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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2014
4 CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE The September federal election dominated the Australian Logistics Council’s advocacy efforts during the year. But far from causing ALC to chop and change as politicians so often do within the 24-hour media cycle, the election caused us to crystallise our long-term thinking. In some ways, 2013 was a very good year for logistics, transport and infrastructure. ALC has got a sense that the things we have been saying for quite a long time now – sometimes as a lonely voice – have now become part of the obvious political narrative and agenda for Australia’s way forward. In that sense, our work this year has been one of consolidation and building. We see that industry, government and informed opinion are taking on board the need to address the very large future freight and logistics task ahead of the country. The evidence of this is the development and implementation of a number of state freight and port strategies that are aiming to bring a sharper policy focus to the needs of freight. We are seeing a fair amount of consensus in things like the need to recycle government-held assets into the private sector to free up money for governments to spend on new infrastructure. Of course, there will always be debate about these issues. But ALC is noticing wider acknowledgement that cash-strapped state governments, and even the Federal Government, should not have large amounts of capital tied up in government businesses – especially logistics, electricity, water and the post – that can be run by the private sector. With that money freed, those governments – using their advantages of lower capital costs – can invest in things that the private sector would not venture into. The community as a whole would benefit, and the community as a whole is seeing the point. At last year’s ALC Forum, we had a spirited conversation about the opportunity for a larger part of the pool of superannuation money to be invested in infrastructure. It was a constructive debate, and decision-makers are taking that on board. We are seeing greater understanding of the need to reduce red tape; to cut duplication and replace it with sensible national regulation that does not burden industry; to integrate the modes of transport; to ensure that land-use planning decisions do not compromise future transport corridors; and the need to take safety seriously to reduce both economic and human costs. Naturally, every election has its play of personalities, heat and emotion. But during the 2013 election, perhaps more than any before, the important questions of infrastructure were seriously addressed. I think it would be fair to say that ALC played no small part in shaping that, and in doing so will help us have a more efficient and safe supply chain that contributes to higher living standards for all Australians. All that said, having moved closer to a consensus of views, it really is now time to deliver. It is time to take the scalpel to unnecessary regulation on the statute books, and it is time to lay some steel. Don Telford Chairman Australian Logistics Council March 2014 Message from Alc chairman Don Telford