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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2011
33 FUTURE FREIGHT NETWORKS 2011 working to replace century-old, ill- matched state and territory based regulations with one nationwide set of modern rules for maritime safety, rail safety and heavy vehicle operations. The year 2013 is a major stepping stone in the evolution of a truly national regulatory environment, moving on from the current poorly- integrated state and territory patchwork cobbled together during a period of over 100 years. Minister Albanese emphasised that once the national regulatory framework was in place in the year 2013, the national regulators would create a more seamless Australian economy, simplify the compliance task for transport operators, and boost national income by up to $2.4 billion per year. Together with the recent releases of the nation’s first ever National Ports Strategy and first ever National Freight Strategy, the Forum was enlivened by the prospect of real change to create a national capability focused on delivering national results, rather than being held hostage to a diversity of competing state and territory interests. There was a palpable sense of there being a bountiful variety of national and indeed international opportunities out there. Some enterprising Australian operators are of course already well represented across a diversity of international initiatives. But everyone was also well aware that there is still a lot of real work to be done right across this nation to make all those grand visions happen. There is always the chance of the slip between cup and lip, so you can never ‘set and forget’ – the world is too competitive, and moves too quickly and unpredictably. The Forum took place over two days and was well attended, with an excellent representation that also included industry heavyweights who were able to offer a diversity of insights into opportunities, successes, failures and challenges, as well as highlighting what they think needs to be done. Attendees were welcomed by Don Telford, ALC Chairman, who emphasised that this is a time for important changes to be energetically carried across all aspects of the industry. The forum was then officially opened by the honourable Denis Napthine MP, Victorian Minister for Ports, Minister for Major Projects, Minister for Racing and Minister for Regional Cities, who provided a range of interesting insights into the approach and priorities of the newly elected Victorian Government. The first session of the Forum was entitled ‘National Transport Regulatory Reform’, and addressed the critical issues of how we transform the regulatory environment to reflect a truly national (and international) perspective. Chaired by Michael Kilgariff, CEO of the ALC, the speaker line-up included Nick Dimopoulos, CEO of the National Transport Commission; Julie Bullas, National Project Director of the National Rail Safety Regulator Project Office; and Richard Hancock, Project Director of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator Project Office. This was followed by the Plenary Session, which addressed the issue of ‘Freight Networks for the Future’. Chaired by James Kirby, Managing Editor of Business Spectator, this session provided a variety of perspectives from senior figures such as Jim Marshall, Executive General Manager Postal Services, Australia Post; Mike Mrdak, CEO of the Department of Infrastructure and