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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2014
36 FORUM 2014 The ALC Forum received firsthand knowledge of how the change in the political landscape was improving the outlook for the freight logistics industry, through Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure Minister the Hon. Warren Truss MP, and New South Wales Minister for Roads and Ports the Hon. Duncan Gay MLC. Truss acknowledged the role that the Australian Logistics Council plays as the nationally recognised voice of Australia’s freight transport and logistics industry. ‘It is your members’ business to keep business moving around the country, and it is our business to make it easy for you to do so,’ he said. The ALC has been one of the strongest supporters for regulatory reform, particularly the implementation of national transport regulators and national laws for heavy vehicles, and rail and maritime safety, he said. We need to take national action to ensure that all of our transport modes – road, rail, air and maritime – are seamlessly interconnected. Truss said that progress has been made towards a national approach to freight – but he sometimes found progress disappointingly slow. He said with freight movements in Australia expected to double over the next 20 years, and treble along the eastern seaboard, we must take a national perspective. The government has made a $35.5 billion commitment over the next six years to delivering the infrastructure Australia needs, including major road and rail projects. To get the job done, and to be an ‘infrastructure government’, we are – and need to be – committed to reforms that promote efficiency and productivity. Central to this is reforming Infrastructure Australia (IA) to ensure that it takes a more proactive role in identifying our infrastructure needs at a national level. The Government will ask IA to examine policy – not just projects in isolation – so it can provide the advice that governments need – not just what they want to hear. The Government has also asked the Productivity Commission to look at ways to reduce costs and attract private investment, and to consider the risks to the Commonwealth and impacts on the Budget. Truss told guests at the ALC Annual Dinner that the Federal Coalition is committed to reducing red tape, and to working with the states to remove duplication. He conceded that the start of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has been overshadowed by a troubled start to the Heavy Vehicle National Law in early 2014. A lot of repair work is needed to fix the regulator’s systems and processes to ensure that they are up to the standard expected by operators; but the government will not walk away from this reform. Truss said the Council of Australian Government will soon consider an ambitious agenda for transport reforms, including heavy-vehicle charging. On aviation, he said that there will be no curfew at Brisbane Airport, and that the Government is committed to selecting a site for Sydney’s second airport in the first term. The Coalition Government is investing in the WestConnex Motorway, as well as in the Moorebank Intermodal Terminal, to relieve congestion around Sydney Airport and Port Botany. A second Sydney Airport will complement – not replace – Kingsford-Smith Airport. Finally, on shipping, Truss said that an options plan to look at coastal shipping will be released soon. Duncan Gay, New South Wales Roads and Ports Minister, told the Forum that New South Wales has provided historic funding levels for infrastructure, that it wants to double rail’s share of freight out of Port Botany, and that it is committed to recycling privatisation proceeds into infrastructure. The New South Wales Government is determined to improve freight outcomes for the people and businesses of New South Wales. The political perspective The Hon Duncan Gay MLC