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Transcript of doorstop: Tullamarine Airport, Melbourne: 2 May 2008: Meeting of the Australian Transport Council; a national heavy vehicle registration and licensing scheme; road safety initiatives.

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DRAFT: Doorstop at Tullamarine Airport, Melbourne - 2 May 2008

ISSUES: Meeting of the Australian Transport Council; a national heavy vehicle registration and licensing scheme; road safety initiatives

ANTHONY ALBANESE: Today, the nation’s transport ministers signed off on an historic agreement for a new beginning for a national transport system. From 1 July, 2009, we'll have a national system of licensing and registration for heavy vehicles. There are 375,000 truck licences in Australia, and we need to make sure that we have a national system of licences, because trucks are all about mobility, and they don't recognise state borders.

This is a first step towards a fully integrated

national transport system. We need to recognise that transport is all about mobility, and that's why we need to move forward towards a national system.

The transport ministers agreed to report back in

November about how this first step for heavy vehicles could be translated into a national licensing and registering system for all vehicles.

We also considered the issue of national road

safety, and how we [can] progress national standards.

This is an important reform that's been

progressed by the transport ministers today, and is about moving towards a seamless national market when it comes to the provision of transport. It's consistent with the recommendations that came out of the 2020 Summit hosted just two weeks ago by the Prime Minister. What business has said is that they want to get rid of regulation, get rid of different systems in different states, and make sure that we work towards harmonisation in the interests of consumers and the general public, but also in the interests of economic efficiency.

QUESTION: Was the issue of public transport raised at all today, Minister?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: It was also agreed, consistent with the statements that we've made in the past week, that the Federal Government is prepared to engage once again in our urban policies, including public transport. You can't have a strategy for moving freight, without a strategy for moving people, and we need to develop an integrated transport system, in which the national government works with the states on issues including urban public transport and dealing with urban congestion.

This is an important change from the previous

government's approach, which ignored urban public transport, which ignored the need for engagement with our cities. And it's consistent also with the announcement I made on Wednesday, that the Rudd Government will establish a Major Cities Unit to address issues such as urban congestion, public transport, road and rail in our cities. It's important that the Commonwealth play a role in urban infrastructure.

QUESTION: What is this going to mean for the industry?

ANTHONY ALBANESE: This will mean certainty for the industry. Industry is concerned that we have a whole series of regulations that differ from state to state. If you build a boat, for example, in one state, when it moves to another state, because there are different standards, it needs to go through a whole new accreditation system. If you are someone who operates a commercial vessel in one state, you move to another state, you need to get a new licence, and you need to go through a whole new process.

We need to make sure that in all these transport

modes, we have a seamless national market, because that's what's economically efficient, and that's what recognises the fact that today the public are far more mobile than they've ever been before.

The other issue that was determined today was

to progress reform towards a National Road Safety Council. We still have far too many deaths on our roads. Today I released figures showing that motorcyclists are 23 times more

likely to be killed than drivers of motor vehicles. These sorts of statistics show that we're losing far too many people, particularly young people, from road accidents. This national approach, which will be progressed at the next meeting of the Transport Council, is also another significant breakthrough.



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