin focus of the 2018 budget was tax relief and a strong focus on support for older people. This will have a mixed impact on South Australia. SA has a disproportionately older population compared with the rest of the country. In theory, the state should then benefit from a range of Scott Morrison’s measures to increase aged care places and support for in-home care. The tax relief measures might also well offer some respite to residents, given concerns about cost-of-living prices. Yet, the budget does little to directly tackle economic inequality in the state. SA has the highest youth unemployment in the nation. The lack of an increase to the state’s Newstart allowance will not help young people out of work. The treasurer also didn’t flag any specific measures to tackle other youth issues, including pathways into the housing market. Nor are there specific stimulus job measures, meaning any positive job growth effects might well take some time to kick in. For Steven Marshall’s freshly minted Liberal government, however, there are opportunities in the budget, especially the 21st Century medical plan, which aligns well with his rejuvenation agenda to create medical precincts. The government will also receive money to fund specific infrastructure measures, such as the North-South roads corridor. Whether this spending is proportionate to SA’s size and needs, however, remains unclear. The Marshall government will still likely need to be proactive to bring additional funding to the state for other infrastructure projects, such as solving traffic hot spots in Adelaide.

Tasmania

Maria Yanotti, Lecturer of Economics and Finance Tasmanian School of Business & Economics, University of Tasmania: Cuts to GST revenue and personal income tax will have the biggest impact for Tasmanians. Changes to the GST carve-up could deliver a A$29 million drop in state government revenue, which will restrict state expenditure as GST payments account for 40% of the state’s budget. Conversely, the cut to personal income tax will mean more disposable income for many in Tasmania, where annual average earnings are A$53,357, but the median annual income is just A$29,796. The measures to improve longer life choices for older Australians, as well as the fully funded roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, will also be welcomed in Tasmania. People aged 65 years and over represent almost 20% of the state’s population, the aged care residential services industry employs 2.8% of Tasmanians (relative to 2% of all Australians), and the health care and social assistance sector is the state’s biggest employer. Investment in infrastructure, defence equipment, space industry, and research and development are arguably the way to go into the future. Most Tasmanians will support the Great Barrier Reef package and some will indirectly benefit from the Melbourne airport train link. However, the federal budget is again offering little that’s truly new for Tasmania, with most of the funding going to pre-existing commitments. Investment in agricultural competitiveness and access to export markets, accompanied by cuts in business taxes and business support, will stimulate growth of businesses in an economy that receives a large share of Commonwealth income. Meanwhile, levelling the playing field for small business will benefit many emerging boutique businesses in the state. Tasmania’s population, tourism industry, private businesses and economy have all been growing, which is always good for the incumbent government. Launceston and Hobart are progressing with “City Deals”, and the University of Tasmania is “transforming”. However, this progress has been accompanied by strong house price growth and housing pressure, while educational levels are still low. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. [post_title] => Federal Budget 2018: a state-by-state spending analysis [post_excerpt] => Government and public policy experts provide a state-by-state analysis of Budget 2018-19, handed down last night by Treasurer Scott Morrison.  [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => federal-budget-2018-a-state-by-state-spending-analysis [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-05-09 09:51:31 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-05-08 23:51:31 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=30217 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29646 [post_author] => 655 [post_date] => 2018-03-27 10:20:15 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-26 23:20:15 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_29664" align="aligncenter" width="431"] Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher launching the initiative[/caption] Australian trucking company has partnered with government and researchers in a world-first intervention to reduce fatigue in heavy truck drivers. A landmark study aims to reduce heavy vehicle crashes in Australia and improve truck driver wellbeing by using world-leading fatigue prevention and driver monitoring technology.  Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities Paul Fletcher today launched the $6.5 million Advanced Safe Truck Concept, an Australian Government Cooperative Research Centre Project, which will use new technology to study driver behaviour and the impact of driver fatigue and distraction. Official figures show 2,462 Australians were killed as a result of involvement in heavy vehicle crashes between 2005 and 2014, which represented 18 per cent of deaths on Australian roads. The trucking industry is a significant part of the Australian economy with over 500,000 registered trucks, 41,097 businesses and 259,508 employees, according to a 2016 National Transport Insurance report. The researchers say the type of technology deployed in the project has the potential to be applied across all vehicles, potentially saving thousands of lives and preventing countless serious injuries. The partnership is headed by Canberra-based company Seeing Machines and includes Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) and Ron Finemore Transport Services. The study is a first to link in-cab driver monitoring technology with the external traffic and roadway in real-time. The Seeing Machines technology is fitted to a number of vehicles from the Ron Finemore Transport Services fleet. The two-phase program builds on the Seeing Machines’ Guardian technology that monitors for and alerts drivers to fatigue and distraction.  Seeing Machines executive chairman Ken Kroeger said the technology positioned the project as a world-leading road safety initiative. “We are proud to be at the forefront of road safety here in Australia and excited to see our driver monitoring technology delivering safety solutions across all transport sectors globally,” Mr Kroeger said. The company’s chief scientific officer and project leader, Dr Michael Lenné, said the project provided an opportunity to drive clever product designs that could enhance road safety. “It’s very rewarding to see the Australian Government recognise both the technological innovation and the road safety impact of this project,” Dr Lenné said.

Study could have ‘profound impact’

Phase one of the project has involved the testing of truck drivers in MUARC’s advanced driving simulator, which the centre says is the first time a truck simulator has been used for research in Australia. Drivers are tested in a rested and a fatigued state so a better understanding of fatigue on truck safety can be achieved. MUARC director Judith Charlton said the research could make a profound impact in reducing fatalities in the freight industry.  “We pride ourselves on translating evidence-based research into real-world solutions and by working alongside our industry partners and with the support of the federal government, this project has the capacity to prevent injuries and save lives,” Professor Charlton said. Ron Finemore Transport, which employs more than 450 people and has over 200 prime movers, will fit its fleet of trucks with the same driver monitoring technology as part of the project’s Naturalistic Road Safety Study. Darren Wood, Ron Finemore Transport’s general manager, said the project would help make Australian roads safer not only for its truck drivers but all road users. “As end users, we have the opportunity to influence the technology so it best addresses the needs of the freight industry,” he said. Launching the initiative today Minister Fletcher congratulated Seeing Machines and the other project partners “for their important work.” The project is expected to be completed at the end of 2019.
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[post_title] => Commonwealth launches major initiative to reduce truck crashes [post_excerpt] => Australian trucking company has partnered with government and researchers in a world-first intervention to reduce fatigue in heavy truck drivers. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => commonwealth-launches-major-initiative-to-reduce-truck-crashes [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-27 13:20:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-27 02:20:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=29646 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 5 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29615 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2018-03-23 10:59:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-22 23:59:00 [post_content] =>
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="641"]File 20180316 104639 u33fzr.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1 The ‘Bicycle Snake’ in Copenhagen separates pedestrians and cyclists, allowing both to navigate the city more safely. Cycling Embassy of Denmark[/caption]
To understand why Australian cities are far from being meccas for walking and cycling, follow the money. Our research has collated data for all the states and territories and our three biggest cities. We found that cycling and walking receive a tiny fraction of overall transport infrastructure funding. To improve cycling and walking infrastructure in our cities, funding will have to increase significantly. The United Nations has recommended that governments dedicate 20% of transport funding to non-motorised or active transport. To see how Australia compares against this target, we looked at budgets for three capital cities and all the states and territories. Commonwealth funding was not included because the federal government only funds active travel as part of larger infrastructure projects.

Hidden data 

Compared to the widely available expenditures for roads and public transport, it’s hard to pin down spending for cycling and walking. The data are spread across a myriad of documents, and entities report them differently. For example, walking infrastructure figures might be reported separately or bundled with cycling or road projects. Unclear reporting, in itself, indicates active travel’s low status in the transport funding hierarchy. To gather the expenditures reported here, we had to draw on a variety of sources. Our data are not perfect or perfectly comparable across time and place, but do indicate relative spending levels.

Municipal spending

This research considers Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. For a number of years, the Bicycle Network produced the Bicycle Expenditure Index (BiXE), which examined local government spending for bicycle infrastructure. Unfortunately, 2012 was the last year that BiXE was produced. Our analysis is based on the annual budgets for the three cities instead of BiXE. Brisbane and Sydney have been allocating a very small portion of their transport budgets (6-9%) to cycling and walking. Brisbane has the lowest active travel rates of the three cities. Despite this, its budget for walking and cycling has slightly decreased in the current cycle. By contrast, major change is under way in Sydney. In the 2019-2020 cycle, the council has set aside nearly a quarter of its transport budget to active transport.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="754"] Funding for cycling and walking infrastructure is highlighted in red. (Click on table to enlarge.) Author provided[/caption]
As for Melbourne, the city is devoting more than half of its transport budget to footpaths and cycleway projects in the current budget period. But here too the allocated budget is projected to decrease in coming years to about 28% in 2020-2021. Most of the Melbourne City funding appears to have been dedicated to footpaths rather than cycleways. This approach will not help increase cycling rates in the inner city, which have stagnated at about 5% in recent years.

State and territory spending

The 2015-2016 state and territory budgets are disappointing in that they continue the trend of underfunding active transport infrastructure. The difference between active transport and road funding is staggering: most states devote less than 2% of funding to cycling. All Australian states and territories are far below the United Nations target of 20%. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), at 14%, is the only place that has made a real effort to meet the UN target. Also, per capita dollar amounts devoted to active transport are low everywhere (under A$20 a year). As a benchmark, Copenhagen – regarded as the world’s best city for cycling – has spent A$30 per capita a year for the past decade. In Australia, the ACT is an exception at A$79 per capita in 2016. In fact, the ACT has some of the highest cycling rates at metropolitan level (though this is only about 3%). Also, the Northern Territory had more than doubled its spending by 2016, rising to A$36 per capita from only A$15 in 2011. The amounts spent “per helmet” are much larger. But, in most cases, this is only because cyclists make up a small fraction of the population. Another way to look at road and cycling funding is “cents on the dollar” – that is, how many cents go to cycling for each dollar spent on roads. The typical amount is less than two cents – although Victoria has almost reached three cents in some years. The ACT’s spending is not shown on the graph because it is high and would distort the scale for the other states and territories.

The future of cycling in Australian cities 

Australian cities are ideal for cycling and walking for most of the year. But cyclists and pedestrians are being short-changed while infrastructure spending continues to favour cars. This situation reflects the blinkered vision that Australia cannot and need not be a world leader in active travel. Our cities, which have some of the widest roads in the world, are supposedly too difficult to retrofit for walking and cycling. Many older cities overseas have redesigned much narrower streets for active transport.
[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="754"] Low-grade shared cycling lanes in Toronto, Canada (left) and high-quality, segregated cycling paths in Bogotá, Colombia (right). Dylan Passmore / Flickr, CC BY-NC[/caption]
In Australia any such retrofit requires long public consultation processes. Australians must accept incremental increases in active transport funding while road funding continues to dominate transport budgets. Not only is this vision shortsighted, it is sexist, ageist and classist. Cars cost their owners more than A$300 per week on average. This limits travel options for youth, low-income people and women. These groups are already vulnerable to transport disadvantage, and failing to fund cycling and walking projects can make their situation worse. Mediocre active travel infrastructure is unacceptable in a wealthy OECD country. We need and can have world class active travel infrastructure. This type of investment makes economic, health and environmental sense. Dorina Pojani is a senior lecturer in urban planning, The University of Queensland; Anthony Kimpton is a casual lecturer in urban sociology and geography, UQ; Jonathan Corcoran is a professor in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, UQ, and Neil Sipe is a professor of urban and regional planning at UQ.  This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. [post_title] => Cycling and walking are short-changed when it comes to transport funding in Australia [post_excerpt] => To understand why Australian cities are far from being meccas for walking and cycling, follow the money. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => cycling-and-walking-are-short-changed-when-it-comes-to-transport-funding-in-australia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-23 10:59:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-22 23:59:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=29615 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29561 [post_author] => 655 [post_date] => 2018-03-19 13:12:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-19 02:12:40 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_29569" align="aligncenter" width="570"] Sydney's harbourside CBD would be one of three cities in Greater Sydney under new plan.[/caption] Greater Sydney will become a “metropolis of three cities” under a key region blueprint adopted by the State Government. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian released the Greater Sydney Region Plan on Sunday along with NSW’s State Infrastructure Strategy and the state’s Future Transport Strategy 2056, saying it was the first time these plans had been delivered together. The plans will align land use, transport and infrastructure planning to reshape Greater Sydney as three unique but connected cities, the premier said. The Greater Sydney Plan is built around three cities “where most residents live within 30 minutes of their jobs, education and health facilities, services and great places.” It consists of the Eastern Harbour City, with the harbourside CBD at its centre; the Central River City, Greater Sydney’s geographic centre with Greater Parramatta at its core; and the Western Parkland City extending west of the M7. [caption id="attachment_29562" align="aligncenter" width="422"] Greater Sydney as a "metropolis of three cities".[/caption] Earlier this month the federal and NSW Governments, together with eight local councils of Western Sydney, signed the Western Sydney City Deal to create the Western Parkland City. As the population of Greater Sydney is projected to grow to eight million over the next 40 years, with almost half of that population residing west of Parramatta, the State Government argues that economic and social opportunities need to be balanced more equally across Greater Sydney. Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts said the plan also delivers important new policies including an Affordable Rental Housing Target of 5-10 per cent, while urban services lands, which provide local jobs, services and industrial capabilities, will be better protected. Greater Sydney Commission’s chief commissioner Lucy Turnbull said the region plan and five supporting district plans were the result of more than two years of engagement with more than 25,000 Sydneysiders and more than 750,000 via social media. “Behind all great cities of the world are great plans and Greater Sydney now has a region plan and five district plans, prepared concurrently with the Future Transport 2056 strategy and the State Infrastructure Strategy, to guide its future,” she said. https://twitter.com/gscsydney/status/975207162535292928 The Urban Taskforce, which represents property developers and financiers, said the Greater Sydney plan was an improvement on earlier drafts but government would still need to advocate more for apartment developments if affordable housing targets are to be met. “In 40 years, 50 per cent of homes in Sydney will be in apartments, which is a big increase on the current 30 per cent. But there is significant tension in the community about this change and we believe the plan should have shown more advocacy for the urban form of the city,” said CEO Chris Johnson.
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[post_title] => NSW Government adopts infrastructure, transport plans [post_excerpt] => Greater Sydney will become a “metropolis of three cities” under a key region plan adopted by the State Government on Sunday. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-government-adopts-infrastructure-transport-plans [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-20 11:00:59 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-20 00:00:59 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=29561 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29514 [post_author] => 655 [post_date] => 2018-03-16 11:36:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-16 00:36:03 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_29540" align="aligncenter" width="543"] Heavy vehicle drivers may soon have access to electronic work diaries.[/caption] Australia has moved a step closer towards adopting electronic diaries for truck drivers to more easily log work and rest times, but an expert says they won’t help improve safety. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator says the new compliance policy it released last week will ensure heavy vehicle drivers using either electronic or written work diaries are treated equally. NHVR productivity and safety executive director Geoff Casey said the policy would strike a balance between safety and compliance to ensure a consistent approach for drivers who voluntarily used the new technology, and that information was accurate and accessible. The policy outlines the NHVR’s requirements for meeting record keeping laws whether drivers used technology or traditional written diaries, Mr Casey said. The regulator said the outcomes of its recent consultations on the policy framework and standards will be published once finalised, and it will then prepare to accept applications from technology firms to provide the technology to record work and rest. Mr Casey said that while electronic work diaries must meet the requirements of the standards they may include additional functionality to meet individual business needs.

No impact on fatigue, crashes: expert

[caption id="attachment_29516" align="alignright" width="143"] Ann Williamson[/caption] However, while electronic work diaries should achieve their objective of ensuring truck drivers comply with fatigue laws they will have no effect on reducing driver fatigue and consequent crash risk and could “make the situation worse,” an expert has told Government News. Heavy trucks are disproportionately involved in fatal crashes on Australian roads and the trucking industry represents the highest number of work-related fatalities across all industries. Professor Ann Williamson, a road safety expert at the University of NSW, said electronic diaries should improve compliance with fatigue laws as they can account for vehicle movements to the nearest minute. However, she noted the regulator’s new policy allows drivers to review and correct information in the electronic diary but is not clear on what will be judged to be a safety concern or deliberate non-compliance. “Nor is it clear when and how corrections will be allowed to the electronic diary,” said Professor Williamson, a former principal research scientist with the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety.

Inadequate fatigue risk laws

When asked whether electronic work diaries could have a positive impact on reducing truck driver fatigue, Professor William said: “The answer is a resounding no.” She argued the current working hours regulations for heavy truck drivers are inadequate.
“The standard fatigue management regulations allow up to 72 hours of driving in seven days, which is too long. Most concerning, the laws require only seven hours of continuous rest in any 24 hour period, which is simply inadequate to obtain sufficient sleep as well as attend to the normal activities of daily living, such as meals and showering.”
Ultimately, Professor Williamson said that trying to improve compliance with inadequate fatigue risk management laws will do nothing to reduce driver fatigue. “These rules mean the majority of heavy vehicle drivers on our roads are tired and are driving with significantly increased risk of crashing. Just increasing compliance with inadequate laws cannot reduce crash risk.”

New chain of responsibility laws

Elsewhere, the NHVR also recently foreshadowed new chain of responsibility laws coming into effect in the middle of the year. The changes will impact many of the 165,000 businesses that make up the heavy vehicle supply chain in Australia. “These changes are a significant step forward in recognising that everyone in the supply chain has a role to play in heavy vehicle safety,” said NHVR’s chain of responsibility manager Kym Farquharson-Jones. The laws mean that all parties in the chain, including primary producers, must proactively reduce risks related to the safety of heavy vehicle transport tasks. Under current laws primary producers may be responsible for breaches by drivers once they are detected.
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[post_title] => Regulator releases policy on heavy vehicle records [post_excerpt] => Australia has moved a step closer towards adopting electronic diaries for truck drivers to more easily log work and rest times, but an expert says they won’t help improve road safety. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => regulator-releases-policy-on-heavy-vehicle-records [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-16 11:39:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-16 00:39:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=29514 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29359 [post_author] => 674 [post_date] => 2018-03-08 14:24:06 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-08 03:24:06 [post_content] => Local councils calling for state government legislation to address ongoing issues with dockless share bikes in NSW look set to be left handling the issue. On Monday the latest development in the long-running saga over dockless share bike schemes in Sydney saw Waverly Council impound more than 60 bikes from local beaches, parks and streets. [caption id="attachment_29361" align="alignright" width="287"] Waverly Mayor John Wakefield with the impounded bikes on Monday.[/caption] The seized bikes can be released to the scheme operators for a $70 fee per bike, while those that go unclaimed will be recycled, the council said. Waverley Mayor John Wakefield said the council was forced to act “due to the number of damaged and discarded bikes building up in public spaces.” While welcoming the schemes’ efforts to increase the number of alternative transport options, the Mayor said operators needed to take responsibility for the management of their bikes. “We have undertaken this clean-up in order to get this scheme to work.” He said bike companies were put on notice last week to remove abandoned bikes from public places. While they had complied “to a certain extent”, around 60 share bikes were removed by rangers for impoundment on Monday afternoon.

Call for legislation

The Mayor called for State Government legislation on share bikes “so that operators were clear about the consequences of poor management of bike share schemes.” “It’s an unfortunate use of ratepayers’ money to have to clean up this mess but if bike businesses won’t do it, Council will,” he said. Government News asked NSW Minister for Transport Andrew Constance’s office whether the State Government planned to introduce legislation on share bikes. The minister responded:
“I welcome the council finally enforcing the existing powers they already have to manage footpaths and public spaces under the Local Government Act. I hope to see other council’s follow suit.”
Last week Randwick City Council posted video on Facebook showing its collection of discarded and broken share bikes on 2 March. https://www.facebook.com/randwickcitycouncil/videos/1819033548115911/ A spokesperson for Randwick City Council told Government News the council would continue to collect bikes that were causing an obstruction, but at this stage it was not undertaking the same level of impounding as Waverly Council. She pointed to the rules agreed to in January by bike share companies and six Sydney councils, including Randwick, in a bid to improve public safety and ensure that bike usage continues to increase. Those guidelines set out minimum standards and expectations for dockless bike share operations in Sydney, and focus on issues of customer safety, bike placement, distribution of bikes, dealing with faulty and dumped bikes and data sharing. Comment below to have your say on this story. If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at editorial@governmentnews.com.au.   Sign up to the Government News newsletter. [post_title] => State minister welcomes council’s swoop on bikes [post_excerpt] => Local councils calling for state government legislation to address ongoing issues with dockless share bikes in NSW look set to be left handling the issue. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => state-minister-welcomes-councils-swoop-on-bikes [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-03-09 08:59:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-03-08 21:59:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=29359 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29057 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2018-02-05 10:43:36 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-04 23:43:36 [post_content] =>

The Queensland Government has announced major changes to transport in South East Queensland during the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, which will be held 4-15 April. The biggest change will be a tripling of services on the Brisbane to Gold Cost train line, with trains operating 24 hours a day. There will be 176 extra services a day, meaning a train every ten minutes for most of the day. The extra services on the Gold Coast line will mean a reduction of services across the rest of the rail network. Hardest hit will be the Beenleigh line, which will effectively be merged with the Gold Coast line, with free buses replacing trains for all-stops commuters. Extra buses will also run throughout the Gold Coast and to games venues. Gold Coast G:link light rail services will also be expanded, with services running around the clock and with trams every six minutes during peak periods. There will be a total of 4,760 extra services over the two weeks of the games. The network was expanded north to meet the heavy rail network at Helensvale in December 2017, and now runs 20 km north to south. The busy M1 motorway link from Brisbane to the Gold Coast will have its speeds reduced, with 110 km/h zones coming down to 100 km/h and 100 km/h zones dropping to 90 km/h. Ramp metering will also be introduced at busy exits, and extra police and towing units in place for accidents and other incidents. Many roads around the Gold Coast will be closed. A dedicated Transport Coordination Centre will be used to monitor and respond to real time activity around the clock. “In making the decision to temporarily reduce the speed limit on the M1 and introduce ramp management, Transport and Main Roads looked at national and international research,” said the Government’s announcement. “Research shows that speed reduction and ramp metering helps to increase motorway capacity, improve travel speeds during peak times and reduce the number of crashes.” The games are being called “the biggest event in Queensland’s history’” by the promoters. The main venue will be the revamped Carrara Stadium, which now holds 35,000 people. The transport plan was announced by Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey and Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones. “The significant capacity increase on local routes was made possible by extensive and detailed planning and substantial investment in infrastructure – almost $1 billion - across the network,” Mr Bailey said. “We need to ensure that more than one million spectators, around 6,600 athletes and team officials, 50,000 workers and volunteers, and 3,500 media arrive safely and on time. We’re expecting 6 million extra journeys on our transport network for the games.” Gold Coast City has produced a series of interactive maps which can be used to gain visibility of the transport system in use during the games. The maps will model the selected date and time based on a large data set including historical traffic monitoring, ticketing sales information and combining that with the event schedules. It can be found at www.getsetforthegames.com Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) Chairman Peter Beattie, a former Queensland Premier, said a robust public transport network was integral to a successful Commonwealth Games. He said he is confident that the large investment in infrastructure coupled with enhanced timetables would achieve this. “The transport task on the Gold Coast is undoubtedly challenging, but we’re up to it and I’ve been impressed by what has been achieved,” he said. “Demand on transport infrastructure is not an issue unique to the Gold Coast, it happens at every Commonwealth Games. “It’s vital that locals support the games and that means travelling smart. The long term benefits that this once in a lifetime event will bring are huge and that includes the transport legacy we will enjoy long after the Games end.”   [post_title] => Commonwealth Games transport changes – winners and losers [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => commonwealth-games-transport-changes-winners-losers [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-06 05:00:29 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-05 18:00:29 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=29057 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29053 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2018-02-05 09:41:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-04 22:41:07 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_29055" align="alignnone" width="278"] Avalon's busy passenger terminal[/caption] Avalon airport, between Melbourne and Geelong, has been struggling a little in recent years. But that will change soon. Budget Malaysian carrier AirAsia has announced it will move its twice daily Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur flights there from Tullamarine by the end of the year. Airport owners Linfox will build a new $20 million international terminal at Avalon, in the expectation that other international airlines will start to use the facility. It will be Victoria’s second international airport, and Australia’s eleventh. AirAsia has become one of the region’s leading budget airlines, and was named the world’s best low cost airline by Skytrax every year from 2009 to 2017. It serves 130 destinations across Asia. It plans to add direct flights from Avalon to the Philippines and other destinations from 2019. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson and Victoria’s Tourism Minister John Eren were all on hand to take some of the credit for the announcement. But none of them committed to a long-touted rail line to the airport from Melbourne, despite it being close to the exiting Melbourne-Geelong train line. The cost of a rail link is estimated at $250 million. Ms Bishop said it was ”early days” for a rail link, despite it being talked about since the airport was privatised and a 50 year lease given to transport company Linfox in 1997. It had previously been an aircraft manufacturing and maintenance facility. There has been no announcement of state or federal funding for the terminal, though Ms Henderson said discussions are “well underway.” Corangamite is a marginal electorate that recently received significant government grants, and a Geelong City Deal was announced last month by the Federal and Victorian State governments. Avalon has a long 3000 metre runway, a large domestic terminal, and extensive maintenance facilities. But much of its infrastructure is underutilised. Its passenger numbers have declined in the last ten year, with Jetstar currently the only airline using it. Your correspondent had the terminal especially opened for him when he arrived two hours early for a flight a few years ago. It has extensive freight operations, and is home to the Australian International Airshow, held every two years. The next is in March 2019. An Avalon Airport Master plan, developed in 2013, calls for expanded terminals, more car parking, a hotel, new hangars, and of course the rail link. As a privately owned airport, it is not covered by the Commonwealth Airports Act, which heavily regulates the operations of Australia’s major airports. [post_title] => You are about to land at Avalon International Airport [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => land-avalon-international-airport [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-09 10:46:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-08 23:46:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=29053 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 29017 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2018-01-30 12:47:01 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-01-30 01:47:01 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_29019" align="alignnone" width="295"] Michael Bradley, AAA[/caption] Detailed analysis by Australia’s peak motoring body shows that nearly 90 percent of the targets in the 2011 National Road Safety Strategy will not be met. It says this is because governments are failing to fulfil the commitments made. The findings are contained in the Australian Automobile Association’s report ‘Benchmarking the Performance of the National Road Safety Strategy’. The AAA is the umbrella group for Australia’s state-based motoring associations. Chief executive of the AAA Michael Bradley said that eight of the 33 indicators set out in the Strategy are not even being measured, or do not have agreed targets. “This analysis is a damning indictment of those who have been responsible for the Strategy’s implementation since 2011. It reflects a disjointed and disorganised approach to road safety in this country. “Fewer than one in ten KPIs are likely to be met. That, and the fact that a quarter of KPIs still aren’t even being measured, reinforces the widely held view that government does not take this problem seriously. “We have just experienced the deadliest month on Australian roads since 2011. This should serve as a wake-up call to government that continued inaction is having devastating consequences.” The analysis has been done as part of the AAA’s submission to the Government’s recently announced inquiry into the Strategy. Signed by state and federal governments in 2011, the National Road Safety Strategy specifically aims to reduce death and injuries by 30 percent through the decade to 2020. It contains 33 individual safety performance Indicators. The AAA analysis shows only four of those 33 indicators are ‘on track’ to be met. A further six have been classified as ‘not on track, and 15 more have been deemed to be ‘unlikely to be met’. Road deaths in NSW and across Australia have declined sharply in the last 40 years, because of a range of factors including compulsory seatbelts, better roads, safer cars, random breath testing for alcohol, and stronger enforcement mechanisms such as speed cameras. By any measure, Australia has been very successful in reducing its road toll. The decline in absolute numbers is notable, and even more impressive is the reduction in fatalities per kilometre travelled. There are many more vehicles on Australian roads than there were 40 years ago. That metric is down by an extraordinary 80 percent. The AAA report compares data from regional, remote and metropolitan roads and displays the results in an easily understood traffic-light (red-amber-green) format. While most indicators show an improvement since 2011, this has slowed in recent years, with 2017 going backwards. In no state or territory is the trend line of decline in road fatalities exceeding the target. In Tasmania and the ACT the six year trend is up, and in NSW it is even. In 2016 Australian driver deaths were down by 7.7 percent, but passenger deaths were up by 13.0 per cent. Pedestrian deaths were down 12.6 percent and motorcycle deaths were down 15.3 percent, but cyclists’ deaths were up 31.0 percent. In 2016 Victoria has the lowest number of road deaths per 100,000 population, at 4.00. AAA analysis shows that if this figure were to be achieved nationally, 253 lives would have been saved across the country. “The results of this benchmark report indicate it is increasingly unlikely that Australia will achieve the NRSS target,” said Mr Bradley. “A significant increase in Commonwealth funding and leadership is required to improve this outlook. “The AAA has urged the Government to adopt the recommendations made in its National Road Safety Platform to get the Strategy back on track.” The AAA report is available here.     [post_title] => Governments failing on road safety, says AAA [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => governments-failing-road-safety-says-aaa [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-01 14:48:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-01 03:48:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=29017 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28939 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2018-01-19 10:17:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-01-18 23:17:13 [post_content] =>

Australia ranks only 14th (out of 20 countries rated) in its preparedness for autonomous vehicles, according to a new report. KPMG’s new global ‘Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index’ report rates four factors for autonomous vehicles (AVs) readiness. Australia scores reasonably well on AV-related policy and legislation, but after the demise of local vehicle manufacturing, rates very poorly on technology and innovation. It rates around the middle of the pack on infrastructure and consumer acceptance. “In May 2017 Australia issued national guidelines for trials of AVs on its roads, with these requiring specific exemptions from state and territory governments,” says the report “At present the law says that an automated driving system cannot be the driver of an AV, meaning that although a vehicle may be partially automated, the human occupant will need to be the legal ‘driver’, be held responsible for any incident that may occur while in control of the vehicle and must exercise proper control over the vehicle at all times. “On technology and innovation, Australia has few AV technology company headquarters and patents. The research found no relevant investments and few Australians drive electric cars, although it receives credit for a strong Uber presence and for general availability of technology. “AV trials are taking place or are planned in several cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide. On infrastructure, Australia receives the maximum score for the quality of its mobile networks, but only middling ratings for the quality of its roads and availability of 4G. And it has very few electric charging stations. “The country is very highly rated for people’s use of technology by KPMG’s Change Readiness Index, but few people live in test areas and consumer research suggests Australians are fairly cynical about AV technology.” Australia needs to lift its game, says KPMG Australia’s Paul Low. “AVs are one of the major disrupters hitting the transport system in the next ten years in Australia. Others include road pricing, mobility as a service and increasing contestability in public transport operations. “These will drive different institutional and regulatory structures that will challenge the historical model of transport agencies with their focus on infrastructure development and system regulation.” The report is available here.   [post_title] => Australia in the slow lane on autonomous vehicles [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => australia-slow-lane-autonomous-vehicles [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-01-23 10:28:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-01-22 23:28:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28939 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28925 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2018-01-17 13:47:17 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-01-17 02:47:17 [post_content] =>

The Prime Minister’s southern tour is taking on the look of an election campaign. One morning it’s the promise of a City Deal for Hobart (noticeably devoid of any actual projects or funding), that afternoon it’s a re-announcement of Launceston’s City Deal, the next day after a hop across the Bass Strait Geelong gets a City Deal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). These City Deals are quite the thing. They just keep on giving, to all levels of government. There’s the announcement that it will happen, then there’s the MoU, then there’s the City Deal itself, then there’s the announcements about what is being delivered. Let us not be too cynical. City Deals, and idea borrowed from Britain where all levels of government cooperate on urban infrastructure, are no bad things. But it is hard to get away from the impression that they are being used as a vehicle for maximum publicity by politicians for government expenditure that would almost certainly happen anyway. The trick is to bundle it all up, announce it all multiple times, and pat everyone on the back. The Geelong City Deal is typical of how it works. No-one denies that Victoria’s largest regional city could use a bit of infrastructure spending – it is now Australia’s second fastest growing city, after Metropolitan Melbourne itself. It is pushing 200,000 people, and is also the gateway to Victoria’s famous Surf Coast and the Great Ocean Road. Geelong is a true city, not an outer suburb of Melbourne, though it is close enough (just 75 km) for people to commute to the larger city. It has a famous football team (the mighty Geelong Cats), a first rate university (Deakin), and a revitalised city centre. It is an ideal candidate for a City Deal. So, exactly what has been announced? The Federal Government has signed an MoU with the Victorian Government to exploring multiple City Deals for Victoria, which would “pave the way” for one in Geelong, the only city specifically mentioned. “A Geelong City Deal will help to deliver new jobs and make the area an ever better place to live and work, with world class infrastructure projects and a tourism offer that is second to none for Victoria’s second city. “It will also involve governments focusing on the strengths and opportunities in the local economy, and exploring many job creating and innovative projects” The joint announcement by Prime Minster Turnbull and Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino said this will include:
  • Improving road, rail, air and maritime transport links in the region
  • Revitalising the Geelong CBD
  • Ensuring the Great Ocean Road reaches its full potential
  • Supporting innovation and the growth of knowledge industries
  • Positioning Geelong as a leading digital economy.
The last of these is interesting, given that Geelong has the highest proportion of slow fibre-to-the-node NBN connections in Australia. The announcement then went on to say that the “new initiatives will complement existing joint investments by the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments,” listing a number of transport projects that have been previously announced. The Government actually had two bites of the cherry in the Geelong region. Barely an hour before the Geelong City Deal announcement, Mr Turnbull also announced $20 million in funding under the Regional Jobs and Investment Package for Geelong and its hinterland, the Corangamite region. It is the first such announcement, “part of the Australian Government’s commitment to stimulate jobs and drive economic growth in Australia’s regions.” Fully 21 projects were announced, creating “600 new jobs will be generated through the construction phase and a further 600 ongoing job, with just over 200 of those ongoing jobs in advanced manufacturing.” They include an ecotourism facility on the Great Ocean Road, an additive manufacturing and engineering centre at Geelong’s innovation precinct, and further investment in Geelong’s waterfront renewal project. No doubt these initiatives will be mentioned again when the Geelong City Deal is announced.   [post_title] => Another City Deal pre-announcement – this time it’s Geelong [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => another-city-deal-pre-announcement-time-geelong [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-01-17 13:47:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-01-17 02:47:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28925 [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] => 30804 [post_author] => 655 [post_date] => 2018-06-19 08:48:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-06-18 22:48:13 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_30670" align="aligncenter" width="658"] Health, education and infrastructure are big ticket items in NSW's 2018 budget.[/caption] Assertive outreach services and a new social impact investment are among the elements of a $1 billion homelessness package to be included in NSW’s budget today. Tailored support will be provided to rough sleepers, young people and victims of domestic violence under the package. The program includes $20 million over four years to a social impact investment on homelessness to tap into the expertise of the private and not-for-profit sector. It will provide for more assertive outreach services for rough sleepers, strengthened risk assessment to address individuals’ circumstances and enhanced support to maintain a tenancy. Included in the program is $9.1 million for additional transitional accommodation, $6.9 million on co-located homeless and health services and $6.2 million to expand the Staying Home Leaving Violence program to five new sites. The NSW Government’s budget will also contain $1 billion in new recurrent health funding to employ an extra 1370 workers, including 950 nurses and midwives, 300 doctors and 120 allied health professions. The State Government says that brings the budget’s total health spend to $23 billion. In education, the government will announce “the largest investment into schools by any state government in history” with funding of $6 billion over four years to deliver more than 170 new and upgraded schools. The budget contains funding for an extra 20 new and upgraded schools, the planning for which will begin this year. Work will commence on 40 new and upgraded school projects this year. In transport, the budget will outline a $1.5 billion investment in bus services throughout the state, which will see more than 2,000 extra bus services rolled out in the next 12 months. The number of trains running in the morning and afternoon peaks on the T4 and T8 lines will be increased with an $880 million investment in technology to modernise the Sydney Trains network. The key southern Sydney route Heathcote Road will get a $173 million package to improve safety and traffic flow, while $40 million will be spent sealing the last stretch of the Cobb and Silver City highways, meaning every major highway in the state will now be sealed. In resources, the budget will also contain $23 million for the recently established Natural Resources Access Regulators to increase water compliance and enforcement. The Australia Museum will undergo a $50 million refurbishment before it hosts Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, the largest Tutankhamun exhibition to ever leave Egypt, for a six-month run in early 2021.
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Transport

avalon

You are about to land at Avalon International Airport

Avalon airport, between Melbourne and Geelong, has been struggling a little in recent years. But that will change soon. Budget Malaysian carrier AirAsia has announced it will move its twice daily Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur flights there from Tullamarine by the end of the year. Airport owners Linfox will build a new $20 million international […]

Michael Bradley

Governments failing on road safety, says AAA

Detailed analysis by Australia’s peak motoring body shows that nearly 90 percent of the targets in the 2011 National Road Safety Strategy will not be met. It says this is because governments are failing to fulfil the commitments made. The findings are contained in the Australian Automobile Association’s report ‘Benchmarking the Performance of the National […]

AVs

Australia in the slow lane on autonomous vehicles

Australia ranks only 14th (out of 20 countries rated) in its preparedness for autonomous vehicles, according to a new report. KPMG’s new global ‘Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index’ report rates four factors for autonomous vehicles (AVs) readiness. Australia scores reasonably well on AV-related policy and legislation, but after the demise of local vehicle manufacturing, rates very […]

geelong

Another City Deal pre-announcement – this time it’s Geelong

The Prime Minister’s southern tour is taking on the look of an election campaign. One morning it’s the promise of a City Deal for Hobart (noticeably devoid of any actual projects or funding), that afternoon it’s a re-announcement of Launceston’s City Deal, the next day after a hop across the Bass Strait Geelong gets a […]