ALC welcomes focus on freight in new Federal Ministry

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has congratulated Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his decision to incorporate freight transport as a specific responsibility in his revamped ministerial line-up.
“The Prime Minister is sending an important message to our industry and to the wider community with this announcement,” Kirk Coningham, CEO at ALC said.
“ALC especially welcomes the appointment of Hon. Scott Buchholz as Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport. It is significant that freight transport is now a specific portfolio title within the ministry, and highlights that enhanced supply chain performance will be a priority for the re-elected Coalition Government.”
“ALC also congratulates Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Michael McCormack MP on his re-appointment as Minster for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, and Hon. Alan Tudge MP on his elevation to Cabinet as Minster for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure.”
“We also welcome Hon. Sussan Ley MP as Minister for the Environment, and congratulate Senator Hon. Matt Canavan on again being appointed Minster for Resources and Northern Australia.”
“During the election campaign, ALC released Freight: Delivering Opportunity For Australia which sets out 39 priority actions for the incoming Federal Government that address challenges and opportunities relevant to all modes of freight transport.”
“ALC will be pursuing the matters contained in this publication with the re-elected Coalition Government, and ensuring that supply chain efficiency and safety is appropriately prioritised in government policy making.”
“The most urgent priorities are the finalisation the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, establishing the National Freight Data Hub, making certain that electric freight vehicles form part of the National Electric Vehicle Strategy the Government has committed to develop, and doing more to enhance freight infrastructure in Northern Australia, so we can take advantage of the region’s proximity to growing export markets.”
“ALC also congratulates Hon. Anthony Albanese on his appointment as Leader of the Opposition. Given his vast experience in dealing with infrastructure related matters, there is now a genuine opportunity to build a long-term approach to infrastructure planning and investment that is truly bipartisan in nature. ALC hopes to work closely with both the Government and the Opposition in furtherance of that objective.”

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Fix the truck laws and save families $400 a year: ATA

The next Australian Government must fix the national truck laws – and save families more than $400 per year, the CEO of the Australian Trucking Association, Ben Maguire, said.
Mr Maguire was releasing a new report from Deloitte Access Economics about the economic benefits of improved regulation in the Australian trucking industry.
“In the eastern states and South Australia, trucking operators are regulated by the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), which determines the trucks we can use and the access permissions that are required,” Mr Maguire said.
“In 2011, it was predicted that the law would deliver up to $12.4 billion in economic benefits.
“This devastating independent report shows that the law has failed. It shows that the productivity of the transport, postal and warehousing sector has fallen every year since the law came into force in 2014.
“We need the next Australian Government to support measures to improve the industry’s productivity, including:

  • Streamlining the issue of road access permits.
  • Establishing an external, independent review process for access applications.
  • Linking road funding to improving access for high productivity trucks.

“The benefits of these reforms would be considerable. According to the report, fixing the law would:

  • Save the trucking industry $1.8 billion a year by 2050.
  • Reduce vehicle operating costs by 3.7 per cent.
  • Reduce the costs of Australian industries by $900 million a year.
  • Save a typical Australian household more than $400 per year on their everyday household purchases.

“The next Australian Government must press on with the current review of the HVNL and the Productivity Commission review of the economic impact of the COAG national transport reforms.
“There needs to be substantial reform, not just tweaking or promises of future action. At the same time, however, the vital safety reforms that came into force in 2018 must be preserved,” Mr Maguire said.
The ATA commissioned the Deloitte Access Economics report to support its members in providing input to the Heavy Vehicle National Law and Productivity Commission reviews.
Read the Deloitte Access Economics report.
 

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Parties must get real on freight: ALC

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has expressed concern regarding the lack of focus from all sides of politics on Australia’s supply chain and freight in election campaign policy announcements. Read more

Ports Australia sets three election priorities

Ports Australia has released its three priority policies, ahead of the 2019 federal election, that the organisation believes will save Australians money, increase our international competitiveness, strengthen the economy, create jobs in regional areas and help reduce congestion in our cities.
The policies also come with a warning of an impending maritime skills shortage.
According to Ports Australia, the three policies work together to promote a more efficient freight and supply chain through mode neutrality, smarter regulation and job creation.
“Ports are the starting and finishing points for exports and imports heading to and from Australian businesses and households.”
“With our growing population and even faster-growing freight task it is imperative that we start developing and implementing effective long-term plans for our freight network to support this country.
“We believe that an Australia with better-connected Ports that utilise the strength of each transport mode; the flexibility of trucking, connectivity of rail and capacity of shipping, can be a more internationally competitive country with a lower cost of living.
“Our policies also include a caution that poor national freight and infrastructure planning will have compounded negative results. Of concern is the dwindling pool of maritime skills in this country able to run the Ports, Australia’s trade and economic gateways,” Mike Gallacher, Chief Executive, Ports Australia said.
The three policies are:
1. Improving Lives Through Connected Ports
Currently 80 per cent of all freight trips to and from a port are conducted by truck adding to city congestion. By better connecting Ports with rail and road networks and planning approaches to allow for sensible development around Ports, governments can reduce overall congestion, pollution and maintenance costs while increasing road safety through efficient and strategic truck movements. Corridor protection and planning to link Ports with industrial zones and regions will also play a significant role in creating a liveable future for our cities.
2. Building Maritime Skills
Because Ports handle almost all our physical trade, Australia is particularly vulnerable to impacts created by a workforce lacking maritime skills. Ports require highly specialised people who have had decades of experience to fill crucial Ports roles; harbour masters, pilots, tugs masters, hydrographers and land side operators.
“Over 60% of skilled people in the sector are over 45 while the number aged under 30 is reducing. Ports around the country, particularly regional Ports, are struggling to recruit adequately skilled people for specific roles.”
“Government needs to find ways to increase opportunities for Australians to enter the maritime industry. Our Ports around the country already run cadetship, internship and graduate programs but more needs to be done given there is a shortfall in mariners not just in Australia but globally,” Mike said.
3. Using Australia’s Blue Highway
Australia’s freight task will double by 2030 after already increasing by 50 per cent over the past 20 years. Our current and planned infrastructure cannot handle the growth in freight movements. With over 80 per cent of our population living within 50 km of the coast Australians are connected by the Blue Highway, an underutilised transport mode.
“Unfortunately, only 15 per cent of our domestic freight task is moved by ship. We believe more non-time specific freight such as construction materials and fuel can be moved along our blue highway.  This frees up space on our roads and rail while providing training opportunities for Australian mariners.”
“Ports are a part of Australia’s future success story and we look forward to working with the government on implementing policies to support Australians through their Ports.
“Freight cooperation and planning is also part of the story. We urge all political parties to reach a bi-partisan agreement on strategy and for the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy to be released within in the first 100 days of the incoming government,”Mike concluded.
 
 

National supply chains must be key election focus

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has welcomed confirmation that the federal election will be held on 18 May.
The election announcement coincided with the inaugural meeting of ALC’s Northern Australia Working Group, which took place in Darwin.
“It is fitting that the election announcement has come on the same day that ALC’s newly-formed Northern Australia Working Group meets for the first time, because so much activity in this region underpins Australia’s economic performance,” said ALC CEO Kirk Coningham.
“Our Working Group brings together freight logistics companies, infrastructure owners, local and state government representatives and other key industry organisations to advocate more effectively for investment in Northern Australia’s freight infrastructure, and work with policy makers to get regulatory settings right.”
“ALC has formed this Working Group because we recognise that Australia’s ability to take full advantage of free trade agreements recently signed with rapidly growing Asian markets rests on our ability to get our export products to market, efficiently and safely.”
“It is vital to make certain that Northern Australia has the road, rail, port and air freight infrastructure necessary to get products demanded by our trading partners to their destination as quickly as possible. This is particularly important when it comes to agricultural goods and other consumables, where freshness is highly prized by overseas customers.”
“Enhanced supply chain performance in Northern Australia is important for the entire nation, because freight does not stop at state borders. A key focus for the next Parliament must be to ensure greater national consistency in our approach to the movement of freight.”
“In the coming days, ALC will be releasing a comprehensive statement of the freight logistics industry’s policy priorities for next Parliament.”
“Chief among these will be to build on the bipartisan commitment to finalise the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, and work with state and territory governments to ensure its effective implementation,  so that Australians can share in the benefits that come from improved supply chain performance – wherever they live,” Mr Coningham said.
 

Rudd promises high-speed rail network

Labor has promised to deliver high-speed rail between Sydney and Melbourne by 2035, with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd pledging $52 million to get the multi-billion project up and running.

 Rudd said his government would introduce a bill to preserve a 1748 kilometre rail corridor between Melbourne and Brisbane, and set up a new committee to oversee the delivery of the infrastructure project.

"This is an exciting project for Australia's future," Rudd said.

The funding pledge comes on the back of a final report by the High Speed Rail Advisory Group which recommended completion of the first stage of a high speed rail network between Sydney and Melbourne, via Canberra, by 2035.

Once finished, a train journey between the two cities would take only two hours and 44 minutes.

The journey would stop in the Southern Highlands, Wagga Wagga, Albury Wodonga and Shepparton.

Rudd said the 2035 rail plan would be cheaper than the Coalition’s paid parental leave scheme, The Australian reported.

"Put that into context – what is more necessary for the nation's future?" Rudd told reporters.

"A high speed rail network which links these vital cities along Australia's east coast, or an unaffordable, unfair paid parental leave scheme?"

The second stage of the project, from Sydney to Brisbane, would be built via the Central Coast and Newcastle.

According to a pre-feasibility study released by the Labor government in April, a fast train rail line between Melbourne and Brisbane has an estimated price tag of $114 billion.

The study found the rail line was viable, with the possibility of returning $2.30 to the economy for every dollar invested.

The line could carry 84 million passengers a year, with 19 million trips between Sydney and Melbourne.

Although no money was handed down for the project in the budget earlier this year, the $52 million promised by Labor would be used to finalise the track alignment and stations locations with state governments.

It would also conduct market testing to identify private sector interest and capital cost estimates.

Transport Minister Anthony Albanese talked up the economic benefits of the project.

"This is a project that stacks up," Albanese said.

"What's more it would lead to the creation of jobs, some 10,000 jobs during the construction phase."

Tony Abbott says a coalition government would focus on quick wins when it came to infrastructure funding.

"I'd much rather spend money now to get better outcomes tomorrow, rather than in 40 years' time," he told reporters.

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