International engagement

The department operates within a context of global challenges that affect Australia's future prosperity, and the ability to develop safe, stable and efficient transport systems, and open transport markets. International engagement bridges the natural barrier created by Australia's geography.

Together with portfolio agencies, we play a vital role in shaping and driving Australia's part in the global transport environment to increase certainty and economic stability, avoid impediments to trade, adverse impacts on industries or regulatory burdens. We are also a key contributor to global dialogue on transport infrastructure projects, regional development and cities.

Our international engagement priorities help achieve the department's vision and purpose, and contribute to Australian foreign policy objectives.

International engagement purpose

The department engages internationally to:

  • shape the international transport environment to create opportunities for more liberalised transport markets that are safe, sustainable, and promote Australian interests.
  • inform and draw from international best practice to enhance Australia's domestic policy settings for transport, infrastructure, cities and regions to support our mission for great cities, strong regions, connecting Australians.

International engagement objectives

The department engages internationally to achieve three objectives.

  • Influence international agreements and standards to align international and Australian interests in transport and related future technologies enabling safer, sustainable, more efficient transport systems and more open trade.
  • Build capability and learn from international experience to develop and implement Australia's transport, infrastructure, cities and regions policies.
  • Meet international obligations and contribute to Australian foreign policy and trade initiatives.

International engagement approach

International engagement is about building and maintaining effective relationships. Our approach, based on persuasion and mutual advantage, positions us to exchange information (ranging from policies, technical standards, procedures, training, research and development, to issues and threats), develop compatible standards, influence policy and regulatory developments, and undertake cooperative and capacity building projects.

Bilateral engagement priorities

We partner with like-minded countries under both formal Memorandums of Understanding or informal agreements to develop compatible standards, influence policy and regulatory developments, and undertake cooperative and capacity building projects. We also participate in bilateral exchange programs to support professional development and build the Department's capability, for example through the Canada Australia Public Policy Initiative (CAPPI).

We assist regional partners to strengthen their transport standards in order to meet international obligations and to mitigate any risks that affect Australia or Australian interests. Currently, we assist Indonesia, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Pacific Island countries on transport safety.

Multilateral and regional fora engagement priorities

Our multilateral engagement is balanced between international standard setting organisations, international forums that promote global and regional dialogue on transport issues, and informal groups setup to drive specific issues in standard setting organisations.

International standard setting organisations Work Stream
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
Director-General's Civil Aviation Asia Pacific Meeting
International Maritime Organization Maritime
UN Working Party 29 – Vehicle Standards
UN Working Party 1 – Road Traffic Standards
Transport technology
UNECE Committee of Experts on
Transport of Dangerous Goods on Roads
Global dialogue Work Stream
ITS World Congress Transport technology
International Transport Forum (ITF) Transport
OECD Regional Development Policy Committee Regional and urban development
Regional dialogue Work Stream

Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO)


Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)


Memorandum of Understanding Regarding the Automotive Industries of Michigan and Australia

On 17 May 2023, the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, the Hon Catherine King MP, signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, to underpin ongoing partnership between Australian and Michigan automotive and transport technology sectors. This MoU replaces an earlier MoU, that was signed in 2018, and will be in place until 2028.

The MoU was signed while Minister King attended the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Transportation Ministers Meeting in Detroit, Michigan.

The 2023 MoU outlines shared commitments to combatting climate change and promoting emission reductions outcomes, improving collaboration on future technologies for the sector, and enhancing supply chain connectivity.

Supporting transport sustainability and decarbonisation of vehicles are fundamental to future growth and prosperity. Michigan is an important partner to Australia, as the state is a long-standing global centre of automotive industry innovation.

The MoU acknowledges the important role industry and the research sector has in driving innovative and the development of new technologies. Australian organisations named in the MoU include Austroads, Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Australia, the Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem (AIMES) Consortium, the University of Melbourne and Swinburne University of Technology. Other organisations may be invited to participate.

The MoU also recognises the important role that engagement such as this can have in advancing outcomes for First Nations people, including in particular promoting greater engagement with First Nations people in the automotive sector.1

Download the Memorandum of Understanding Regarding the Automotive Industries of Michigan and Australia.

Engagement through overseas posts

The department uses international representation in strategic locations to support delivery of international engagement priorities. Posts locations are:

  • Australian Embassy, Beijing, China
  • Australian Embassy, Jarkarta Indonesia
  • International Civil Aviation Organization Headquarters, Montreal, Canada
  • PNG Government, Port Morseby, Papua New Guinea

The department also uses the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Austrade posts for information gathering, expert local knowledge, and representation where the department does not have a permanent presence.

Collaboration and coordination with portfolio and other Australian Government agencies

We work closely with our portfolio agencies to achieve international engagement objectives and ensure our international activities are coordinated, consistent and targeted appropriately. While portfolio agencies drive their international engagement efforts, the Department leads collaboration and coordination on regional capacity building, and engagement through ICAO and IMO working groups and panels.

We actively engage with key Commonwealth agencies, such as the departments of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), Foreign Affairs and Trade, Austrade, Treasury, and Home Affairs to join-up efforts to progress broader foreign policy goals. Our contribution to Australia's trade agenda is predominantly related to aviation, maritime and vehicles, however we also contribute to Australia's aid, public diplomacy and soft power initiatives as well as global commitments such as United Nations 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

Information for International Organisations

The department is committed to work collaboratively with international organisations and foreign counterparts to progress the global transport agenda and share information and practices.

Visiting delegations

To request a delegation visit, please contact Please submit your request at least two months in advance or proposed date and include:

  • Name of your agency or Ministry
  • Contact person details: Name, Title, Email Address, Telephone, if contact is in Australia or your home country
  • Date of proposed visit
  • Name and title of the head of the delegation and number of officials attending
  • Purpose of the visit, including specific topics to be discussed
  • Previous contact or visits with our department
  • List of other Australian organisations/Ministers you may also be visit during this trip.

The department will let you know if we are able to meet your request within 15 days of receiving your completed request.

Speaking invitations

International Organisations wishing to invite an official of the department to speak at their event please contact In your request please include:

  • Name of your organisation
  • Contact person details: Name, Title, Email Address, Telephone, if contact is in Australia or your home country
  • Name, date and location of the event (supporting information on event is appreciated)
  • Topic of speech/presentation/panel
  • Expected audience
  • Department officer you wish to participate and why.

The department will let you know if we are able to meet your request as soon as possible after receiving your completed request.

Note: This MoU is general in nature and outlines commitments by participants. It is not binding under any international or domestic law and is therefore not subject to Australia's treaty-making processes.