The Coalition has ordered the Productivity Commission to review the economic impacts of the recently-established national regulators in Australia’s maritime, trucking and rail sectors.
Deputy prime minister and leader of the Nationals Michael McCormack said the national regulatory system, established through COAG reforms, was designed to deliver improved safety and a national productivity benefit, which would now be reviewed.
The reforms saw the establishment of the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR), along with parallel national regulators for heavy vehicles and maritime.
“With many COAG transport reforms in place and operating for a number of years, now is the time to examine whether they are working in a way which boosts productivity and promotes safety,” McCormack said.
“These reforms—which established a national regulatory system—were designed to provide productivity gains for the economy and reduce the compliance burden on the transport industry by cutting duplication and multiple fees.
“By making sure the reforms are working as they were designed to, we can continue to support the transport industry to create jobs and opportunities for Australians into the future and keep goods moving around the country efficiently and safely. It will also help us shape a sensible approach to future regulation which helps truckies, train drivers and transport companies do what they do best while making sure safety remains the top priority.”
McCormack said a review of the reforms’ impact was further warranted by the increased focus on the key role freight plays in supporting Australia’s living standards.
“The Liberals and Nationals are investing to help Australia meet the growing freight task, both through better and safer roads and transformational projects such as the Inland Rail and Western Sydney Airport,” he said.
The Commission is due to report to Government within 12 months of commencement, and will undertake broad public consultation, it said.