The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has raised concerns that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the freight logistics industry to serve consumers and businesses due to increasing restrictions on vehicular access in CBD areas across Australia.

ALC Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff, said, “To put it bluntly, Australia’s cities are not freight-friendly. This is an inevitable consequence of planning systems that do not properly account for freight movement.

“Australia is already one of the most highly urbanised countries in the world, and a significant proportion of the residential and employment growth projected to occur in the years ahead will be heavily concentrated in CBD areas.

“Accordingly, if we wish to grow our cities and ensure their continuing functionality and amenity, we must adopt policies which can support an increasing freight task.

“Yet, increasingly many of our urban planning systems and policy-makers pursue policies that impede urban freight delivery, especially in CBD areas, by limiting access for heavy vehicles.”

Mr Kilgariff said a central business district is a place of business, that can only grow by ensuring goods are delivered in a timely fashion.

“At the moment, a lack of adequate street loading zones, as well as new residential and commercial buildings with poor (or non-existent) freight delivery facilities are already making CBD delivery a more cumbersome and costly exercise,” Mr Kilgariff said.

“Banning vehicles from city centres altogether – as some advocate – is neither realistic nor desirable. Suggestions that bicycle deliveries alone could accommodate the freight needs of CBD businesses and residents in high-rise CBD apartment complexes are pure fantasy.

“You cannot deliver a large screen TV, or a family’s weekly groceries, using a bicycle. Our planning systems must facilitate efficient freight movement, while also protecting amenity.

Freight Doesn’t Vote – ALC’s submission to the Discussion Paper on National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities – includes several suggestions from industry for dealing with the challenges of CBD freight delivery, including reverse curfews, trialling urban consolidation stations, and establishing freight-only infrastructure to facilitate more efficient deliveries.

“The movement of freight is essential to the everyday functionality of Australia’s cities. Without policy changes that facilitate greater efficiency in freight delivery, the primary purpose of our CBDs – to be places of business – is in jeopardy.”

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