This year was like no other; one underscored by innovation and learning through COVID-19. While the majority of NTC staff spent large periods in lockdown and more than 75 per cent of the year working from home, the NTC has continued to deliver and expand on its program of work both in what we do and how we do it.
The performance statements in this report provide more detail on the NTC's delivery and achievement for the year. Some of the highlights include:
delivery of the National Rail Action Plan with further work and funding to support initiatives including a National Rail Skills Hub
delivery of the first research report showcasing lessons learned from four years of automated vehicle trials in Australia
significant progress in developing a national safety framework for the commercial deployment of automated vehicles in Australia
amendments to the Australian Road Rules to cover personal mobility devices and innovative vehicles such as e-scooters
progressing the review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) into the reform implementation stage which the NTC will lead through a two-year HVNL Safety and Productivity Program.
Another milestone was the launch of the inaugural National Women in Transport forum – a partnership between the NTC, Infrastructure Australia and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. This initiative was recognised by transport and infrastructure ministers in May 2021 where they agreed to take action at a national level to support increased participation by women in the transport sector.
This year the NTC embedded its remote employee strategy which saw appointments of new staff based in South Australia, Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland. This innovation—expedited by COVID-19 settings—allowed the NTC to be more actively involved with local partners on the ground. The NTC also partnered with Infrastructure Australia in a reciprocal arrangement to host remote-working staff at respective offices in Melbourne and Sydney.
The NTC’s hybrid working arrangements, established due to COVID-19, presented a valuable opportunity to test and try new things. At the beginning of the pandemic, the NTC adopted an almost completely digital and online model of engagement. Throughout this year, we trialled new ways to work with others online. Lessons that we learnt internally we tried with our external partners and vice versa. Staff were central to shaping the organisation’s new approaches, particularly through embracing different ways of working.
With staff working remotely and online, keeping people engaged and learning from each other was a priority. An important feature for staff development during 2020/21 was the Thought Leadership Program, where staff heard from a range of speakers across Australia and shared their own experiences and perspectives. I am pleased to report an increase in staff engagement in this reporting year – a positive shift in a single year, particularly in the context of COVID restrictions and work from home settings.
I want to congratulate and thank all staff for continuing to deliver high-quality, valued work during extenuating circumstances this year. Given these circumstances, it was great to see how everyone cared for their colleagues and supported each other through the year. Their energy and dedication have helped embed different ways of working and shaped the organisation’s achievements throughout the year. And I extend my thanks to NTC partners and my fellow commissioners for their ongoing commitment to improving land transport outcomes across Australia.
Gillian Miles Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner