The BCA makes this submission giving consideration to Australia’s long-term economic prosperity, as it is the strength of Australia’s economy and viability of Australia’s businesses that will ensure we are able to respond to economic, social and environmental challenges.
This submission to the National Transport Commission Review Steering Committee outlines the key foundation strategies which should underpin infrastructure reform including reforms in the transport system in Australia and discusses how the National Transport Commission could play a key role in supporting these strategies.
The development of Australia’s future infrastructure including transport infrastructure should be underpinned by the following foundation strategies:
- Effective national (not state-based) infrastructure markets, including national or uniform regulation.
- Market-based prices that send the appropriate signals to consumers and suppliers (cover long-run marginal costs, reflect time of use).
- Public investment processes that are integrated across governments, forward looking, based on consideration of all options and favour projects with the highest (and published) benefit–cost ratios.
- Effective competition in all contestable (non-network) market segments.
- Private ownership as the preferred model in all contestable market segments.
- Regulation of infrastructure that does not discourage investment seeking to meet expected demand.
The NTC can play a critical role in ensuring these strategies underpin the next phase of transport reform. In particular it has the capacity to provide the overarching integrated long-term planning frameworks for transport and as a result of this, through the Australian Transport Council (ATC) implement the necessary policies and provide advice and recommendations to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) where appropriate.
The NTC can play a critical role in championing effective transport system planning, national transport markets, uniform regulation, market-based pricing, effective financing options and effective competition.
However, successful transport system reforms require a well-functioning federal system. There is an opportunity for all governments to develop and adopt a more comprehensive and ambitious reform agenda for transport and make improvements to the effectiveness of supporting bureaucratic structures.
An effective working relationship between our three levels of government and a commitment to decision making that serves the national interest is therefore critical to success.