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Tuesday, 24 March 1987
Page: 1446

(Question No. 5058)

Mr Conquest asked the Minister for Transport, upon notice, on 18 February 1987:

(1) Are the recommendations of the Report of the Inquiry into the Distribution of Federal Roads Grants (Cameron Inquiry) dealing with revised principles for allocating grants based on a weighted combination of traffic volume indicators covering a range of complicated issues yet to be thoroughly tested against reliable data.

(2) Did the Cameron Inquiry acknowledge deficiencies in current roads database and computer modelling resources.

(3) Will he (a) defer consideration of the Cameron Inquiry recommendations for 1 year to enable the State road authorities and his Department to investigate fully and report on their data needs and (b) extend the current Australian Land Transport Program percentage distributions until 1988-89.

Mr Peter Morris —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) and (2) The Cameron Report's recommendations for the allocation of funding under the Australian Land Transport Program (ALTP) are based on four indicators of road funding requirements that relate to traffic volume and road length. They are: axle loading, road occupancy, restoration and upgrading. These terms are described fully in the Report. The indicators are weighted in accordance with the Committee's view that Federal funding should cater for both restoration and upgrading needs in approximately equal proportions.

The Inquiry also recommended that the Federal Government should undertake a periodic review of data sources, and the weighting applied to the indicators in the light of Federal objectives. In making this recommendation the Report makes a number of suggestions for collection and improvement of the data.

Difficulties with data encountered by the Committee of Inquiry and the methods used to overcome them are fully documented in its Report. Where appropriate the Committee also conducted sensitivity tests to ensure that its conclusions were soundly based. I am not aware that the Committee had any problem with computer modelling resources.

(3) (a) and (b) Section 19 of the Australian Land Transport (Financial Assistance) Act requires the Minister for Transport to make a determination on the distribution of the unallocated 5.236 percentage points of ALTP funding for the period 1987-88 to 1989-90 inclusive by 31 March 1987. It therefore has not been possible to defer consideration of the Report's recommendations for one year.