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New territory - planes, cranes and reform gains



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SPEECH BY SENATOR THE HON BOB COLLINS

MINISTER FOR SHIPPING AND AVIATION SUPPORT

"NEW TERRITORY - PLANES, CRANES AND REFORM GAINS"

WEDNESDAY 6 MAY 1992

THE NATIONAL PRESS CLUB

CANBERRA

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

2

AUSTRALIA HAS ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT TRANSPORTATION TASKS

OF ANY COUNTRY ON EARTH.

THE CONTINENT COVERS AN AREA OF 7.6 MILLION SQUARE

KILOMETRES.

IT HAS A LOW POPULATION CONCENTRATED IN HALF A DOZEN MAJOR

CITIES SEPARATED BY GREAT DISTANCES AND 37,000 SQUARE

KILOMETRES OF COASTLINE WITH WIDELY DISPERSED PORTS.

WE HAVE RELATIVELY LOW VOLUMES OF CARGO.

WE ARE AT THE END OF THE INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORT CHAIN.

COMING AS I DO FROM NORTHERN AUSTRALIA, I WELL UNDERSTAND

THE PROBLEMS.

THE WORD TRANSPORT IS SYNONYMOUS WITH DISTANCE ___ THE

TYRANNY OF DISTANCE.

NORTHERN AUSTRALIA ENCOMPASSES AN AREA OF JUST OVER 3.5

MILLION SQUARE KILOMETRES ... NEARLY 46 PER CENT OF

AUSTRALIA'S LAND MASS.

IT IS HOME TO LESS THAN A MILLION PEOPLE - OR AROUND FIVE

PER CENT OF THE TOTAL POPULATION

3

THAT IS THE EQUIVALENT OF ONE PERSON FOR EVERY EIGHT SQUARE

KILOMETRES.

IT TAKES ABOUT 20 HOURS TO DRIVE FROM MY HOME TOWN, DARWIN,

TO ALICE SPRINGS. THREE DAYS TO BRISBANE.

AS YOU CAN IMAGINE, THE DISECONOMIES OF SCALE ARE ENORMOUS.

GIVEN THE DISADVANTAGES I HAVE OUTLINED, IT IS CRITICALLY

IMPORTANT TO ENSURE OUR NATIONAL TRANSPORT SYSTEM IS

OPERATED AS EFFICIENTLY AS POSSIBLE AND THE INFRASTRUCTURE

IS TAILORED TO PASSENGER AND FREIGHT DEMAND.

THIS IS WHY THE GOVERNMENT HAS FOCUSED SO MUCH ATTENTION ON

REFORM OF THE NATIONAL SYSTEM.

THROUGHOUT THE REFORM PROCESS WE HAVE CONTENDED WITH

PAROCHIAL DECISIONS TAKEN SINCE FEDERATION BY VARIOUS LEVELS

OF GOVERNMENT.

AS A RESULT MANY OF OUR TRANSPORT INDUSTRIES BECAME

PROTECTED AND INEFFICIENT.

FOR EXAMPLE, THE NATIONAL RAIL SYSTEM DEVELOPED WITH THREE

DIFFERENT GAUGES. A PROBLEM NOT ADDRESSED FOR MORE THAN 60

YEARS

4

SINCE BEING ELECTED TO OFFICE IN 1983 THIS GOVERNMENT HAS

PROGRESSIVELY EXPOSED THE NATION’S TRANSPORT INDUSTRIES TO

THE DISCIPLINES OF COMPETITION AND COMMERCIALISATION.

ITS STRATEGY HAS CHANGED THE FUNDAMENTAL NATURE OF TRANSPORT

IN AUSTRALIA.

TWO TRANSPORT SECTORS THAT HAVE SEEN DRAMATIC CHANGE ARE

AVIATION AND THE MARITIME INDUSTRY.

AVIATION POLICY.

THIS GOVERNMENT HAS MADE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO THE

POLICY ENVIRONMENT FOR BOTH DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL

AVIATION IN AUSTRALIA'S HISTORY.

CHANGES MADE HAVE BEEN AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE GOVERNMENT’S

MICRO-ECONOMIC REFORM PROGRAM.

BEFORE DEREGULATION, COMPETITION ON PRICE AND CAPACITY WAS

ESSENTIALLY IMPOSSIBLE. IT WAS CONTROLLED BY THE

GOVERNMENT.

THE RESULT WAS AN INDUSTRY WITH AN INFLATED COST STRUCTURE

AND LITTLE INCENTIVE FOR FARE INITIATIVES.

5

THE DOMESTIC TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRIES,

PARTICULARLY IN THE NORTH AND THE WEST, WAS ALSO SHACKLED BY

THE TWO AIRLINE AGREEMENT.

DEREGULATION OF THE INTERSTATE DOMESTIC AVIATION INDUSTRY IN

1990, SET IT ON A NEW COMPETITIVE AND COMMERCIALLY ORIENTED

PATH.

DEREGULATION HAS LED TO A RAPID FALL IN AVERAGE FARES.

BY THE DECEMBER QUARTER LAST YEAR AIRFARES WERE 30 PER CENT

BELOW THE EQUIVALENT FARES IN THE SAME QUARTER THE YEAR

BEFORE.

IN RESPONSE TO THE LOWER FARES AND INCREASED SERVICES,

RECORD NUMBERS OF PASSENGERS TRAVELLED IN THE FIRST TWELVE

MONTHS OF A DEREGULATED MARKET, WITH SOME 16.7 MILLION

PASSENGERS CARRIED (17 PER CENT HIGHER THAN THE PREVIOUS

RECORD).

THERE WAS AN UNPRECEDENTED INCREASE ON THE MAJOR TOURIST

ROUTES.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO RECOGNISE THAT, SINCE THE COLLAPSE OF

COMPASS AIRLINES, THE MAJOR CARRIERS HAVE CONTINUED TO

COMPETE FOR PASSENGERS IN THE EXPANDED TRAVEL MARKET.

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LATEST FIGURES INDICATE THAT DOMESTIC AIRLINE ACTIVITY IN

THE MARCH QUARTER OF THIS YEAR WAS AN ALL-TIME RECORD FOR A

MARCH QUARTER, IN FACT THE THIRD HIGHEST QUARTER EVER

EXPERIENCED.

THE GROWTH IN AIR TRAVEL AND THE PERFORMANCE OF THE TOURISM

INDUSTRY HAVE RUN STRONGLY AGAINST A TREND OF FLAT ECONOMIC

ACTIVITY.

THE CHANGES TO AVIATION OUTLINED BY THE PRIME MINISTER IN

THE FEBRUARY 'ONE NATION' STATEMENT MARK A FURTHER MAJOR

STEP IN AVIATION REFORM IN THIS COUNTRY.

THE KEY ELEMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT'S STRATEGY ARE TO:

. REMOVE AVIATION SPECIFIC RESTRICTIONS ON EQUITY

INVESTMENTS BETWEEN OPERATORS.

. IMPLEMENT A POLICY OF MULTIPLE DESIGNATION FOR

AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL CARRIERS WITH A MECHANISM TO

BE ESTABLISHED FOR ALLOCATION OF OPERATING RIGHTS.

. RENEGOTIATION OF BILATERAL AGREEMENTS TO PROVIDE FOR

MULTIPLE DESIGNATION WHERE THIS CURRENTLY IS NOT THE

CASE AND ADOPTION OF A PRO-COMPETITIVE APPROACH AIMED

AT ACHIEVING APPROPRIATE ENHANCED ROUTE AND CAPACITY

ENTITLEMENTS

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INVITE THE NEW ZEALAND GOVERNMENT TO AGREE TO MULTIPLE

DESIGNATION ON THE TRANS-TASMAN, AND AS THIS TAKES

PLACE ALLOW QANTAS TO ENTER THE DOMESTIC MARKET THROUGH

SELLING SPARE CAPACITY ON EXISTING DOMESTIC SECTORS.

. SEEK THE NEW ZEALAND GOVERNMENT'S AGREEMENT TO

IMPLEMENT A SINGLE AVIATION MARKET INCLUDING A COMMON

BORDER WITH NEW ZEALAND ALLOWING AUSTRALIAN AND NEW

ZEALAND CARRIERS FULL ACCESS TO THE AUSTRALASIAN

MARKET.

THERE IS NO DOUBT IN MY MIND THAT THESE CHANGES WILL BENEFIT

THE AUSTRALASIAN TRAVELLING PUBLIC, THE TOURISM INDUSTRY AND

THE AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND ECONOMIES.

OF COURSE THERE ARE DETAILS OF THESE SUBSTANTIAL CHANGES TO

BE FINALISED.

IT IS IMPORTANT FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A PROPER MECHANISM

TO CONSIDER THE FUTURE ALLOCATION OF OPERATING RIGHTS UNDER

A MULTIPLE DESIGNATION REGIME.

IN THIS REGARD, THERE IS MUCH TO BE OBSERVED FROM OVERSEAS

EXPERIENCE, INCLUDING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF REGULATORY

TRIBUNALS USING CRITERIA SET BY THE GOVERNMENT TO ASSESS

COMPETING CARRIER CLAIMS.

8

AS FORESHADOWED IN THE ONE NATION STATEMENT THE GOVERNMENT

HAS HAD DETAILED CONSULTATIONS WITH THE AVIATION INDUSTRY IN

ADDRESSING THESE IMPORTANT ISSUES.

AS WELL I HAVE MET WITH THE NEW ZEALAND MINISTER FOR

TRANSPORT TO DISCUSS THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT'S PROPOSALS.

BOTH GOVERNMENTS SHARE A COMMON OBJECTIVE OF ESTABLISHING

CLOSER LINKS ACROSS THE TASMAN.

THE SALE OF THE AIRLINES IS PROCEEDING AND THERE HAS BEEN

ENCOURAGING INTEREST IN BOTH OF THEM.

MY COLLEAGUE, THE MINISTER FOR FINANCE IS NOW EVALUATING THE

BIDS WITH A VIEW TO PROGRESSING THE SALES AS QUICKLY AS

POSSIBLE.

AVIATION INFRASTRUCTURE

WHEN THIS GOVERNMENT DECIDED IN 1987 TO DEREGULATE THE

DOMESTIC AIRLINE INDUSTRY, IT ADOPTED A COMPREHENSIVE

APPROACH TO ENSURE THAT COMPETITION WOULD BE ACCOMPANIED BY

A COMMERCIAL APPROACH TO THE PROVISION OF AIRWAYS AND

AIRPORT INFRASTRUCTURE

9

FOR THIS REASON WE ESTABLISHED THE CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY

AND THE FEDERAL AIRPORTS CORPORATION AS SEPARATE BODIES

OPERATING ALONG COMMERCIAL LINES UNDER THE DIRECTION OF

THEIR OWN BOARDS OF DIRECTORS.

IN MANAGING AND OPERATING MAJOR AUSTRALIAN AIRPORTS, THE FAC

RECOVERS THE COST OF SERVICES IT PROVIDES FROM THE AVIATION

INDUSTRY AND ITS CUSTOMERS.

THE CORPORATION RAISES ITS OWN FUNDS TO FINANCE A CAPITAL

WORKS PROGRAM WHICH WILL SEE THE EXPENDITURE OF $2.5 BILLION

ON AIRPORT INFRASTRUCTURE OVER THE NEXT DECADE.

THE BENEFITS OF THIS PROCESS ARE THERE FOR ALL TO SEE IN

THE WORLD CLASS DOMESTIC TERMINAL FACILITIES WHICH ARE NOW

BEING DEVELOPED AT OUR MAJOR AIRPORTS.

THE IMPROVEMENTS BEING PLANNED BY THE FAC FOR OUR

INTERNATIONAL TERMINALS ARE JUST AS IMPRESSIVE.

THE CONSTRUCTION OF SYDNEY'S NEW INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL IS

ON SCHEDULE. I WAS INVITED JUST YESTERDAY BY THE FAC TO

OPEN THE NEW TERMINAL BEFORE CHRISTMAS

10

THE EXPANSION AND REDEVELOPMENT OF MELBOURNE'S INTERNATIONAL

TERMINAL IS WELL UNDERWAY, AND I AM DISCUSSING WITH THE FAC

BRINGING FORWARD THE COMPLETION OF THE NEW INTERNATIONAL

TERMINAL AT BRISBANE.

THE MOST SIGNIFICANT SINGLE PUBLIC WORKS

PROJECT IN THE AVIATION SECTOR IN THE PAST 25 YEARS IS THE

CONSTRUCTION OF THE THIRD RUNWAY AT SYDNEY AIRPORT.

THIS IS ALSO ON SCHEDULE AND PHYSICAL CONSTRUCTION IS

SCHEDULED TO COMMENCE EARLY IN THE SECOND HALF OF 1992.

THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT ALREADY HAS HELD A SERIES OF

DISCUSSIONS WITH THE FAC ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT OF COMMON

USER FACILITIES TO PROVIDE SCOPE FOR FURTHER ONGOING

COMPETITION IN THE DOMESTIC AVIATION MARKET.

THE GOVERNMENT ORIGINALLY PROVIDED $63 MILLION OVER THREE

YEARS TO TRANSFER THE REMAINING COMMONWEALTH AND AERODROME

LOCAL OWNERSHIP PLAN (ALOP) AERODROMES TO FULL LOCAL

OWNERSHIP.

AN EXTRA $27 MILLION WAS ALLOCATED IN THE "ONE NATION"

STATEMENT IN RECOGNITION THAT IT WOULD FURTHER ENHANCE THE

EFFICIENCY OF REGIONAL AVIATION NETWORKS AND CREATE

EMPLOYMENT IN REGIONAL AREAS

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AVIATION REGULATION

AS WITH THE FAC, THE CAA RECOVERS THE COST OF THE SERVICES

IT PROVIDES FROM INDUSTRY.

THE BENEFITS TO THE INDUSTRY, IN TERMS OF LOWER COSTS, HAVE

BEEN RAPID AND SUBSTANTIAL.

THE CAA’S LEVEL OF CHARGES HAVE SAVED THE AVIATION INDUSTRY

NEARLY $200 MILLION IN REAL TERMS IN THE FIRST FOUR YEARS OF

ITS OPERATION.

AS A RESULT OF THE MAJOR RESTRUCTURING STILL IN

PROGRESS CAA STAFFING LEVELS ARE BEING REDUCED FROM AROUND

7,000 IN 1991 TO 3,650 BY JULY 1996.

THE CAA JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO ANNOUNCED A FURTHER CUT IN

CHARGES TO THE INDUSTRY OF $96 MILLION NEXT FINANCIAL YEAR

AND AN ADDITIONAL CUT OF $66.5 MILLION IN 1993-94 AS A

RESULT OF THESE CHANGES.

SAFETY HAS NOT BEEN COMPROMISED IN ANY WAY.

THE CAA IS ENGAGED IN A MAJOR UPGRADING i

12

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THIS HAS BEEN THE ABANDONMENT OF

THE PREVIOUS PIECEMEAL APPROACH TO UPGRADING OUR AIR-TRAFFIC

CONTROL SYSTEM.

FOR THE FIRST TIME WE WILL HAVE A TRULY NATIONAL SYSTEM OF

AIR-TRAFFIC CONTROL BASED ON TWO MAJOR CENTRES AT BRISBANE

AND MELBOURNE.

THIS WILL PROVIDE A SAFER SYSTEM WITH SIGNIFICANTLY FEWER

STAFF REQUIRED TO OPERATE IT.

AUSTRALIA WILL CONTINUE TO ENJOY THE SAFEST AVIATION SYSTEM

IN THE WORLD.

I WOULD NOW LIKE TO TURN FROM PLANES TO THE MARITIME SECTOR.

MARITIME POLICY - SHIPPING

THE GOVERNMENT’S MARITIME POLICY ALSO REPRESENTS A RADICAL

APPROACH TO THE REFORM OF WHAT WERE FORMERLY, IN INDUSTRIAL

AND EFFICIENCY TERMS, TWO OF AUSTRALIA'S MOST INFAMOUS

INDUSTRIES - STEVEDORING AND SHIPPING.

THIS APPROACH INVOLVED BOTH INDUSTRIES RECOGNISING THEIR

BASIC STRUCTURAL DEFICIENCIES AND NEGOTIATING WITH THE

GOVERNMENT ON AN AGREED FRAMEWORK FOR CO-OPERATIVE REFORMS

WITHIN A SET TIMETABLE.

13

THIS COULD BE CONSIDERED A BIT DIFFICULT EVEN IN AN INDUSTRY

WHERE EMPLOYERS AND UNIONS HAVE A STRONG

CO-OPERATIVE ETHOS AND COMBINED SENSE OF PURPOSE.

HOWEVER, IN THE MARITIME INDUSTRIES, THE BOSSES AND THE

WORKERS HAD BEEN AT EACH OTHERS' THROATS SINCE ARTHUR

PHILLIP RAN THE QUEEN ANNE UNION FLAG UP THE POLE AT SYDNEY

COVE.

ALL THE OLD CLASS ANTAGONISMS THRIVED ON OUR WHARVES AND OUR

SHIPS.

JUST TEN YEARS AGO THE AUSTRALIAN SHIPPING INDUSTRY WAS A

'BASKET CASE' - AN INDUSTRY IN TERMINAL DECLINE WITH AGEING

SHIPS, ARCHAIC WORK PRACTICES AND ABYSMAL INDUSTRIAL

RELATIONS.

THROUGH THE 1980S, WE PROGRESSIVELY DEVELOPED A NEW CLIMATE

FOR CO-OPERATION, AS THE GOVERNMENT AND THE INDUSTRY PARTIES

WORKED TOWARDS A COMMON OBJECTIVE - A REVITALISED AUSTRALIAN

SHIPPING INDUSTRY.

INVESTMENT INCENTIVES WERE PROVIDED FOR THE INTRODUCTION OF

NEW SHIPS WITH LOWER CREWS. THE INDUSTRY EMBARKED ON THE

MAJOR TASK OF TOTALLY RESTRUCTURING WORK PRACTICES ON BOARD

SHIPS

14

IN 1989, THE GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHED THE SHIPPING INDUSTRY

REFORM AUTHORITY, OR SIRA, TO OVERSEE THE MOST RECENT - AND

MOST SIGNIFICANT - PHASE IN THE TRANSFORMATION OF AUSTRALIAN

SHIPPING. f

i 1 I

THE LATEST ROUND OF REFORMS HAS SLASHED AVERAGE SHIP CREWING

BY 25% FROM AN AVERAGE CREW OF 28 IN 1989 TO A CREW OF 21ยท IN

1992 - A LEVEL EQUAL TO THE CREWING AVERAGE FOR OECD SHIPS

VISITING AUSTRALIA.

I

INVESTMENT INCENTIVES HAVE ENCOURAGED SHIPOWNERS TO SPEND '

NEARLY $2 BILLION ON 28 NEW EFFICIENT SHIPS. THIS IS THE

LARGEST CAPITAL INVESTMENT IN AUSTRALIAN SHIPPING EVER.

IT REPRESENTS REPLACEMENT OF ONE THIRD OF THE AUSTRALIAN

FLEET. i

;

SIRA, EMPLOYERS AND UNIONS ARE KEEN TO CONTINUE THEIR RECORD

OF SUCCESS WITH CO-OPERATIVE REFORM. !

THEY HAVE SOUGHT GOVERNMENT APPROVAL TO NEGOTIATE FURTHER

INITIATIVES TO MAINTAIN THE MOMENTUM OF CHANGE IN THE HIGHLY

COMPETITIVE WORLD SHIPPING MARKET. THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE

ADDRESSING THIS QUESTION SHORTLY.

15

MARITIME POLICY - WATERFRONT

THE OTHER AUTHORITY ESTABLISHED BY THE MARITIME REFORM

PROGRAM IS THE WATERFRONT INDUSTRY REFORM AUTHORITY, OR

WIRA.

IT HAS MADE A MAJOR CONTRIBUTION TO CHANGES IN THE

STEVEDORING SECTOR.

THE GOVERNMENT'S REFORMS HAVE REPRESENTED THE MOST

FUNDAMENTAL RESTRUCTURING OF THE WATERFRONT IN THE LAST 50

YEARS AND ACCEPTANCE OF THIS LEVEL OF CHANGE HAS NOT COME

EASILY.

JUST A FEW SHORT YEARS AGO, THE STEVEDORING SECTOR WAS

GROSSLY INEFFICIENT CHARACTERISED BY INEFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT,

A COST-PLUS MENTALITY, ENDEMIC UNRELIABILITY, NO RESPONSE TO

USER NEEDS AND A PERVASIVE LACK OF COMPETITION.

WHAT IS MORE, THERE WAS LITTLE DISPOSITION WITHIN THE

INDUSTRY TO COMPREHENSIVELY ADDRESS THESE PROBLEMS.

TODAY, THE GAP BETWEEN AUSTRALIAN AND INTERNATIONAL PORT

STANDARDS IS RAPIDLY BEING REDUCED BY A NEW COMPETITIVE

FRAMEWORK WHEREBY ENTERPRISE EMPLOYMENT IS REPLACING THE

DECADES-OLD POOLED LABOUR SYSTEM.

16

THE INDUSTRY-WIDE EMPLOYMENT ARRANGEMENTS HAVE BEEN REPLACED

BY ENTERPRISE EMPLOYMENT STRUCTURES IN THE MAJOR PORTS.

THE SAME CHANGES ARE CURRENTLY BEING MADE IN REGIONAL PORTS.

AS A RESULT THE STEVEDORING WORKFORCE HAS BEEN SLASHED BY

42% FROM 8,900 IN 1989 TO 5,100 AT PRESENT, EXCEEDING THE

TARGET ORIGINALLY SET FOR THE PROGRAM.

BY THE END OF THE PROGRAM, IT WILL HAVE BEEN CUT IN HALF.

THE PRODUCTIVITY GAINS TO THE INDUSTRY HAVE BEEN SUCH THAT

COMBINED WITH A DOWNTURN IN BUSINESS OVER THE PAST FEW

YEARS THERE REMAINS AN UNACCEPTABLY HIGH LEVEL OF SURPLUS

WORKERS IN THE INDUSTRY.

I HAVE HELD SEVERAL ROUNDS OF DISCUSSIONS WITH EMPLOYERS AND

UNIONS ON THIS PROBLEM.

THE MATTER IS CURRENTLY BEING ADDRESSED BY THE INDUSTRY

IN TALKS IN SYDNEY YESTERDAY AND TODAY UNDER THE AUSPICES OF '

WIRA.

STEVEDORES HAVE REPORTED A QUANTUM LEAP IN PRODUCTIVITY WITH

CONTAINER TERMINALS ACHIEVING AVERAGE CONTAINER CRANE

HANDLING RATES IN EXCESS OF 20 STANDARD CONTAINERS PER HOUR

COMPARED TO AN INDUSTRY AVERAGE OF 10 TO 12 TWO YEARS AGO.

17

PRICE COMPETITION IS FEROCIOUS AND STEVEDORING CONTRACT

RATES HAVE FALLEN BY UP TO 30% COMPARED WITH TWO YEARS AGO.

IN BULK CARGO, LABOUR REQUIREMENTS FOR STEVEDORING GRAIN

VESSELS ARE CUT BY 50% TO 80%, VESSELS TURN AROUND IN 2.5

DAYS INSTEAD OF 4.5 DAYS AND STEVEDORING COSTS ARE HALVED.

A NUMBER OF FEATURES FROM THE OLD INDUSTRY, SUCH AS LEVIES

AND VARIOUS COLLECTIVE EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT MEASURES, ARE

STILL TO BE ADDRESSED IN THE CURRENT REVIEW BY THE INDUSTRY

FOR REPORT TO GOVERNMENT ON FUTURE INDUSTRY ARRANGEMENTS.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF A COMPETITIVE STEVEDORING INDUSTRY WITH A

GREATLY REDUCED COST STRUCTURE WILL BE A MAJOR MILESTONE IN

THE REFORM OF THE MARITIME SECTOR. BUT THERE ARE OTHER

AREAS OF THE MARITIME TRANSPORT CHAIN THAT NEED MORE

ATTENTION.

UNLIKE NEW ZEALAND AND THE UNITED KINGDOM, THE AUSTRALIAN

GOVERNMENT DOES NOT HAVE DIRECT RESPONSIBILITY FOR PORTS OR

PORT AUTHORITIES.

REFORM IN THIS SIGNIFICANT AREA OF THE WATERFRONT RELIES ON

CO-OPERATION WITH STATE AND TERRITORY GOVERNMENTS.

18

THE CURRENT INDUSTRY COMMISSION INQUIRY INTO PORT AUTHORITY

SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES PROVIDES GREATER FOCUS IN

IDENTIFYING FURTHER EFFICIENCY GAINS IN THIS CRITICAL COST

AREA.

INEFFICIENCY AT THE INTERFACE BETWEEN THE WATERFRONT AND

LAND TRANSPORT MODES IS ANOTHER FACTOR COUNTERACTING THE

FLOW ON TO SHIPPERS OF THE FULL BENEFITS OF REFORM.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEGUN TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE IN A POSITIVE

WAY THROUGH ITS SUPPORT IN THE FEBRUARY ECONOMIC STATEMENT

FOR SEVERAL MAJOR LAND TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE LINKS WITH

PORTS.

THE RECENT REPORT BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES STANDING

COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORT EMPHASISED THE NEED FOR IMPROVEMENT

TO THE OPERATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL PRACTICES LINKING PORTS

AND LAND BASED CARGO HANDLING.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS ANNOUNCED IT WILL BE GIVING EARLY

CONSIDERATION TO THE COMMITTEE'S RECOMMENDATIONS.

HOWEVER, IT IS IMPORTANT TO RECOGNISE THAT THE SOLUTIONS TO

MANY OF THE ISSUES IDENTIFIED BY THE COMMITTEE ARE GOING TO

DEPEND, TO A GREAT DEGREE, ON POSITIVE AND EFFECTIVE

CO-OPERATION AMONG THE MANY PRIVATE SECTOR PARTIES THAT ARE

INVOLVED.

19

GOVERNMENTS CAN BE EFFECTIVE IN BRINGING THE PARTIES

TOGETHER BUT REALISTICALLY THEY CANNOT BE EXPECTED TO IMPOSE

COMMERCIAL SOLUTIONS ON WHAT ARE ESSENTIALLY COMMERCIAL

ISSUES.

THIS CONSIDERATION IS ALSO RELEVANT TO RECENT COMPLAINTS

FROM SHIPPERS THAT BENEFITS FROM STEVEDORING REFORM ARE

NOT BEING PASSED ON THROUGH LOWER SHIPPING FREIGHT RATES.

THE TRANSLATION OF ANY COST SAVINGS TO SHIPPING LINES

INTO LOWER FREIGHT RATES IS A MATTER WHICH NEEDS TO BE

VIGOROUSLY PURSUED BY SHIPPERS THROUGH COMMERCIAL

NEGOTIATIONS.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS ASKED THE PSA TO INVESTIGATE LAND BASED

CHARGES LEVIED BY SHIPPING COMPANIES. THE PSA'S REPORT

SHOULD BE USEFUL IN INFORMING THOSE COMMERCIAL NEGOTIATIONS

- BUT IT CANNOT BE REGARDED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR THEM.

MARITIME REGULATION

ANOTHER IMPORTANT ELEMENT IN THE GOVERNMENT'S MARITIME

REFORMS WAS THE CREATION OF THE AUSTRALIAN MARITIME SAFETY

AUTHORITY

20

AMSA TOOK OVER THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT'S WORK IN

PROVIDING COMMERCIAL AND SAFETY SERVICES TO THE SHIPPING

INDUSTRY WITH THE PRIME FOCUS TO ENHANCE EFFICIENCY AND

CONTAIN COSTS TO INDUSTRY.

THIS PROVIDED THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEVELOP A MORE COMMERCIALLY

ORIENTED STRUCTURE WITH GREATER RESPONSIVENESS AND

ACCOUNTABILITY TO CLIENTS THAN OCCURS IN THE TYPICAL

BUREAUCRACY.

AMSA'S CHARGES TO INDUSTRY HAVE BEEN CONSTRAINED AND, WHERE

POSSIBLE, REDUCED WHILE PROVIDING A REASONABLE FINANCIAL

RETURN TO GOVERNMENT.

BY 1993/94, AMSA WILL BE FULLY RECOVERING FROM INDUSTRY THE

COST OF ITS COMMERCIAL SERVICES, RATHER THAN FROM THE

TAXPAYERS AT LARGE.

IN JUNE LAST YEAR, AFTER ONLY SIX MONTHS OPERATION, AMSA

ANNOUNCED IT ALREADY HAD ACHIEVED COST SAVINGS ENABLING A

REDUCTION IN ITS MARINE NAVIGATION LEVY OF $2.5 MILLION

REPRESENTING A CUT OF SEVEN PER CENT.

20

AMSA TOOK OVER THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT'S WORK IN

PROVIDING COMMERCIAL AND SAFETY SERVICES TO THE SHIPPING

INDUSTRY WITH THE PRIME FOCUS TO ENHANCE EFFICIENCY AND

CONTAIN COSTS TO INDUSTRY.

THIS PROVIDED THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEVELOP A MORE COMMERCIALLY

ORIENTED STRUCTURE WITH GREATER RESPONSIVENESS AND

ACCOUNTABILITY TO CLIENTS THAN OCCURS IN THE TYPICAL

BUREAUCRACY.

AMSA'S CHARGES TO INDUSTRY HAVE BEEN CONSTRAINED AND, WHERE

POSSIBLE, REDUCED WHILE PROVIDING A REASONABLE FINANCIAL

RETURN TO GOVERNMENT.

BY 1993/94, AMSA WILL BE FULLY RECOVERING FROM INDUSTRY THE

COST OF ITS COMMERCIAL SERVICES, RATHER THAN FROM THE

TAXPAYERS AT LARGE.

IN JUNE LAST YEAR, AFTER ONLY SIX MONTHS OPERATION, AMSA

ANNOUNCED IT ALREADY HAD ACHIEVED COST SAVINGS ENABLING A

REDUCTION IN ITS MARINE NAVIGATION LEVY OF $2.5 MILLION

REPRESENTING A CUT OF SEVEN PER CENT.

21

RAIL REFORM

THE COMMERCIALISATION OF THE NATIONAL RAIL NETWORK HAS

PRODUCED FOR THE FIRST TIME A SINGLE OPERATOR TO PROVIDE

NATIONAL INTERSTATE RAIL FREIGHT SERVICES ON A COMMERCIAL

BASIS.

RATHER THAN HAVING THE FEDERAL AND STATE GOVERNMENTS

PURSUING THEIR OWN INTERESTSz THE NATIONAL RAIL CORPORATION

IS AN EXAMPLE OF VITAL REFORM WHICH GIVES PRIORITY TO THE

NATIONAL INTEREST.

WE HAVE ALSO ESTABLISHED IN CO-OPERATION WITH THE STATES AND

THE ACT, THE NATIONAL ROAD TRANSPORT COMMISSION, WHICH HAS

THE TASK OF DEVELOPING NATIONALLY CONSISTENT ARRANGEMENTS

FOR THE REGISTRATION AND REGULATION OF HEAVY VEHICLES.

STEPS ARE UNDERWAY TO EXTEND UNIFORM NATIONAL REGULATION TO

ALL VEHICLES.

CONCLUSION

HAVING STARTED THIS SPEECH ILLUSTRATING THE TYRANNY OF

DISTANCE FROM SOUTHERN AUSTRALIA FOR THOSE IN THE NORTH I

SHOULD CONCLUDE BY DISCUSSING ITS PROXIMITY TO ASIA.

22

IN THE PROCESS I HOPE TO BURY A NUMBER OF LONG ENDURING

MYTHS.

IT TAKES ME AN AVERAGE ELEVEN HOURS TO GET FROM HOME TO MY

CANBERRA OFFICE.

ITS ONE OF LIFE'S IRONIES THAT AS AVIATION MINISTER I

SPEND MORE TIME IN AEROPLANES THAN ANY OTHER PASSENGER IN

THE COUNTRY.

BY CONTRAST MY HOME TOWN IS A TWO HOUR FLIGHT FROM

INDONESIA.

FRANKLY, SUCCESSIVE GOVERNMENTS HAVE NEVER FOUND MUCH REASON

TO DEVELOP NORTHERN AUSTRALIA, APART FROM THE OBVIOUS

DEFENCE CONSIDERATIONS.

EVEN THOSE CONSIDERATIONS WERE SADLY NEGLECTED UNTIL THIS

GOVERNMENT THROUGH THE THEN DEFENCE MINISTER, KIM BEAZLEY,

TURNED THAT AROUND.

THE HISTORY OF NEGLECT SPANNED MORE THAN SEVENTY YEARS AS

SUCCESSIVE SOUTHERN ADMINISTRATIONS LOOKED TO BRITAIN AND

EUROPE FOR TRADE OPPORTUNITIES.

BUT AUSTRALIA'S FUTURE IS NOW IN ASIA.

23

YOU WILL FIND NO ARGUMENT WITH THAT IN NORTHERN AUSTRALIA,

WHERE MANY PEOPLE HAVE LONG BELIEVED OUR COUNTRY HAS BEEN

DEVELOPED UPSIDE DOWN.

WHEN OUR GOVERNMENT TOOK OFFICE IN 1983 AUSTRALIA'S

MERCHANDISE EXPORTS, AS A PROPORTION OF GDP, HAD FAILED TO

GROW IN NEARLY 30 YEARS.

ELSEWHERE IN THE DEVELOPED WORLD EXPORTS WERE GROWING AT

ABOUT ONE AND A HALF TIMES GDP GROWTH.

AUSTRALIAN EXPORTERS NOW HAVE TURNED THEIR ATTENTION TO

ASIA.

IN 1980 ASIA ACCOUNTED FOR 45 PER CENT OF OUR EXPORTS.

THIS HAD GROWN TO 55 PER CENT BY 1990.

SEVEN OF AUSTRALIA'S TEN MAJOR MARKETS ARE NOW ASIAN

COUNTRIES.

IN THE PAST TEN YEARS THE SHARE OF EXPORTS TO HONG KONG HAS

DOUBLED.

THE SHARE TO KOREA HAS TREBLED.

24

LAST YEAR AUSTRALIA EXPORTED MORE TO SINGAPORE AND INDONESIA

TOGETHER THAN IT DID TO GERMANY, FRANCE, ITALY AND CANADA

COMBINED.

THERE WAS ONCE A STANDARD JOKE THAT THE ONLY EXPORTS FROM

NORTHERN AUSTRALIA WERE EMPTY BEER BOTTLES AND FULL PUBLIC

SERVANTS.

I CAN ASSURE YOU THE JOKE IS MET WITH STONY SILENCE THESE

DAYS.

WE ARE DOING MORE THAN OUR SHARE.

MORE THAN $10 BILLION WORTH OF GOODS AND SERVICES WERE

EXPORTED FROM NORTHERN AUSTRALIA IN 1990 .... OVER 20 PER

CENT OF TOTAL NATIONAL EXPORTS.

GIVEN OUR SIZE AND OUR COMPETITIVE DISADVANTAGES THIS IS A

TREMENDOUS EFFORT.

IT MORE THAN JUSTIFIES OUR CLAIM FOR A GREATER PER CAPITA

SHARE OF THE COMMONWEALTH REVENUE CAKE THAN IS RECEIVED IN

MANY OF THE MORE POPULOUS STATES.

IT IS SO EASY TO OVERLOOK HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS TO OUR

OVERALL DEVELOPMENT

I MENTION THIS BECAUSE I RECENTLY LISTENED TO A PRESS CLUB

ADDRESS BY A STATE LABOR COLLEAGUE MR CARR WHO ADVOCATED A

SYSTEM OF PER CAPITA FEDERAL FUNDING TO THE STATES.

IN MY VIEW THIS WOULD TURN THE CLOCK BACK 90 YEARS. IT

WOULD TOTALLY UNDERMINE THE PRINCIPLES OF FEDERATION. I AM

NOT BEATING A PAROCHIAL DRUM, AS NO DOUBT HE WAS.

IT IS MY BELIEF THAT THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE OF NEW

SOUTH WALES AND VICTORIA ARE AS DIRECTLY SERVED, AS ARE

THOSE OF PEOPLE IN THE NORTH, BY ENSURING THE FURTHER

DEVELOPMENT OF NORTHERN AUSTRALIA.

MANY OF OUR NEW EXPORT MARKETS I HAVE JUST MENTIONED LIE

JUST TO OUR NORTH AND WE ARE PERFECTLY POSITIONED TO TAKE

ADVANTAGE OF THEM.

IT IS MY BELIEF THIS WILL ENSURE ACCELERATED DEVELOPMENT AND

RECOGNITION OF THE IMPORTANCE OF NORTHERN AUSTRALIA TO THE

NATIONAL INTERESTS.

NOTHING WILL ENSURE THAT BENEFIT IS REALISED MORE THAN THE

FURTHER IMPROVEMENT OF OUR NATIONAL TRANSPORT NETWORK.

THIS GOVERNMENT, AS IT HAS JUST DEMONSTRATED IN THE PRIME

MINISTER'S ONE NATION STATEMENT, IS DETERMINED THAT THIS

WILL HAPPEN