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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2018
67 FUTURE FREIGHT NETWORKS 2018 Actions from the National Freight and Supply Chain Inquiry Chaired by ALC Managing Director Michael Kilgariff, the first panel session at ALC Forum 2018 set the scene for two days of discussions by providing attendees with firsthand insight into the thinking that has emerged as a result of the Inquiry Into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities. The panellists included three members of the Expert Panel that advised the Inquiry. Pip Spence, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, began the session by confirming that the Draft Report of the Inquiry was due to be handed to the Minister shortly. The intention is to work with state and territory governments throughout the year on the development of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, with a view of it being dealt with by the November 2018 meeting of the Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC). She also said that it was essential for industry to remain engaged in the process. This point was echoed by Expert Panel member and Qube Managing Director Maurice James, who suggested that beyond the publication of the Strategy, industry had an obligation to ensure that governments keep to their commitments – and make certain that recommendations and initiatives don’t get lost in political cycles. He also remarked upon the fact that the Inquiry process had highlighted one obvious challenge that industry and governments alike must address: the lack of reliable data about the performance of freight networks and the efficiency of supply chains. He suggested that a single independent agency should be tasked with collecting and analysing data so that it can be used in planning. The independence of such an agency would help to address concerns over confidentiality and access, thus building industry support for the collection of data. Nicole Lockwood, Principal at Lockwood Advisory and another Expert Panel member, built on this point, noting that the lack of data makes it almost impossible to gauge Australia’s performance on supply chain efficiency compared to our competitors. The business adage ‘what is measured can be managed’ holds true for our supply chains, and the Strategy needs to find practical ways to rapidly enhance the use of data to enhance performance. NSW Ports CEO and Expert Panel member Marika Calfas concurred, noting that it was genuinely surprising for the Inquiry to discover just how little useful data there is, particularly for comparative purposes. She further noted that much more needs to be done to integrate freight transport into land use and planning decisions. Freight logistics operators require 24/7 operational flexibility, yet many of our present planning regimes do not take this into account. This results in impractical conditions being imposed when planning approvals are granted (particularly for residential Pip Spence, Maurice James, Marika Calfas, Nicole Lockwood and Philip Davies