Let’s be innovative for the next chapter of transport reform, says NTC Chief Officer Strategy
Innovation and transformative change will be required to tackle the transport and infrastructure challenges of the future, NTC Chief Officer Strategy, Paul Sullivan told the audience at the National Transport Regulations Reform Conference in Canberra on the 5 June.
Mr Sullivan’s presentation reflected on the achievements of the NTC, governments and its stakeholders in national transport reform and outlined the key challenges for government in undertaking the next wave of reform.
National reform has evolved from technical harmonisation, to “better regulation” with growing CoAG involvement over the last 20 years. Internationally, Australia is recognised as a reform leader, including regulations based on sleep science to manage fatigue risks, targeting off-road causes of unsafe driver behaviour and performance-based regulations to allow vehicle design flexibility.
This work provided the foundation for national heavy vehicle and rail safety laws.
“NTC will continue to put its shoulder to the wheel; working with governments and industry to see the regulator reforms implemented and delivering outcomes,” he said.
NTC is also working hard to fully implement the recommendations of the Review of NTC 2009, which included establishing NTC as “the place to go” for advice (centre-of-excellence) in national reform; and performance reporting of national reform outcomes.
Mr Sullivan said initiatives to develop NTC as a centre of excellence were well underway, including an ongoing information exchange program on leading practice with the USA, and outcomes-based program design and performance reporting.
“It’s the delivery of practical ‘outcomes’ that provides value to the community and business – and that means developing policy with people, not for people. We’re also looking at whether implemented reform – such as higher mass limits – is achieving its intended results “on the ground” and, if not, sharing learning to modify our actions.”
Future reform directions for Ministers – including a 21st Century model for planning, funding and using transport infrastructure – were also canvassed.
“The next chapter of transport and infrastructure reform will be more complex and difficult – unless we’re innovative. Building collaborative networks and partnerships to leverage expertise and engaging citizens to achieve buy-in and trust will be essential to deliver effective national reform.”