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4.14 Infrastructure and Regional Development Portfolio

The role of the Infrastructure and Regional Development Portfolio is to develop policy advice and provide services to support an efficient, sustainable, competitive, safe and secure transport system for Australia through investment in and regulation of road, aviation, rail and maritime transport modes. The portfolio is also responsible for assisting government in achieving improvements to the social, economic and environmental outcomes for Australia’s regions.

The Infrastructure and Regional Development Portfolio receives total resourcing of $4.2 billion in 2013-14, of which $3.6 billion is administered funding and $638.4 million is for departmental purposes. Around 2,700 people are employed in the portfolio.

The minister administers 91 pieces of legislation ranging from the ACT Self-Government (Consequential Provisions) Act 1988 to the Urban and Regional Development (Financial Assistance) Act 1974.

Table 4.14.1: Portfolio resourcing: Infrastructure and Regional Development

Funding ($'000)







Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development





Australian Maritime Safety Authority





Civil Aviation Safety Authority





National Transport Commission





Australian Transport Safety Bureau





National Capital Authority










Source: Department of Finance. 2013-14 Budget updated for machinery of government changes.
(1) As individual entity resourcing includes inter-agency transfers and payments, total resourcing for the portfolio may be overstated by this amount.


In addition to the funding outlined above, the Department also oversees a significant amount of infrastructure funding provided through Treasury as part of National Partnership agreements with the States, and also to local governments. Each year, the Commonwealth makes around $5 billion of payments to the States for infrastructure purposes.

Included in the portfolio is the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, which has responsibility for aviation safety through the development and administration of safety regulation and by encouraging industry to deliver high standards of safety. The portfolio also houses the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which has responsibility for maritime safety, commercial vessel standards, protection of the marine environment and maritime, land and aviation search and rescue.

The portfolio also has three significant government business enterprises. Airservices Australia provides air traffic control management and related airside services to the aviation industry. The Australian Rail Track Corporation is a government-owned corporation with the primary role of providing access to train operators over that part of the interstate rail network under its management. Moorebank Intermodal Company was established to develop the Moorebank site in Sydney (currently a military base) as an intermodal terminal.

The major programmes of the portfolio include the Nation Building Program Investment targeting national highway and rail projects that will deliver high national benefits, including improving efficiency and safety. The Nation Building Roads to Recovery programme provides funding for projects at a local level. Funding is allocated to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development. Each local authority across Australia is guaranteed a share of the programme funding, determined by a formula, based on population and road length, set by the local government grants commission in each State and Territory. Finally, the Financial Assistance Grants to Local Government assists local governments in service delivery and infrastructure for those communities.

The Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme is intended to alleviate the comparative interstate freight cost disadvantage incurred by shippers of eligible non-bulk goods carried between Tasmania and the mainland, and the Bass Straight Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme likewise is intended to alleviate the cost of sea travel across Bass Strait for passengers accompanying a vehicle.

Chart 4.14.1 is a graphical representation of the relative size of bodies within the Infrastructure and Regional Development Portfolio.


Chart 4.14.1: Infrastructure and Regional Development

This chart shows the Department and Portfolio agencies, as described above, diagrammatically.

This chart shows the Department and Portfolio agencies, as described above, diagrammatically.