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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2011
37 FUTURE FREIGHT NETWORKS 2011 Session 1 Nick Dimopoulos CEO, National Transport Commission According to Dimopoulos, the National Transport Commission (NTC) policy framework is all about what we want our transport systems to look like in the future. In considering that, we should adopt a global as well as national perspective, and remember that we may have 35 million people in the country by 2050. Dimopoulos was quite positive about the shift in thinking about transport from a mode-by -mode and state- by-state approach, to a much more holistic national and international multi-modal perspective. He was also pleased to see that the Julie Bullas National Project Director of the National Rail Safety Regulator (NRSR) Project Office NATIONAL TRANSpORT REGULATORy REFORM issue of transport is achieving greater recognition as a primary consideration in its own right in national policy development. He emphasised the deleterious effects of piecemeal regulation, posing questions as to how we can have a single national aviation regulation system, and yet run a heavy vehicle system within which there are some 368 variations in regulations across the nation. One third of our rail system operates in multiple states. There are seven rail safety regulators in Australia while there is only one rail safety regulator for the whole of the USA. Indeed, a submission from Asciano argued that the Australian rail safety system is ‘complex, inefficient and hazardous’. It’s no wonder that the imple- mentation of just one heavy vehicle regulator and just one rail regulator in early 2013 is seen as a major step forward. The NTC is involved in a range of endeavours. One is the COAG Road Reform Project to provide direct price signals to heavy vehicle road users, which should help to encourage and optimise more productive investment in the sector. The National Ports Strategy is another point of focus for the NTC, and contains much potential. There are some 42 major ports in Australia and 71 ports in total. The top 20 ports account for 90 per cent of the shipping trade. Projections indicate that Australian exports to China will increase by 170 per cent in the next 20 years, and that port usage generally is expected to triple over the same period. Dimopoulos urged attendees to maintain a strong focus on the future, saying that while some good steps are being taken, we must not take our eyes off the prize! A big picture perspective is essential, as is an overall systems approach. According to Dimopoulos, we should consider people and freight transport as part of the one holistic national system that is integrated into the global supply chain, so that we remain globally competitive. Bullas’ office is in Adelaide, where work is underway so that in early 2013, the National rail safety law passed in South Australia will become the law for the nation. Other states will refer to South Australian law and incorporate it into their own legislation. According to Bullas, it has been a long time coming, but it will be a significant national achievement. She listed some key changes as: Legislation – there will be • just one set of legislation and regulations; Accreditation – only one • accreditation will be required, adhering to just one standard; Operations – to be coordinated • nationally and delivered locally; National regulatory systems • and outputs – a national database will be an important asset so that comparisons can be made across the country; and The National Cost Recovery • Scheme.