The Hon Luke Donnellan MP - travel report - UK, Sweden and Netherlands, 11-22 September 2015

  • Minister The Hon. Luke Donnellan MP
  • Portfolio Minister for Roads & Roads Safety, Minister for Ports
  • Countries visited United Kingdom, Sweden, Netherlands
  • Date of travel 11 September 2015 – 22 September 2015
  • No. of official travel days: (including date of departure and date of return) 11 days
  • Number of accompanying ministerial staff:1
  • Accompanied by spouse in an official capacity: No
  • Funding for the overseas trip was paid by: Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
  • Air fares (including taxes and fees) $31,576*
  • Accommodation (including taxes and fees) $17,400*
  • Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances) $9,192*
  • Travel cost for minister and staff $58,168*
  • *The above costs are not final and complete

Purpose of travel

The broad purpose of my travel to the United Kingdom, Sweden and Netherlands from 11 to 22 September 2015 was to support my role as Minister for Roads and Road Safety and Ports.

I also have the responsibility for the development of Active Transport policy. Key objectives of the trip included:

  • Presenting at a gathering of world leaders in London on road safety / mobility. Consideration of the adoption of a 'star rating' for roads that could be used as a measure of safety was a key part of the agenda;
  • Exposure to discussion and presentations that build on my understanding of best practice approaches to road safety that could contribute to Victoria's road safety strategy;
  • Experiencing first-hand international 'best-practice' port operations to inform my understanding of potential measures that could lead to efficiency gains in Australian port operations; and
  • Meeting with officials and experts who have led development of a city encouraging and embracing active transport.This will directly inform and assist delivery of the Government's election commitment to develop an Active Transport Strategy with a focus on increased participation and safety among cyclists and pedestrians across Melbourne and regional cities.

Benefits of travel to the state of Victoria

Representing Victoria at strategically significant event
I had the privilege of speaking at an international road safety forum in London. Much of the focus of the forum was on the United Nations adoption of a new 'Development Goal' to reduce road fatalities globally by 50% in the next 5 years.

The UN is hosting only its second ever road safety forum later this year. It is a challenging time for the international community on road safety, and I hope that we can make a generous contribution to addressing this global challenge.

Integrated transport planning

  • In London I met with representatives from Transport for London and discussed their approach to 'integrated all-modes transport system management'. Transport for London uses a 'whole of network' approach to network management that oversees coordination of all transport modes, servicing and planning. This includes system planning such as integration of traffic co-ordination systems, licensing, delivery and servicing plans and the issuing of permits.
  • I also visited Transport for London's Surface Transport and Traffic Operations Centre (STTOC). This integrated centre monitors and coordinates official responses to traffic congestion, incidents and major events in London. London Buses Command and Control Centre (CentreComm), London Streets Traffic Control Centre (LSTCC) and the Metropolitan Police Traffic Operation Control Centre (MetroComm) were all brought together under the STTOC umbrella.

Best practice approaches to road safety

  • In Sweden I travelled to Stockholm to meet with representatives of the Swedish Transport Administration, Trafikverket, a key government agency in Sweden. Trafikverket is responsible for long-term infrastructure planning for all modes of transport: road, rail, shipping and aviation. It owns, constructs, operates and maintains all state-owned roads and railways and operates a large number of ferry services.
  • I also met with Mr. Erik Bromander, State Secretary to the Minister for Infrastructure, Anna Johansson, and discussed Sweden's 'Vision to Zero' initiative.
  • My visit to Sweden allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of best practice approaches to road safety that could contribute to Victoria's own road safety strategy and, in particular, our 'Towards Zero' campaign which represents a new approach to road trauma reduction. Both the campaign and the strategy support Victoria's efforts to make every journey on the state's roads a safe one through seeking to ensure that all Victorians are safer drivers, driving safer cars, at safer speeds, on safer roads.

Port infrastructure and the future in Victoria

  • On my trip I met with a number of key leaders at major international ports to inform my understanding of some of the opportunities and challenges for ports in regard to automation, land transport interface and community support. The discussions were particularly relevant for the Port of Melbourne and the development of future port options.
  • In London, my team visited DP World's London Gateway, a significant new port development on the north bank of the River Thames in Thurrock, Essex, east of central London. London Gateway comprises a new deep-water port, which is able to handle the biggest container ships in the world, as well as one of Europe's largest logistics parks that provides direct and efficient access by road and rail to London and the rest of Great Britain.
  • I also toured the Port of Felixstowe and met with its Chief Operating Officer to discuss current international experience and challenges in port operations and landside connections. The Port of Felixstowe is Britain's largest and busiest container port, and one of the largest in Europe. The port handles more than 3.7million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) annually and welcomes over 3,000 trading ships each year, including the largest container vessels afloat today – a key competitive advantage of Felixstowe is that offers some of the deepest water with good access to the open sea of any European port.
  • Whilst in the Netherlands I took the opportunity to visit the Port of Rotterdam and tour its extensive facilities. The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and consists of five distinct port areas and three distribution parks that facilitate the needs of a hinterland with 40,000,000 consumers. At this Port I was able to observe first hand world's best practice operations in action. The Port of Rotterdam handles huge numbers of containers, but is able to transport them efficiently through a major city to their destinations through an effective mixture of road and rail transport that doesn't adversely affect amenity.

Review of safety measures for cycling and supporting infrastructure in urban and mixed use environments

  • I also visited the Netherlands to inform my understanding of cycling and the infrastructure we will need to support the significant growth in the use of bikes as a key mode of transport in urban and mixed use environments in Victoria. Cycling makes up 27% of all journeys in the Netherlands. In Utrecht, where I visited, this percentage is even higher. In Victoria this figure is only about 2%, but growing rapidly. Driven by community demands for safety, and a desire to improve air quality, the Netherlands is making significant investments in cycling infrastructure in line with increasing use of bicycles.
  • I observed that cycling numbers in Utrecht remained largely unchanged in either fine or inclement weather, and most cyclists travelled at a modest pace. There was no hint of recreation or sport – just a utilitarian approach where residents commute to work or university. It was clear that railway stations were a key destination; I observed thousands of bikes being stored at those that I visited.
  • Utrecht is considered a world-class cycling city. Its local government is keen to build on the 90,000 cyclists that have been supported through ongoing initiatives to make cycling safer and more convenient.