National transport reforms have led to some improvements in the rail regulatory regime, but much more needs to be done to achieve the full benefits of reform.

Rail reforms: two steps forward, one step back

“National transport reforms have led to some improvements in the rail regulatory regime, but much more needs to be done to achieve the full benefits of reform,” said ARA CEO Danny Broad, in summarising the ARA submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into National Transport Regulatory Reform. Read more

b-double-truck stopped by police truck laws

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.
 

Container-vessel-entering-Port-of-Newcastle-freight-politics

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

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.
 

Biosecurity levy must not go ahead: industry

Australian industry groups have joined together rejecting the flawed biosecurity levy. They have issued the following statement:
The Australian Government announced a biosecurity levy in the 2018 budget due to be implemented this July that is significantly flawed.
As Australian industry participants we would like to formally register our deep concern regarding the proposed biosecurity levy and urge the Government to remove it from the 2019 Budget.
Industry welcomes the Government’s recognition on the need for an Industry Steering Committee to better inform Government on improving the proposed Biosecurity levy scheme design.
This announcement is acknowledgement the current proposal is flawed and fails to recognise the damage the levy would do to the competitiveness of the freight supply chain, key export industries and the cruise sector, as well as the higher costs for consumers.
While no announcement has been made regarding the membership of this Committee or its Terms of Reference, it is essential that participants represent all industry groups who form part of Australia’s biosecurity and that this Committee be given enough time to consider and present a workable proposal for the Government’s consideration.
To ensure the Committee has flexibility in developing a fair and equitable model, it is therefore imperative that this Biosecurity Levy be removed from the 2019 Budget to enable this work to be completed.
The protection of our natural and agricultural assets is vital to this country from both an environmental and financial perspective. The industries represented in this statement are part of Australia’s biosecurity system and take their roles seriously. Which is why we believe in impactful and informed solutions to strengthening Australia’s biosecurity system.
Industry’s main concerns with the process to date are:

  • The rushed nature of a tax designed without fully understanding the potential for far-reaching economic consequences.
  • Additional and unnecessary costs – particularly to Australia’s tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, mining, energy and construction industries.
  • Flow-on costs to consumers.
  • Confusion as to why a new biosecurity tax is required over and above the Australian Government’s biosecurity charges that are currently in place for sea-freight (extensively reviewed in 2015-16) and the passenger movement charge for the cruise sector.
  • That a biosecurity risk assessment and regulation impact statement has not been undertaken by the Australian Government to inform the development of the proposed biosecurity tax.
  • A lack of clarity on how the Australian Government would collect the proposed tax.
  • No guarantee that all revenue raised by the proposed new tax would be used to support Australian biosecurity measures.

We urge the Government to remove the proposed levy from the 2019 Budget and provide a genuine opportunity to industry to help design a fair and equitable model that improves Australia’s biosecurity ability.

Government study to boost freight supply chain

A company called iMOVE Australia is leading a new study that will be used to help drive efficiency improvements and cost reductions in the national freight and logistics supply chain.
The Australian Government appointed iMOVE Australia to conduct the analysis that will identify the data needed to improve operations, planning and investment decisions in the freight transport sector.
The study will also evaluate the freight sector’s contribution to the national economy.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack welcomed the freight study, saying it will also help to guide government and industry investment decisions and identify global examples of best practice.
“Importantly, the iMOVE Australia study will inform the government’s National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, which covers all freight modes,” Mr McCormack said.
“The study also reflects the need for freight data to be made more available and shared.
“This is one of the key industry priorities identified in both the industry-led Expert Panel Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities and the Government’s extensive consultation on the development of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.”
iMOVE Australia chairman Ian Murray AM said the study brought together significant expertise from the Australian Road Research Board, Deakin University, University of New South Wales and the University of Queensland, to work with his organisation.
“iMOVE forms an effective, neutral conduit between industry, academia and government and specialises in orchestrating studies into new technologies to enhance the movement of people and freight across Australia,” Mr Murray said.
“I welcome the ongoing support of the Australian Government, which has been a participant in iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre – the study’s lead organisation – since its inception in 2017, as well as an active contributor to the formation of centre prior to that.”
The study will run throughout December 2018 and January 2019 and is currently inviting input from industry and others.

Government, privacy and automated trucks

Addressing the privacy challenges of government access to information generated by automated vehicles and specific transport network technology is the subject of a discussion paper released by the National Transport Commission (NTC).
“Cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS) and automated vehicle technology are producing new data and information. We need to examine whether Australia’s current privacy and information access framework sufficiently covers this new data,” said NTC’s acting chief executive Dr Geoff Allan.
He said the technology included in these new systems might generate in-cabin image data, location and route data, and data from biometric or health sensors.
“Governments will need to access automated vehicle and C-ITS information for purposes including the safety regulation of automated vehicles, optimising road networks and enforcing road laws,” Dr Allan said. “However, government access to the type, breadth and depth of personal or sensitive information generated by C-ITS and automated vehicle technology presents a privacy challenge. We currently have different protections in place in different states and territories. We need to have an appropriate framework in place to protect Australians’ privacy.”
The NTC’s discussion paper identifies three categories of new privacy challenges, and outlines options to address these as they relate to automated vehicle and C-ITS technology. The paper’s scope is based on previous recommendations agreed by transport ministers. The paper does not examine private sector access to data.
Academics from the University of NSW have completed an independent legal research report to examine the application of Australia’s existing information access framework to inform the discussion paper.
The NTC invites submissions from information and privacy commissions, state and territory transport agencies, enforcement and justice agencies, industry, academics and individuals.
Submissions can be made online via the NTC’s website at ntc.gov.au/submissions. Submissions close on 22 November 2018, with recommendations due to Australian transport ministers in May 2019.
 

Cities report recommends elevating freight in planning

Will the North West Rail link carry freight? Photo courtesy of Transport for NSW.

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) says the report of the inquiry into the Australian Government’s role in the development of cities is an endorsement of its continuing efforts to have freight movement prioritised in the nation’s planning regimes.
“ALC particularly welcomes the inquiry’s recommendation that planning at all levels include freight access as a matter of priority,” said ALC chairman Philip Davies.
“Making sure that our planning regimes properly account for freight movement has been a long-standing policy objective for ALC.
“This includes ensuring a nationally consistent approach to corridor protection, and promoting land use planning that allows freight infrastructure to have the 24/7 operational flexibility it needs to meet a growing freight task.
“Many of the recommendations contained in the inquiry report can help to achieve these objectives, and promote safer and more efficient movement of freight through our supply chains.
“ALC also welcomes the inquiry’s recognition of the need for a national plan of settlement, so that our growing population is managed in a way that ensures our major cities remain functional and desirable places for Australians to live and work.
“Such an approach will be essential to address issues that are already having an effect on the safety and efficiency of our supply chains, particularly road congestion.
“We are pleased that the inquiry’s report has noted so many of the issues around planning and freight movement that were reflected in ALC’s own submission to the Inquiry, especially around the benefits of separating freight and passenger transport infrastructure.
“The release of this report is timely, coming as the Commonwealth Government continues working with other jurisdictions on the development of a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy.
“ALC encourages governments at all levels to give freight movement the priority it deserves in planning by incorporating these recommendations into their planning regimes.”
 

Australian exports reach record $400bn

Australia’s total goods and services exports have reached a record $401 billion for the first time, bolstered by strong export growth to China.
International Trade in Goods and Services data for 2017-18, released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, demonstrates the ongoing strength of Australia’s overall trade performance, reinforcing the Turnbull Government’s commitment to open trade and investment.
The figures confirm the value of Australian exports reached a new high of $401 billion in 2017-18, the first time annual exports have exceeded $400 billion. Australia’s annual trade surplus was $6.3 billion over the same period.
These record exports were fuelled by increased resources exports including LNG, coal and iron ore, while meat and wool exports also rose. Machinery, other manufactures and gold also increased over the past year.
Importantly, the data reveals Australian exports to China, our largest trading partner, grew by 11 per cent in 2017-18, exceeding the $100 billion mark for the first time to reach $105 billion, reflecting the benefits provided by the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
Australia’s exports to Japan rose by 16.4 per cent to $48.2 billion over 2017-18; exports to ASEAN countries grew by 16.1 per cent to $32.7 billion and exports to India grew 7 per cent to $16.1 billion.
The figures highlight Australia’s global reputation as a premier tourism and study destination, with a record 9 million overseas travellers visiting Australia in 2017-18, helping to generate more than $85 billion in services export income, a 4.5 per cent increase on the previous year.

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Port of Melbourne container truck queue

Victoria establishes a state freight authority

The Victorian Government has created a one-stop shop for Victoria’s freight industry, joining other states in having a state-based freight authority.
The Victorian Freight Plan, Delivering the Goods, established Freight Victoria as a dedicated, specialist freight division of Transport for Victoria.
Delivering the Goods aims to increase Victoria’s gross product by $40 billion by 2040 and shift more freight onto rail, developing new inland freight terminals and a new freight precinct adjacent to the Port of Melbourne.
It includes plans to deliver the $7.6 million allocated in the 2018/19 Victorian Budget for development of a business case for the Western Interstate Freight Terminal, the extension of the Mode Shift Incentive Scheme, investigations into an integrated logistics hub at the Melbourne Markets and Dynon Road, and the review into heavy vehicle driver training and licensing.
The plan builds on the government’s claimed $40 billion investment in major infrastructure projects, including the Murray Basin Rail Project, the Freight-Passenger Rail Separation Project, West Gate Tunnel, Port Rail Shuttle Network, and bridge strengthening and regional freight route upgrades.
Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said: “Industry has told us they want better coordination with government on the planning, management and delivery of Victoria’s freight and logistics network.”
“That’s why we have established Freight Victoria as a single point of contact, a one-stop-shop for primary producers, the freight and logistics industry and local government to contact for information and assistance.”

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