PT reform in NT

BIC has submitted its ideas on how public transport users could benefit from reform in NT

More direct public transport action is needed, the Bus Industry Confederation (BIC) suggests in its submission to the Northern Territory Government on the draft National Remote and Regional Transport Strategy.

The Federal Government has asked individual state and territory governments to submit their ideas on how transport can be made more efficient and effective in regional areas within their jurisdiction.

The NT Government has now prepared a draft document and will present the final version to Federal Government, once all submissions have been considered.

Stronger official partnerships between industry and the Northern Territory Government would help facilitate better outcomes in the public transport sector, according to the BIC submission.

"There is a clear and distinct focus on road and private transport, however we would like to see a greater focus on initiatives associated with public transport," it reads.

"We acknowledge the document is not an action plan, that it is a strategy, nonetheless more detail on public transport initiatives will enhance the document."

BIC encourages stronger partnership between the NT Government and industry and suggests the establishment of a Regional Access Committees (RACs) in NT, made up of bus operators, taxi services, local councils and representatives of the NT Government.

This would establish a central point to coordinate transport delivery and facilitate better public transport outcomes in the long term.

BIC is hopeful the National Remote and Regional Transport Strategy may help minimise the regulatory burden on bus and coach operators, by making rules and regulations for operators more consistent between all states and territories.

A barrier to progress – in BIC’s eyes – is the inconsistent way value is quantified when appraising the benefit of new public transport initiatives from one state or territory government to another.

"It is clear that there are different understandings of what constitutes value for money, both within and among Australian jurisdictions," it reads.

"Each jurisdiction has their own definition of value for money."

BIC suggests a national framework for measuring social value, similar to what has been implemented in the UK, would help overcome current inconsistencies and constraints.

Although the process has just begun, BIC is pleased at the Federal Government has committed to addressing the challenges associated with remote and regional transport.

"A national infrastructure planning and assessment guideline that reflects remote and regional transport needs is supported by BIC," it reads.

"The BIC believes that this, in line with a national rural and remote arterial road network development plan, is critical for remote and regional Australia to improve its economic contribution."

Any new taxation arrangements or funding models to support services in NT should be assessed only after agreeing on the National Infrastructure and Assessment guideline, BIC says, and not until after a minimum standard of access for remote and regional services has been set.

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