Accessible Communities funding extended
The Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs' (FaHCSIA's) Accessible Communities initiative is currently open for applications. Applications for funding were due to close at 2.00pm AEDST Friday 25 February 2011.
In response to the communities affected by recent disasters and extreme weather events which have impacted on the ability of these local governments to develop and lodge an application, FaHCSIA has been asked to consider extending the closing date for Accessible Communities applications.
To ensure that the process is fair and equitable the extension will be offered to all applicants. Therefore the application period will now be extended to 2.00pm AEDST Friday 25 March 2011. Local governments that have already completed an application will be given the opportunity to resubmit by the closing date at 2.00pm AEDST Friday 25 March 2011.
Accessible Communities is a Commonwealth Government initiative announced by the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, and the former Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services, Bill Shorten, in July last year. It is designed to support one of the outcomes under the new National Disability Strategy - inclusive and accessible communities.
Under this initiative the Commonwealth Government will provide $5 million in 2010-11 for funding of up to $100,000 to local governments providing matched funding. Accessible Communities aims to make local buildings and public spaces more accessible for people with disability so they can fully participate in the community.
For further information and recent updates on Accessible Communities please visit the FaHCSIA website or by emailing email@example.com.
Draft National Freight Strategy
The Federal Government has released for public comment the draft National Freight Strategy. The Strategy is a blueprint for a national, integrated and multimodal transport system.
With freight volumes nationwide set to double between 2007 and 2030, the Federal Government has released its draft plan to cope with this much greater demand.
The draft strategy was prepared by Infrastructure Australia and the National Transport Commission (NTC) and sets out a long-term program of reform and investment. Together with the National Ports Strategy, the final National Freight Strategy will assist the Federal Government shape the nation's future transport.
There is no funding attached specifically to these strategies and projects will have to compete with other budget priorities in the future.
To obtain a copy of the draft Strategy and provide feedback click here. Submissions close at the end of April.
The draft Strategy proposes the following actions:
- Identifying the existing and yet-to-be built roads, rail lines, intermodals, ports and airports which will link together to form a workable, national freight network. As part of this process, consideration would be given to opening up more roads to bigger vehicles, establishing dedicated freight routes and separating passenger trains from freight trains;
- Protecting land corridors from urban encroachment and making sure they are not lost to other activities. In the longer term, such preservation efforts will save money, ensure the timely delivery of new or upgraded infrastructure and minimise conflict within the local community;
- Putting in place a long term capital works program which prioritise projects of greatest strategic important and draws on the financial resources of both the public and private sectors. The Strategy also highlights the benefits and cost-effectiveness of using new technology to get the most out of existing infrastructure;
- Reforming the way the transport industry is regulated, with the goal of replacing the existing state based arrangements with one set of nationwide laws; and
- Implementing improved data collection and establishing benchmarks to monitor performance and make international comparisons.
Key freight statistics:
- Truck traffic is predicted to increase by 50 per cent between 2010 and 2030 - from 5.7 to 8.5 billion kilometres;
- Rail freight is expected to increase 90 per cent between 2010 and 2030 - from 235 to 445 billion tonne kilometres;
- The number of containers crossing the nation's wharves will increase by 150 per cent between 2010 and 2030 - from 6.2 to 15.4 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU)
- International air freight carried to or from Australia has more than doubled over the last twenty years and is expected to increase by almost 110 per cent between 2010 and 2030 - from 5.5 to 11.4 billion tonne kilometres.
Climate change framework announced
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has outlined that a two-stage plan for a carbon price mechanism will start with a fixed price period for three to five years before transitioning to an emissions trading scheme.
The Government will propose that the carbon price commences on 1 July 2012, subject to the ability to negotiate agreement with a majority in both houses of Parliament and pass legislation this year.
The framework has been agreed by Government and Greens members of the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee (MPCCC). The other members, Mr Tony Windsor MP and Mr Robert Oakeshott MP, have agreed that the proposal should be released for community consultation.
The Committee will continue to discuss other important elements of the proposal including the starting level of the fixed price, any phasing in of sectors of the economy, and assistance for both households and industry.
Members of the public and interested parties who wish to provide input on this approach should contact: MPCCC@climatechange.gov.au, or write to:
The Multi-Party Climate Change Committee Secretariat
GPO Box 854
Canberra ACT 2601
Further information in relation to this proposed approach is available here.
NSW Shires endorse one Association
The Shires Association of NSW has agreed to progress the formation of a single association to represent Local Government in NSW. More than 150 representatives from 78 shires gathered in Sydney this week to formally discuss and finalise the 27 principles that were agreed to at the Local Government and Shires Associations' (LGSA) One Association Convention in Sydney in August 2010. President of the Shires Association, Cr Bruce Miller, was extremely pleased with the outcome and the next step on the journey to one Association. A draft constitution for the new Association is currently being considered by all NSW councils, and will require formal endorsement by all members of both Associations at future annual conferences.
Federal Government backs down on bull bars
The Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport, Catherine King, has announced that she has directed the Department of Infrastructure and Transport to withdraw the Regulation Impact Statement proposing the adoption of an international standard on pedestrian safety. The international standard is not compatible with the current design of bull bars.
Ms King said: "Following careful consideration of the views and concerns put by individuals and stakeholders, I have decided that the proposal is not suitable for Australian conditions. While the Government is committed to improving the safety of pedestrians, we also recognise that bull bars play a positive role in the safety of vehicle occupants. In no circumstances will the Government consider banning bull bars or contemplate any lessening of the protection they provide. We are committed to ensuring that people remain fully protected in animal strikes and other hazardous situations where bull bars play a key role."
Ms King has now asked her Department to consult with interested parties on the options for improving pedestrian safety.
Rebuilding after the floods
The Commonwealth Government has set up a dedicated 'Rebuilding after the Floods' website. It includes a range of information like key facts, frequently asked questions and links to useful websites. The website also includes details about the temporary flood reconstruction levy.
As part of its negotiations with the Australian Greens to support the Government's legislation on the flood levy, the Government has agreed to return the previously announced saving of $60m to the Solar Flagships program over the period to 30 June 2015. The Government has also agreed to re-phase $40 million into the period to 30 June 2015 that was previously allocated to the period beyond 30 June 2015.
The Solar Flagships program is part of the Australian Government's $5 billion Clean Energy Initiative to support the development of commercial solar technologies. The Government expects to announce the outcome of Round 1 of the Solar Flagships program in mid-2011.
The Greens also raised the issue of the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) with the Government. In response, the Government confirmed that the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) will not lapse in 2014-15. The scheme is being capped at 35,000 homes in the years up to 2014-15, consistent with current industry tracking.
The net impact of these negotiations on the budget is $150 million, made up of $100 million for the Solar Flagships Program and $50 million for teaching and learning grants. This will be offset in the upcoming Federal Budget in May.
Airport community consultation
The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, has announced details of community aviation consultation groups at each capital city airport and eleven smaller ones across the country. This is in line with the Government's Aviation White Paper.
The airports in State and Territory capitals will also be required to set up high level planning coordination forums to improve coordination and foster regular dialogue with government planning authorities on future developments and ground transport access.
Some 4.7 million Australians live within 10 kilometres of one or more of the 19 federally leased airports, with more than a quarter of a million people living within 10 kilometres of two of these airports (Sydney and Melbourne).
The boards will be independent and will engage with local residents and the broader community on issues such as noise, disability access, environmental concerns, ground transport linkages and future developments.
The Minister released guidelines to help the airports set up their groups. Guidelines are here.
The groups will be in place at all 19 federally-leased airports listed below:
|Airports required to have community consultation groups ||Airports required to have planning coordination forums|
|Adelaide ||Sydney |
|Adelaide ||Melbourne |
|Archerfield ||Brisbane |
|Alice Springs ||Perth |
|Bankstown ||Adelaide |
|Brisbane ||Canberra |
|Camden ||Darwin |
|Canberra ||Hobart |
|Darwin || |
|Essendon || |
|Hobart || |
|Jandakot || |
|Launceston || |
|Melbourne || |
|Moorabbin || |
|Parafield || |
|Perth || |
|Sydney || |
|Townsville || |
Multicultural Policy launch
Australia's Multicultural Policy has been launched by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen who said multiculturalism had 'strengthened Australian society.' The changes include beefing up the Australian Multicultural Council which will advise the government on how best to direct government services to new migrants. The government will also establish a national anti-racism and partnership strategy. The title of junior minister Kate Lundy, formerly the Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and Citizenship, will be changed to Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs. click here to view Minister Chris Bowen's speech at the Sydney Institute to launch the policy.
Bankstown Airport Master Plan not approved
The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, has announced that he has not approved Bankstown Airport's 2010 draft Master Plan.
He was not satisfied that the draft plan gave the community sufficient information about the airport's plans to allow for proper consultation. In its proposed Master Plan, Bankstown Airport sought approval for up to 32 passenger flights a day.
This would be a significant change given the airport does not have any passenger flights at present. Bankstown Airport is now required to develop and submit a new draft master plan following proper public consultation. The current master plan remains in force until a new one is approved.
Minister Albanese reiterated that Bankstown will not be Sydney's second airport although the Government supports the operation of secondary capital city airports vital to general aviation, such as Bankstown.
Over the longer term, the Government is examining Sydney's aviation needs and has established a joint taskforce with New South Wales to report on the capacity needs for the Sydney Basin, including sites for a second airport.
Call to ban smoking at play, sports grounds
The Tasmanian Greens have called for smoking to be banned around playgrounds and all children's sporting and recreation venues. Greens' Health spokesman Paul O'Halloran says there's a wealth of evidence that children learn patterns of behaviour from the adults they see around them. And despite smoking rates dropping around Australia since the 1990s, smoking in Tasmania has not declined at the same rate, with a quarter of adults and one in eight youth reporting they smoke.
New Urbanism and Smart Transport International Conference
Troy Pickard, Mayor for the City of Joondalup, WA and President of Western Australia Local Government Association, and Vice-President of ALGA, will address the New Urbanism International and Smart Transport 2011 Conference, being held at Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth in September 2011. The conference aims to inspire and connect professionals, public servants, academics and citizens to seek, develop, and exchange views on innovative New Urbanism, Sustainable Urbanism, Road Management and Transit Oriented Development (TOD). Registration is now officially open, with early bird registration closing on 30 July 2011. To register, please click here or to submit an abstract, please visit the website.
New DVD on international women students in Australia
A new documentary on international women students is available now to all local councils and council libraries.
Lost in Transition, Mate! Is a 15-minute video focusing on the journeys and struggles of female international students as they strive to integrate into a new culture. The program features students from many different ethnic backgrounds. With humour and insight, they tell revealing stories about their lives in Melbourne, views of multiculturalism and efforts to negotiate cultural difference.
The Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women's Coalition (VIRWC) produced the program to tell the stories of female international students who live in Victorian communities. VIRWC is the peak advocacy body for immigrant and refugee women in Victoria. Since 2005, VIRWC has also assisted female international students with work placements, information, referrals, and leadership training. The DVD is a valuable resource for all local council libraries, government agencies, colleges, universities, and community organisations. Copies can be obtained by contacting VIRWC: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 9654 1249. For more information on the project visit the Lost in Transition website.
Land transport news articles
Selected land transport-related news items from Australia and overseas compiled by the ARRB Group Ltd:
- Article and short clip where researchers from Missouri University of Science and Technology discuss their studies of increasing the amounts of fly ash in concrete mixes. View item
- The City of Melbourne Council have announced they will proceed to tender for the proposed implementation of a range of parking management technologies, including in ground sensors, licence plate recognition and parking payments via mobile phone. View item
- A Canadian University will research sustainable pavement to build better, greener roads. View item
Quote of the week
"People are just sitting on the side of the road, their heads in their hands. This is a community that is absolutely in agony." - New Zealand Prime Minister John Key speaking about the earthquake that devastated Christchurch
Alternative fuels have the potential to gradually replace fossil energy sources and make transport sustainable by 2050, according to a report presented to the European Commission in Brussels. The EU will need an oil-free and largely CO2-free energy supply for transport by 2050 due to the need to reduce its impact on the environment and concerns about the security of energy supply. The expert group has for the first time developed a comprehensive approach covering the whole transport sector. Expected demand from all transport modes could be met through a combination of electricity (batteries or hydrogen/fuel cells) and biofuels as main options, synthetic fuels (increasingly from renewable resources) as a bridging option, methane (natural gas and biomethane) as complementary fuel, and LPG as supplement. The Commission is currently revising existing policies and the report will feed into the "initiative on clean transport systems", to be launched later this year. The initiative intends to develop a consistent long-term strategy for fully meeting the energy demands of the transport sector from alternative and sustainable sources by 2050. According to the report, alternative fuels are the ultimate solution to decarbonise transport, by gradually substituting fossil energy sources. Different modes of transport require different options of alternative fuels. Fuels with higher energy density are more suited to longer-distance operations, such as road freight transport, maritime transport, and aviation. Compatibility of new fuels with current technologies and infrastructure, or the need for disruptive system changes should be taken into account as important factors, determining in particular the economics of the different options. Report of the European expert group on future transport fuels is available here.