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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2014
28 ALC POLICY AFTER THE ELECTION: STRONGER SUPPLY CHAINS, A STRONGER AUSTRALIA NOVEMBER 2013 Stronger Supply Chains, A Stronger Australia outlines ten critical logistics issues requiring ongoing government focus and attention to improve supply chain efficiency in Australia. 1 Reducing Red Tape 2 Harnessing Greater Private Sector Investment in Infrastructure 3 Improved Project Identification 4 A National Approach to Freight 5 A Nationally Consistent Regulatory Framework 6 Getting More Freight Onto Rail 7 Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment Reform 8 Intermodal facilities 9 Improved Freight Planning 10 Fixing Sydney STRONGER SUPPLY CHAINS, A STRONGER AUSTRALIA A Ten Point Plan to Improve Supply Chain Efficiency in Australia The Australian Logistics Council published in July 2013 its election priorities document ‘Time to Deliver’ which called for action on a range of projects and reforms to improve supply chain efficiency in Australia. Following its election win, the Coalition has committed to a number of steps that will potentially improve supply chain efficiency, including two key legislative reviews, proposed reforms to Infrastructure Australia and funding for major infrastructure projects. These initial first steps by the Federal Government are welcome, however, there is more to be done to increase productivity, reduce red tape and improve safety in the freight logistics industry. In November, ALC published ‘Stronger Supply Chains, a Stronger Australia’, a 10-point plan to improve supply-chain efficiency in Australia. It was delivered to all MPs and Senators, but its message was directed to all levels of government. It seized the opportunity of a change of government to push for significant change. The plan also wanted to move beyond the Coalition’s election promises – important as they are – and to concentrate on the delivery of some major projects and reforms. Reducing red tape topped the list. Shipping and road transport were both unnecessarily encumbered by the previous government. Restrictions on coastal shipping and the extra layer of bureaucracy and regulation caused by the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal must be removed, ALC argued. The new Government has gone a fair way towards recognising that, and ALC will watch with some vigilance as reviews of these laws unfold. ALC repeated and strengthened its call to harness greater private-sector investment in infrastructure, principally through asset recycling and tapping into the superannuation pool. Again, ALC will watch how the realignment of Infrastructure Australia unfolds, beyond mere change of personnel, into an engine to boost private- sector investment in infrastructure. ALC also stressed the need to streamline bidding processes for projects. The third point was to better identify and prioritise infrastructure projects to get the best productivity gain rather than for political, sectional or geographic reasons. On freight (items 4 to 9), ALC argued for a national approach across the modes; to get more freight on to rail; for nationally consistent regulation; to ensure that charging for heavy vehicles and that road construction is done on an economically rational basis; and to promote more efficient intermodal facilities, such as Moorebank, so freight can move more efficiently from port to rail and road. ALC also argued for improved freight planning so the demands for freight are not crowded out by poor land-use planning – especially by housing – and dominance of passenger transport, both public and private. Lastly, ALC argued for ‘fixing Sydney’ – the biggest impediment to improving the efficiency of Australia’s freight network. Improved movement of freight from Port Botany requires the WestConnex project to focus on freight; good sense demands a second Sydney airport at Badgery’s Creek as soon as possible; and greater use of high-productivity vehicles on the now fully duplicated Hume Highway should be encouraged. ALC is pleased that some progress has been made with stated intentions, but it is now time to deliver on these reforms to maximise their benefits to industry and the broader Australian community.