Freight priorities identified

The Australian Government has released the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities Report which makes 54 recommendations relating to transport modes operating in Australian freight logistics.

The Inquiry Report sets out 54 priority actions for governments to take in relation to investment, reform and governance of Australia’s freight industry.

The Independent Expert Panel developed the report with significant industry input, including drawing on 127 submissions and one-on-one meetings with more than 200 individuals from 28 peak industry bodies and 90 businesses. It concluded strong support exists within industry for an overarching national strategy.

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC), which released a final submissions, Freight Doesn’t Vote, as part of the inquiry, said the recommendations show the huge task facing governments and industry in the development of an effective National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.

“It is pleasing that so many of the Inquiry Report’s key recommendations closely align with those put forward in ALC’s submission. This means the government has clearly heard the industry’s message,” ALC Managing Director Michael Kilgariff, said.

“The report articulates the challenges that are hampering greater supply chain efficiency and safety – a lack of data, antiquated planning practices, poorly coordinated infrastructure investment and poor appreciation of freight’s economic importance.

“This report now gives all governments the opportunity work cooperatively to develop a coherent and effective Strategy that addresses each of these priority areas.”

A key recommendation in the report is for the establishment of an Industry Advisory Group to monitor progress in implementing the strategy.

“We urge the Federal Government to move swiftly to establish this body, and attach clear deadlines to key milestones within the strategy when it is released in November (2018),” Mr Kilgariff said.

“We look forward to engaging closely and cooperatively with industry and all governments to progress the rollout of an effective strategy.”

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael McCormack, said the report paves the way for the development of a strategy which improves the competitiveness of Australian businesses and delivers for consumers by making it faster, easier, and less expensive to move goods.

“We know the national freight task will almost double over the next 20 years, which presents a challenge and opportunity to work with industry to maximise the benefit from the sector which already contributes around ten per cent of our productivity,” Mr McCormack said.

“I thank the panel for its report, which provides a platform for government to look at opportunities to drive efficient and sustainable freight logistics while balancing the freight needs of a growing economy and ensuring the sector and the community share the benefits too.

“I am looking forward to partnering with all levels of government, industry, and the broader community on delivering the strategy to ensure we meet the freight needs of the future.”

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) welcomed the release of the report, which it said also reflects many of its policy priorities, particularly in the areas of corridor protection, heavy vehicle pricing, short haul rail, consistency between state and federal plans, and improved land use planning.

“The final report provides a range of recommendations across the critical areas of investment, governance and reform which are critical to improving the efficiency and productivity of the freight rail sector,” ARA CEO, Danny Broad, said.

“The rail industry is pleased that key recommendations include the sector playing a direct consultative role in the strategy’s development and a formal advisory role thereafter.

“The recommendation to adopt an Industry Expert Panel as part of the development of a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, including widespread industry engagement is vital to ensuring a future freight and supply chain strategy meets the needs of our industry.

“Furthermore, continuous input through an Industry Advisory Group to monitor progress with implementation of a National Strategy will ensure that a national strategy is on track with broad consensus and support.”

Mr Broad said they were also “pleased to see a recommendation linking all new infrastructure funding to achieving freight outcomes in planning and decision making at all levels of government.

“Now that we have a report that highlights what our National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities should look like, we need to continue momentum by focusing on how the recommendations can be implemented through a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.”

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