Transport activities involve inherent risks to safety. Governments have a role in encouraging and informing safe practices as well as ensuring that safety standards are not compromised by commercial pressures. At the same time, regulation should achieve safety objectives while minimising compliance costs and barriers to innovation, the latter being key to productivity growth and improved living standards.

Key points:

  • COAG’s harmonisation reforms established national laws and national regulators for heavy vehicles, rail, and domestic commercial vessels
  • By most measures, heavy vehicle and rail safety continue to improve, largely due to new technology and infrastructure investments.
  • Safety regulation across the three modes is a mix of prescriptive and outcomes based regulation. Amending safety regulation to create a more flexible, outcomes-based approach should improve safety and lift productivity.
  • The COAG reforms were expected to unlock large efficiency gains for heavy vehicle operators. While gains have been made, the forecasts were optimistic and have not been achieved.
  • There are significant opportunities for COAG, regulators and industry to further promote safety and productivity.
Publication Details


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Productivity Commission Inquiry Report No.94