TRANSPORT, COMMUNICATIONS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
The Committee and its Predecessors
- Senate Standing Committee on Infrastructure
(Appointed 22 September 1987)
- Senate Standing Committee on Transport, Communications and Infrastructure
(Appointed 24 November 1987)
The membership of the Senate Standing Committee on Transport, Communications
and Infrastructure in December 1990 was as follows:
Senator D.J. Foreman (ALP, SA) (Chair)
Senator H.G.P. Chapman (LP, SA)
Senator J.P. Faulkner (ALP, NSW)
Senator C. Kernot (AD, QLD)
Senator I.D. Macdonald (LP, QLD)
Senator J.H. Panizza (LP, WA)
Senator C.C. Schacht (ALP, SA)
Senator the Hon. P.A. Walsh (ALP, WA)
A full listing of membership and Committee Chairpersons on the Senate
Standing Committee on Transport, Communications and Infrastructure other
related committees are listed in an attachment to this section. Other
attachments to this section include lists of committee secretaries and
reports tabled by the committees.
The Work of the Committees
The Committee was established in September 1987. Unlike the other seven
Standing Committees it did not have any predecessors. Prior to September
1987 matters relating to this Committee were covered by the other Standing
or Select Committees (e.g. The Proposed Takeover of Ansett Transport Industries
Ltd by Thomas Nationwide Transport Ltd, by the Standing Committee on Industry
and Trade in 1972). In addition to conducting its inquiries the Committee
in November 1987 was given the role, together with its counterpart committee
in the House of Representatives, of oversighting the work of the Joint
Sub-Committee on Variations to the Plan of Layout of the City of Canberra
and its Environs. In April 1988 when the Joint Sub-Committee on the Canberra
Leasehold System was established it too came under the same oversighting
In November 1987 the Committee commenced its first inquiry, the examination
of the tendering procedures for the coastwatch contract. By February 1988
the coastwatch contract had become the subject of litigation and as the
matter was sub-judice the Committee suspended its inquiry. The proceedings
in court were protracted and the Committee decided in May 1990 not to
proceed with its inquiry as the issues involved were no longer relevant.
Sydney Airport Inquiry
The Committee commenced in June 1988 an inquiry into the adequacy of
the international terminal building and aircraft handling facilities at
Sydney Airport. It conducted an inspection of the facilities and held
public hearings in Sydney and Canberra. A contentious issue during the
inquiry was whether an additional runway should be built at the airport.
In its report in December 1988 the Committee concluded that because work
on a second airport was to be accelerated the construction of an additional
runway, at the same time, would be uneconomic but the option should not
be dismissed completely. The Opposition members of the Committee in a
dissenting report called for the immediate building of an additional runway.
In its response to the report in August 1990 the Government stated that
subject to an environmental impact study the option for an additional
runway for Sydney Airport would be considered.
Federal Airports Corporation and Civil Aviation Authority Inquiry
The next inquiry commenced in May 1989 and the Committee investigated
the organisation and operations of the Federal Airports Corporation and
the Civil Aviation Authority. For this inquiry an additional four members
were appointed to the Committee. In the course of the inquiry the Committee
held nine public hearings and inspected seven airports. The Committee's
report in December 1989 recommended that both organisations should improve
their organisational structures, staff recruitment practices, their consultative
processes with their clients and they should review the appropriateness
of their regulatory procedures. One member of the Committee added a dissenting
report which in essence stated that to have the two organisations is wasteful
since they are providing complementary services.
The Government responded to the report in August 1990 agreeing with the
thrust of the Committee's recommendations but not supporting the views
expressed in the dissenting report.
Very Fast Train Inquiry
Currently the Committee is conducting an inquiry into aspects of the
proposal for a Very Fast Train (VFT). After the 1990 elections the Committee
tabled an interim report in May advising that it intended to continue
with the inquiry. Public hearings have been held and further hearings
are envisaged once the preferred VFT route has been announced. The Committee
reported early in 1991.
In May 1990 the Committee tabled its first report on the examination
of the annual reports of departments and statutory authorities, referred
to it by the Senate for report. The Committee examined the annual reports
of two departments, eighteen statutory authorities and three companies.
In December 1990 the Committee tabled its second report on annual reports
in which it examined 12 reports received by the end of November 1990.
On 24 August 1990 the Committee had referred to it the Airlines Agreement
(Termination) Bill 1990. The Committee did not receive or propose any
amendments to the Bill and in its report of 13 September 1990 recommended
to the Senate that consideration of the Bill should proceed without amendment.
The Joint Sub-Committee on Variations to the Plan of Layout of the City
of Canberra and its Environs existed from November 1987 to May 1989. Its
role was to report on intended modifications or variations to the plan
of layout of Canberra. It held public hearings and conducted inspections
of the proposed modifications. In total the Sub-Committee presented four
reports between September 1988 and April 1989 and there were no Government
responses required to be made to the reports.
The Sub-Committee on the Canberra Leasehold System was appointed in April
1988. It held two public hearings and reported to the Senate in November
1988 stating among its recommendations that the Commonwealth should retain
the ownership of land in the Territory. One Sub-Committee member, in a
dissenting report, called for land tenure to be based on the principle
of freehold. The Government responded to the report in November 1990.