Ahead of the Federal Budget release, the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) says the Federal Government must invest in infrastructure and initiatives that will allow Australia to meet its burgeoning freight needs.

ALC Managing Director, Michael Kilgariff, said 2018 is a critical year for Australia’s freight logistics industry, which will culminate in the release of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy around November.

“However, there are a number of pressing priorities that can easily be advanced prior to the release of the strategy – and the Government should demonstrate its commitment to enhanced supply chain efficiency and safety by supporting them in next week’s budget,” Mr Kilgariff said.

“These include a number of critical initiatives set out in ALC’s 2018-19 Commonwealth Budget Submission, which built upon the industry expectations outlined in Freight Doesn’t Vote, ALC’s major submission to the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities.

“In particular, the duplication of the freight rail line at Port Botany must be supported. This has been identified as a priority project for many years, and will have efficiency benefits that would be felt well beyond the confines of NSW. Continued delays to the completion of this project will have significant economic consequences.

“Similarly, the Government should build on the investment made in Inland Rail last year by supporting dedicated connections to key ports, and by making freight rail projects eligible for funding support under the existing National Rail Program.”

ALC is also urging the Federal Government to establish a Freight Strategy and Planning Division within the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, to ensure that the movement of freight is effectively monitored, analysed and prioritised in policy-making, and that the strategy can be implemented smoothly.

“As was clear from discussions at ALC Forum 2018, a lack of data about supply chain performance is a major frustration for industry participants. This was further underscored in last week’s Infrastructure Partnerships Australia report, Fixing Freight: Establishing Freight Performance in Australia. Establishing a body that can effectively fill this gap and help guide more effective investment decisions is critical,” Mr Kilgariff said.

“An efficient and safe supply chain is an essential precondition for boosting national economic growth. Next week’s Federal Budget offers a chance to lay the groundwork that will permit the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy to be effectively implemented once finalised.”

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