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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2017
8 MANAGING DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE With the number of issues occupying public attention seeming to grow exponentially, it has never been more important for Australia’s logistics industry to have an active and powerful voice articulating its views in policy debates. Looking back at some of the issues that ALC has engaged with over the past year confirms that the profile of our industry is growing, as decision-makers begin to better appreciate our centrality to achieving success in key policy areas. The next step is to have our contribution better appreciated by the public at large. This will allow us to overcome some of the obstacles that have historically prevented improvements in supply chain efficiency, particularly around planning and the development of infrastructure. The Prime Minister’s announcement in November 2016 that the federal government had agreed to ALC’s recommendation that a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy be developed was a breakthrough moment for the freight and logistics industry in Australia. But we can’t afford to rest on our laurels. As bitter experience has taught us, there have been plenty of strategies developed over the years that simply become monuments to inaction, gathering dust in forgotten-about corners of the bureaucracy. Neither our industry, nor the Australian economy, can afford for a similar fate to befall the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy. ALC will therefore take a highly active role in the Strategy’s development, and is already working closely with the government and industry to make certain that what emerges from this process is a Strategy that is sufficiently comprehensive and flexible to meet the needs of a rapidly changing environment. Of course, the National Strategy will also require cooperation from state and local governments if it is to succeed, particularly given the salience of planning issues for freight and logistics operators. Over the past year, we have seen enormous political pressure being exerted upon government by the opponents of key road infrastructure projects, with the end result being that projects are either modified in a way that limits their effectiveness or, in some cases, abandoned altogether. Ultimately, this approach merely compounds the present capacity challenges in our supply chain. Accordingly, ALC is continuing to engage with governments at both the state and municipal level to make sure that decision- makers take sufficient account of the nation’s growing freight task when making investment decisions. As events here and around the world have demonstrated during the past year, we are living in a volatile political climate. As a result, it’s becoming more difficult than ever to get governments – of all political colours – to focus on policymaking for the longer term. ALC’s continuing challenge, therefore, is to remain a visible and vocal presence in national debates, and to demonstrate that what is good for the freight and logistics industry is also good for local communities, consumers and job creation. Michael Kilgariff Managing Director Australian Logistics Council Message from ALC Managing Director Michael Kilgariff