For the second time in 15 months, the NSW Parliament will be asked to pass legislation to reform the administrative structure of the state’s transport portfolio.
On 15 July, Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian and Roads Minister Duncan Gay announced that the Coalition Government will introduce legislation to dissolve the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA), NSW Maritime, the Transport Construction Authority and the Country Rail Infrastructure Authority.
The latter two authorities will have their functions absorbed into the lead transport agency, to be renamed Transport for NSW (it was formerly Transport NSW). The functions of the RTA and NSW Maritime will combine to form a new body called NSW Roads and Maritime Services.
“Transport for NSW will take charge of major procurement and long-term planning and policy, meaning for the first time we will see a co-ordinated and holistic approach to public transport,” said Berejiklian in a media release.
While the proposed legislation will integrate the transport agencies further than has been done in the past, it builds on a process that was tentatively begun by the Labor Government when it passed its Transport Administration Amendment Bill in May 2010.
The Bill appointed Transport NSW the lead agency for the portfolio, giving its Director-General oversight for all of the transport bodies and control over a single transport budget. It also abolished agency boards.
Then Transport Minister John Robertson told Parliament that the objective of the change was to “create an integrated approach to the delivery of transport services and infrastructure that results in a greater effort by public sector agencies as to what is best for the community rather than simply complying with their own set of priorities.”
The Coalition have hinted towards a transport integration since the party took office in April 2011, announcing plans for the establishment of an Integrated Transport Authority (ITA), which has now been given the more public-relations friendly title of Transport for NSW.
This move is unlikely to impact the ICT functions of these agencies, as the transport portfolio has already made the leap to shared services.
In December 2010 Intermedium reported that corporate services staff from throughout the portfolio had been seconded to the Transport Shared Services division, and that the division was up and running.
At the time, all corporate services staff were told that they would keep their jobs despite the transfer. This guarantee may dissolve under the Coalition’s reforms, with The Sydney Morning Herald reporting that 100 staff will be cut from across Transport as a result of the restructure.
Transport for NSW is currently assessing candidates to fill the six Deputy Director-General positions that will cover the six agency divisions.
The divisions are:
- Customer Experience
- Planning and Programs
- Transport Services
- Transport Projects
- Freight and Regional Development
- Policy and Regulation
Up to 200 applications have been received for each position. All of the Deputy Directors-General will answer to Director-General Les Wielinga.
The legislation will be tabled when Parliament next sits on 2 August.