Infrastructure Australia has work cut out for it


Truss releases expectations as Transport and Infrastructure Council ministers focus on access and safety issues

Infrastructure Australia has work cut out for it
Warren Truss has work for Infrastructure Australia.

 

A busy time has been signalled for Infrastructure Australia (AI) by those with influence over it.

Within 24 hours, infrastructure and transport minister Warren Truss issued a ‘statement of expectations’, which was followed by the national Transport and Infrastructure Council’s consideration of its progress on the National Infrastructure Audit.

The council, made up of relevant state, territory and federal ministers, says it has made progress on a map of ‘key freight routes’ and a approved access objectives for heavy vehicles on them.

The maps will have the status of national transport infrastructure policy, regulatory, planning and operational signposts.

"There will be a baseline minimum of ‘as of right’ B-double access across all road key freight routes," the council’s communiqué states. 

"The routes that do not currently provide this level of access will be considered by relevant jurisdictions on a case-by-case basis.

"The Council also agreed to deliver increased safety and efficiency in management of the freight task by adopting the objective of increasing access above the baseline for high productivity vehicles, particularly on inter-urban routes. 

"High productivity vehicle access will be subject to safety and engineering standards consistent with the Performance Based Standards [PBS] scheme and to the infrastructure being suited to these vehicles."

Ministers agreed new arrangements for the appointment of independent auditors and "more effective business rules" for the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS).

"The Northern Territory will agree, following finalisation of an arrangement with the NHVR, to a flexible approach to auditor technical qualifications in remote areas," the communique states.

Meanwhile, Truss has listed a number of reports AI is to complete over the next 12 months.

These are the National Infrastructure Audit and Northern Australia Infrastructure Audit this year and the Fifteen Year Infrastructure Plan by April.

The Plan is to include a "top down priority list" and an evaluation of proposals for projects more than $100 million.

"I expect IA under the direction of the new board to consult and establish productive working relationships with key infrastructure stakeholders, including all levels of government, other relevant bodies and organisations, investors in infrastructure and owners of infrastructure," Truss says.

"The Board will keep me informed of its actions and alert me to events or issues that may impact on operations. In particular, I look forward to regular progress reports on initiatives and activities, as well as a twice-yearly report to the Ministerial Transport and Infrastructure Council.

"Through our changes, IA is moving away from assessing lists based on previously announced government priorities to instead focus strategically on Australia's future infrastructure needs. This will inform decisions, rather than simply catch-up to decisions already made.

 

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