Edited by John Stanley and David A. Hensher
Chapter 18: Australia
As a vast country settled at low density, with most of the population concentrated in a small number of low-density cities, transport policy has long been a central concern of Australia’s federal and state governments. These concerns range from shaping the major cities to capture productivity benefits and ensuring these benefits are widely shared, to coping with high and increasing levels of traffic congestion, dealing with social exclusion associated with low mobility options in rural, regional and outer suburban areas and finding efficient means of moving freight in congested cities and/or over long regional distances. These concerns are common in countries with low-density settlement patterns. They are compounded by governance and funding arrangements, which might well constitute the biggest transport policy challenges for Australia. The major governance hurdles are about overcoming long-established functional silos, which inhibit much-needed integrated approaches to land use transport planning and associated matters (e.g. housing planning), and the tendency to exclude local authorities at regional level from strategic planning and policy making, which compounds integration weaknesses. In terms of funding, state and territory governments have primary responsibility for transport matters but lack the financial capacity to manage these independent of federal funding support, notwithstanding an extensive set of privately financed toll roads. The lack of urban transport network control that is associated with extensive toll road networks adds to the policy complexities.
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