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QUESTION – Department of Transport

May 30, 2019 | Parliament

Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (12:41): My question is to Minister Jennings as the Leader of the Government in this place. In early April Premier Andrews announced a new mega transport department that would include VicRoads and Public Transport Victoria. However, there has been complete radio silence on this since this announcement. So given media reports that this new mega department will take control in just over a month’s time on 1 July, I ask the minister to please share details of the agencies included in and the responsibilities of the new department and whether there will be any job losses resulting from the agency mergers and any new ministerial roles in this new mega agency.

Mr JENNINGS (South Eastern Metropolitan—Leader of the Government, Special Minister of State, Minister for Priority Precincts, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) (12:42): I have had a very quiet time in question time this week, but not today. We have certainly been covering a bit of territory today. I thank Mr Barton for his question. In relation to the department that has been brought together to acquit the government’s $40 billion infrastructure investment program, which is a complete revolutionising and rebuilding of the public transport system and development of transport infrastructure, road and rail, across the state in an unprecedented fashion, I thank him for the opportunity to actually talk about the creation of that new entity, the Department of Transport, that brings together the construction side through the metropolitan transit authority, through VicRoads and the other agencies that actually come together, such as the level crossing authority. We will be working in conjunction with the authority to actually acquit on the huge infrastructure build.

But then there are the agencies that actually work on delivering the services, whether it be, in terms of the services that we actually provide, Public Transport Victoria, V/Line or VicTrack, which is the agency that holds Victorian public transport assets, fixed assets and landholdings. It brings together the elements to deal with our waterways, whether they be ports authorities, the rural channels authority and various port entities. In that context, if it has a connection to water, it also actually incorporates the work of my colleague, Minister Pulford; it brings together all her work in terms of roads, road safety and fishing in relation to those responsibilities.

It also has a number of regulatory responsibilities and that includes commercial passenger vehicle regulation, and it also includes the chief investigator of transport safety. So all those regulatory bodies come together within that agency. It comes together on 1 July. We are actually hoping that it can manage all of those responsibilities, get the projects underway, get our systems working more effectively, get our regulatory environment working more effectively and get all of those elements coming together. That is the story—1 July.

Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (12:44): Thank you, Minister. Earlier media reports suggested there are provisions for additional transport-related government agencies to be added at a later date. So can I ask the minister: will Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria be moving into this new entity?

Mr JENNINGS (South Eastern Metropolitan—Leader of the Government, Special Minister of State, Minister for Priority Precincts, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs) (12:45): In fact it is probably the core that other parts are coming into. So the answer is yes. There will be a consolidation of all of those entities that I described—they will be consolidating come 1 July. From that, up until then and beyond that time, there will be considerations about the way in which the accommodation systems, operating systems, legal systems, financial management systems may all come together, so there may be some efficiencies that are brought together at an administrative level. This is actually not driven by necessity in relation to the staffing profile, but it is actually relating to issues about the efficiencies and the interconnectedness of all of those big moving parts of the biggest transport agenda we have ever seen.

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