The National Australia Bank (NAB) has released its official sales report for the online retail sector, and there are signs of bad times.

Online retail has taken a dive: NAB report

The National Australia Bank (NAB) has released its official sales report for the online retail sector, and there are signs of bad times.
NAB chief economist Alan Oster said the report has a ‘very weak’ forecast for retailers.
The NAB’s cashless retail sales index is highly regarded as one of the more accurate reports when it comes to predicting the results of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) own findings on the nation’s economy.
Because it processes about 2 million cashless transactions per day, NAB has a wealth of data that allows it to report on retail spending behaviour to forecast sales trends. But if its newest report is right, a majority of those transactions are not going into retail sales.
The following months are also looking bleak, with Mr Oster further saying that “ABS retail trade will fall 0.5% a month-on-month basis, the weakest forecast in our series going back some half a decade”.
Retail leasing specialist Phillip Chapman, director of Lease1, commented: “Another weak result such as this is the last thing the retail sector needs, with a decade of record low inflation and margin compression, the industry needs to desperately find a savings in occupancy costs.”

The report

NAB is certain that there are a number of issues (both locally and abroad) that could be behind this downward trend. Among these included are costs in the housing market, low income growth among consumers, as well as competition from e-commerce (which NAB had reported on more positively in its March sales index for online retail). The NAB Online Retail Sales Index contracted -3.8% in April on a month-on-month (mom), seasonally adjusted (sa) basis. This follows an upwardly revised March result (+2.4%, was +1.7% mom, sa). While not of the same magnitude, the April result is consistent with the broader retail sales weakness it has identified in its Cashless Retail ABS forecast for April (-0.5%).
After a strong March, all eight online retail categories recorded a contraction in month-on-month sales growth, with the largest sales category, Homewares and appliances (-6.9% mom, sa), the second weakest in the month behind takeaway food (-8.6%). In year-on-year terms, five of the eight NAB Online Retail Sales Index categories were lower compared to April 2018. Department and variety stores remains the fastest growing category in year-on-year terms (26.1% y/y). Games and toys performed best, albeit contracting, in month-on-month terms (-0.2% mom, sa).
In month-on-month terms, all states and territories recorded a contraction in growth, led by Tasmania (-6.4%). The two largest online sales states, NSW (+0.5% yoy, sa) and Victoria (+1.6%), recorded considerably weak year-on-year growth in April.
At +0.7%, international online retailers performed better in month-on-month terms relative to domestic competitors (-4.4% mom, sa). However, in year-on-year terms, from the series, considerable weakness in international online sales remains.
The NAB estimates that in the 12 months to April, Australians spent $28.98 billion on online retail, a level that is close to around 9% of the traditional bricks and mortar retail sector (March 2019, Australian Bureau of Statistics), and about 17% higher than the 12 months to April 2018.

NAB chief economist Alan Oster commented:

“Our NAB Online retail sales index data indicates considerable weakness in online retail sales for April 2019. Online retail sales tend to be more volatile than broader retail, experiencing far greater monthly fluctuations. This month, both online retail and broader cashless retail series indicated very weak retail conditions. While year-on-year growth in online sales has also slowed considerably in recent months, these comparisons are made to a period of elevated sales in 2018, with major new merchants to Australia, and also pre-GST exemption effects.
“By category, department stores continued to lead year-on-year growth. In the month, all categories experienced a contraction in sales, with a drop in sales for Games and Toys the most mild. In month-on-month terms, Takeaway food (-8.6% mom, sa) was the worst performer. This result may indicate structural change in this sector given recent high profile exits and consolidation. The largest spending share category, homewares and appliances, recorded the second worst growth rate in the month, and also contracted in year-on-year terms. The Cashless retail indicator also pointed to weakness in this key retail sector in April. While department stores continue to record the strongest growth, this category has slowed from high double digits post the introduction of the GST on all goods in July 2018.
“Tasmania, with about 2% of online retail sales, was weakest in April, after leading growth in March. New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland represent over three quarters of the online market in Australia by sales value. Of these larger sales states, Queensland was strongest over the year.
“By merchant location, domestic online retailers continue to outpace their offshore counterparts, with international slowing in year-on-year terms. However, domestic retail sales contracted in the month, while their international counterparts recorded mild growth.
“It is worth noting here that our definition of a domestic online retailer can include those merchants whose parent organisation might be overseas with an Australian Subsidiary. Using GST as a key defining characteristic of domestic and international is no longer appropriate given changes made in July 2018,” Mr Oster said.

100% of Woolworths supermarkets now claim to be with an active food waste diversion partner.

Woolworths eliminates food waste from its supermarkets

In a bid to tackle the $20 billion food waste problem in Australia and its commitment to reduce food waste from going to landfill, Woolworths has announced that 100% of its supermarkets now have an active food waste diversion program in place.
From rescuing surplus fresh food and distributing it to hunger relief charity partners, donating stock feed to farmers or sending it for commercial organic composting, all Woolworths supermarkets nationwide now have at least one active food waste diversion partner in place.
With these programs in place,  Woolworths has recorded an average year-on-year reduction of 8 per cent in food waste sent to landfill over the past three years.
Woolworths head of sustainability Adrian Cullen said: “Food is meant to be eaten, not thrown – which is why together with our customers, our farmers and our community partners, we’re working to keep good food out of landfill.
“This is not a new journey for us – we’ve been working hard at this for the last decade and we are excited to hit a milestone ahead of World Environment Day that 100% of our stores now with a food waste diversion program in place.
“We heavily invested in our team members to ensure that they have the education, training, resources and equipment to better identify and divert surplus food that can no longer be sold away from landfill and toward the most beneficial stream – be it food rescue for hunger relief, farmer donations for animal feed or commercial composting.”
In the last year, Woolworths has diverted from landfill over 55,000 tonnes of food and enabled over 10 million meals to be delivered to Australians in need across the country.
Adrian Cullen said; “Working with our partners OzHarvest, Foodbank and Fareshare to feed Australian’s who would otherwise go hungry is our number one priority when it comes to diverting food from our stores,
“We then work with local farmers so that surplus food, which cannot go to hunger relief, is used as stock feed for animals or for on-farm composting. This helps us further reduce and re-purpose bakery and produce waste.”
To date over 750 farmers and community groups from around the country have joined the Woolworths Stock Feed for Farmers program and last year Australian farmers received more than 32,000 tonnes of surplus food from Woolworths that is no longer fit for human consumption.
Owner of Tasmania Zoo Rochelle Penney has been part of the Woolworths Stock Feed for Farmers program since the Zoo opened its doors 15 years ago.
Ms Penney said: “Our team collects several bins of unsold surplus fruit, vegetables and bakery products that are no longer suitable for sale, every day from our local Woolworths stores to supplement feed for our animals.
“With over 100 different species of animals, all with variable nutritional needs, the support we receive from Woolies through the Stock Feed for Farmers program is invaluable.
“The program is enriching the lives of our animals and providing them the experience to taste a wide variety of produce.
“Importantly, the savings we make through the program enable us to continue our important conservation and education work which includes breeding programs and caring for a number of critically endangered native and exotic species.”

Schneider Electric has successfully completed the digital transformation of its Pacific SMART distribution centre (DC) in Ingleburn.

The SMART Distribution Centre opens

Schneider Electric has successfully completed the digital transformation of its Pacific SMART distribution centre (DC) in Ingleburn. The SMART DC is layered with Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure technology, which drives end-to-end efficiency for the industrial environment, and also houses a control tower that is an innovative advance for supply chain management.
The SMART Ingleburn DC, is the largest in the Pacific and spread over 17,500m2, operating 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. It dispatches 5,000 lines over 70 routes (air and road) daily, servicing a total of 3,500 customers in Australia and New Zealand. The Digitisation of the SMART DC allows Schneider Electric to drive end-to-end efficiencies, bringing with it:

  • Agile management & Process Efficiency: Driving faster and better decisions from the teams to improve customer satisfaction and faster service
  • Asset Performance Management: Predictive analytics for reduced downtime and longer efficient operations
  • Empowered Operators: Access to real-time assets, data and innovative technology such as EcoStruxure Augmented Operator Advisor that allows increased efficiency in maintenance and processes and significant safety improvements
  • Energy Efficiency & Reliability: Reduced energy consumption through real-time insights delivered by EcoStruxure Resource Advisor and Facility Expert. This approach has shown potential savings of up to 30% energy savings.

The Ingleburn SMART DC hosts Schneider Electric’s Pacific Control Tower, a hub that improves supply chain visibility to detect and mitigate Supply Chain issues and interruptions to significantly improve predictability and reliability for customers.
“The innovative approach brings together in a single site logistics, customer care and personnel representing all our international and domestic transport carriers. This way information from global tracking dashboards can be openly and easily shared and discussed to quickly resolve queries and issues,” said zone president at Schneider Electric Gareth O’Reilly.
“The Control Tower approach has demonstrated a strong return on investment with a 65 percent reduction in time taken to resolve complaints.”
Smart DC and End to End Control Towers are central to Schneider Electric’s tailored, sustainable and connected (TSC) 4.0 strategy which aims to empower our teams, improve customer experience and end to end operational efficiencies.
Mr O’Reilly said: “We support our clients through the digitisation journey with our EcoStruxure IoT-enabled system architecture and platform. The Ingleburn Distribution Centre is an important player in our global network of Smart sites that showcases the EcoStruxure offerings to customers.”
The SMART DC uses EcoStruxure Power in order to better understand and reduce energy usage and EcoStruxure Machine and EcoStruxure Plant to help optimise assets and operational performance.

Specific products included:

  • PowerTags – wireless energy sensors that attach to circuit breakers and provide real-time electrical load data and e-mail alerts in the event of potential issues.
  • Easergy sensors – temperature and humidity sensors that automatically measure, monitor and control energy consumption and demand.
  • Facility Expert – cloud-based software and access to real-time performance data to optimise your facility operations, maintenance and energy management.
  • Resource Advisor – to aggregate all cross-enterprise, energy and sustainability information in a single, cloud-based platform and transform data into actionable insights to improve business operations.
  • Machine Advisor – a cloud-based services platform used to track machines in operation, monitor performance data and fix exceptional events.
  • Augmented Operator Advisor – a custom application that leverages augmented reality for instant diagnosis and contactless maintenance. This has the ability to potentially reduce maintenance and support costs by up to 50%.

The announcement of the SMART distribution centre (DC) comes in a week that Schneider also received a Gartner 2019 Industrial Manufacturing Supply Chainnovator award, ranked 11th in The Gartner Supply Chain Top 25 for 2019.
 

Online retail has jumped 24%: Australia Post

The number of Australians jumping online to shop continues to increase, with new research from Australia Post showing the total online spending in 2018 topped $27.5 billion, a 24 per cent increase for the year.
Australia Post has released its annual Inside Australian Online Shopping Report – an overview of Australia’s eCommerce market that provides key insights into who is shopping online, and what they’re buying.
It shows that Australians are embracing online shopping at an accelerated rate – with the online goods spending for 2018 reaching 10 per cent of total retail – two years faster than expected.
Australia Post general manager for parcels and express services Ben Franzi said the report also shows that 73 per cent of Australian households shopped online in 2018 – some 7.6 million Australian households.
“Australians are getting online more and more, and changing the face of shopping. With it, they are also expecting faster service and delivery – with next day deliveries growing by 31.7 per cent, with more than 62 per cent of these fashion-related purchases.”
Mr Franzi also said the way Australians are shopping online is also changing, with smartphones increasingly being the medium of choice.
“Use of the smartphone to make online purchases increased 28 per cent for the year – to now make up more than 26 per cent of all purchases. It now sits comfortably alongside the laptop (32.8 per cent) and desktop (27.3 per cent), both of which fell for the year.”
Fashion continues to be the leading category, accounting for more than a third (35 per cent) of all purchases, with more than 20 per cent growth year on year. Variety stores, health and beauty and homewares and appliances also attracted lots of online shoppers.
Marketplaces such as eBay and Etsy, together with newcomers Amazon, Catch Group, Kogan and Myer, continue to be popular.
“Australians appreciate the convenience that comes with being able to access goods from a variety of sellers in one place – it is quite literally a market, replicated online and providing an abundance of choice for consumers.”
The convenience of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) options such as AfterPay has also sparked joy for consumers, especially amongst  millennials – those born after 1981 – who have become the fastest adopters. Unlike a credit card there is no service fee for customers who pay on time.
When it comes to overall volumes, the November/December period was the busiest time of the year – as Australians sought to snag a bargain ahead of Christmas.
“The five weeks from 11 November to 15 December accounted for almost 15 per cent of all online purchases. The peak for this period was the Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales, which accounted for the biggest online shopping week in Australia’s history, recording growth of over 28 per cent, year-on-year.”
Cross-border e-commerce is also booming with New Zealand (29 per cent), China (15 per cent) and India (11 per cent) the leading purchasers of Australian goods online.  Fashion is the leading category, followed by health & beauty and baby products which are in demand, due to Australia’s great reputation for producing clean safe and premium-quality products.
The number one online buying location was once again Point Cook in Melbourne’s western suburbs, which topped the list for the fourth year in a row. The top twelve locations are again dominated by suburbs that have an influx of young families.
Top twelve online shopping locations by postcode:

  1. Point Cook VIC
  2. Toowoomba QLD
  3. Mackay QLD
  4. Liverpool NSW
  5. Cranbourne VIC
  6. Gosford NSW
  7. Hoppers Crossing VIC
  8. Campbelltown NSW
  9. Bundaberg QLD
  10. Wyong NSW
  11. Rouse Hill NSW
  12. Cairns QLD
An alliance of unions representing transport, farm and retail workers will work with one of Australia’s largest supermarket chains, Coles.

Unions, Coles unite to address exploitation in the industry

An alliance of unions representing transport, farm and retail workers will work with one of Australia’s largest supermarket chains, Coles, to address worker exploitation and risks to safety in the Australian fresh food industry.
Coles has committed to work with the Transport Workers’ Union, the Australian Workers’ Union and the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association to pursue safe and fair conditions for workers across its fresh produce and meat supply chains. The three unions will co-operate to organise transport, farm and retail workers to address worker exploitation and risks to health and safety. The move has been announced at TWU National Council in Cairns today.
It follows two agreements with the TWU last year that cover the Coles transport supply chain and delivery work in the on-demand economy. The agreement promotes transparency and end-to-end compliance with the Coles supply chains.
TWU national secretary Michael Kaine said: “Worker exploitation in any part of the Australian fresh food supply chain is not acceptable. Underpayment of wages and superannuation and unsafe working conditions must be addressed. Coles has been working with the TWU to ensure safety and fairness in road transport and it has shown its commitment to continue to work with its supply chains to ensure that all workers are treated in accordance with Australian workplace legislation.”
Coles head of quality and responsible sourcing James Whittaker said: “Coles is committed to the safety and fair treatment of all the workers in our supply chains, as per our Ethical Sourcing Policy and Supplier Requirements. Our local Australian suppliers and workers are critical to the provision of fresh, quality produce and meat to our customers. We have made significant progress in the past 10 years on our Ethical Sourcing journey, and now look forward to working with these three unions.”
AWU national secretary Daniel Walton said: “Workers in the fresh food industry can be vulnerable and we look forward to  working with Coles and the TWU and SDA to protect the rights of these workers.”
SDA national secretary Gerard Dwyer said: “Workers in retail stores and retail warehouses currently enjoy protections under union-negotiated Enterprise Agreements. We want to ensure all workers in the fresh food industry are aware of their rights and have the power to exercise those rights. This alliance will mean more workers can be reached in the supply chain to ensure their voices are heard and the exploitation stops.’
This work with Coles is part of an ongoing program of engagement with Australian retailers to pursue safe and fair conditions throughout the supply chain and the announcement last year by the TWU and SDA of an Online Retail and Delivery Alliance to organise workers in Amazon.
A Fair Work Ombudsman inquiry last November highlighted the need for compliance and accountability throughout the fresh produce and meat processing supply chains. Inspectors recovered more than $1 million in unpaid wages for over 2,500 workers.

Close-up Of A Business Woman Giving Cheque To Her Colleague At Workplace In Office

‘Tug of war’ erupts over logistics salaries

More logistics professionals will receive a pay rise this year than last, but it will be a less significant increase than they hoped for.
According to the FY 2019/20 Hays Salary Guide, 92% of employers will increase their transport and distribution staff salaries in their next review, up from 83% who did so in their last review.
However, the value of these increases will fall. 71% intend to raise salaries at the lower level of 3% or less, up from 63% who did so in their last review. At the other end of the scale, just 3% of employers intend to grant pay increases of more than 6%.
Professionals prioritise a salary increase
For their part, 26% of the transport and distribution professionals Hays also spoke to expect no increase whatsoever and a further 48% expect 3% or less. Yet while these professionals anticipate little or no increase, they’re not going to sit idly by and accept it.
In fact, more than half (57%) say a salary increase is their number one career priority this year. 46% intend to achieve this by asking for a pay rise, while others are looking elsewhere – 41% of jobseekers say their uncompetitive salary provoked their job search.
“Tug of war over salaries”
“Evidently, the aggregate effect of several years of sedate salary increases is taking its toll and we’re now seeing a tug of war over salaries,” said managing director of Hays Logistics Tim James.
“On the one hand, we have professionals telling us they’ve prioritised a pay rise and are prepared to enter the job market to improve their earnings. On the other, employers tell us they want to add to their headcount and are being impacted by skill shortages, yet they want to curtail salary increases.
“There are only a few exceptions. The recovery of the senior supply chain market led to demand for supply chain managers and, in turn, mid-tier demand and supply planners. In some states, salaries have increased in response to this demand.
“Tasmania’s positive economic climate led to a surge in interstate and international exports. Looking ahead, salaries are expected to increase in the state for multi-combination drivers and warehouse supervisors, who remain in short supply.
“While salaries for warehousing roles remain steady in smaller organisations nationally, larger companies are offering salaries over $90,000 for highly skilled and experienced candidates, especially those with safety qualifications and experience.
“In addition, in New South Wales and Victoria, higher vacancy activity has significantly drained the available pool of candidates and created a war for talent. As a result, employers in these states have begun to offer higher salaries for senior warehouse supervisors, operations managers, transport managers and fleet managers and controllers.”
In other key findings, the 2019/20 Hays Salary Guide found:

  • 67% of organisations offer flexible salary packaging. Of these, the most common benefit is salary sacrifice, offered by 55% of employers to all employees. This is followed by above mandatory superannuation (offered by 37% of employers to all their employees), parking (33%), bonuses (27%) and private health insurance (26%).
  • Of the benefits offered to a select few employees, private expenses tops the list, with 70% of employers offering it to a hand-picked number of employees.
  • 68% of employers said business activity had increased over the past year, with 70% expecting it to increase in the next 12 months.
  • 57% intend to increase permanent distribution staff levels over the coming year.
  • 70% say skill shortages will impact the effective operation of their business or department in either a significant (28%) or minor (42%) way, up from 67% last year.
  • 54% of employers are restructuring to keep up with changing business needs – the key driver of these restructures is a change in the required skill sets.
  • In skill-short areas, 57% of employers would consider employing or sponsoring a qualified overseas candidate.
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

uber freight intelligent trucks boost from sap

Uber Freight gets the SAP boost

SAP and Uber Freight have announced a partnership to modernise the freight industry through intelligent process automation and better access to a network of connected and reliable drivers.
The integration of Uber Freight into SAP Logistics Business Network will let customers access rates from Uber’s digitally activated carrier network and gain real-time quotes and guaranteed freight capacity, greatly simplifying load management and execution.
“Finding and booking freight can be the most expensive and often the most complex piece of the supply chain,” said president of SAP Digital Supply Chain Hala Zeine. “This combination will remove roadblocks and offer a simpler, more automated approach that streamlines operations, delivers tangible cost savings and ultimately creates a better customer experience. Adding Uber Freight to our SAP Logistics Business Network will help our customers optimise their logistics and put their customers at the heart of their digital supply chain.”
SAP Logistics Business Network, built on SAP Cloud Platform and the SAP HANA business data platform, expands transportation management to enable shippers, freight forwarders, carriers and other logistics partners to easily onboard, collaborate, exchange logistics information and share insights. With this Uber Freight integration, shippers and carriers can work together using tools that bypass traditional roadblocks, enabling shippers to select from a much broader carrier base and perform real-time pricing of shipments, while gaining improved utilisation and efficiency.
“For the world’s biggest shippers, an efficient, digitalised supply chain is critical to their success,” said senior director at Uber Freight Bill Driegert. “Uber Freight is partnering with SAP to bring shippers and carriers together at the level where freight decisions are made. This tech-forward approach to freight means shippers can spend less time sourcing quotes and capacity and more time getting goods to market.”

The value of a networked approach

With this partnership, SAP and Uber Freight will work to connect both sides of the freight marketplace, increasing visibility and transparency for all players. These efforts will support easier and faster decision-making based on real-time pricing for shippers and carriers, empowering organisations to maximise daily work time and make more informed decisions about their operations.

rail freight priority container being lifted by forklift

Freight groups put forward election priorities

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) and the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) have released their priorities for Australia’s freight logistics industry ahead of the federal election.

Australian Logistics Council

Freight: Delivering Opportunity For Australia identifies 39 priority actions for the incoming Federal Government to pursue that address challenges and opportunities relevant to all modes of freight transport.
“The priorities ALC is releasing have been identified by industry participants as critical to improving the efficiency and safety of Australia’s supply chains, and meeting a growing freight task,” said ALC CEO Kirk Coningham.
“With our industry having received a bipartisan commitment to finalise the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, the first priority for whichever party wins on 18 May must be to work with state and territory governments to finalise and implement action plans that will ensure the strategy delivers for industry.
“In that context, the priorities ALC is now putting forward will help to bolster the effectiveness of that strategy by addressing some of the long-term infrastructure, investment and regulatory issues that act as an impediment to a seamless national freight network.
“Enhanced supply chain performance is not a niche issue. Every individual Australian relies on freight every day, no matter where they live. If we are going to meet the challenges that arise from a growing population and changing consumer expectations around rapid delivery, it will be necessary to implement the sorts of reforms ALC has set out.
“The priorities that ALC has identified touch on a range of issues, including a more consistent national approach to planning and investing in freight infrastructure, enhancing the productivity of our road and rail networks through regulatory reform and strengthening our export performance through enhanced freight infrastructure in Northern Australia.
“There are also suggestions for improving the industry’s environmental performance by encouraging uptake of electric freight vehicles, ensuring the industry is able to access data that will allow more effective monitoring and measurement of supply chain performance, improving the wider community’s understanding of this industry and enhancing its ability to interact safely with freight vehicles.
“While many of these reforms will be challenging, they are absolutely essential to securing Australia’s continued economic success and creating more liveable communities.
“Although this reform agenda must be led by whichever party forms government, success will ultimately depend on cooperation and collaboration with all members of the 46th Parliament. It is important that all parliamentarians recognise that responsibility, whatever their political stripe.
“To that end, ALC will seek to work closely with all political parties in the next Parliament to secure these policy reforms, and implement a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy that allows this industry to keep delivering for all Australians.”

Australasian Railway Association

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has also released its priorities policy development paper for the 2019 federal election.
Titled Rail: Creating Vibrant Cities, Thriving Regions and a Connected Nation, the paper sets out key transport infrastructure challenges facing the Australian government and offers practical, affordable and achievable policy solutions where rail can play a key role.
“As our cities continue to grow and our freight task increases the pressure on our existing infrastructure network also increases,” said ARA CEO Danny Broad.
“Avoiding and reducing congestion is one of the biggest benefits that can be achieved by moving passengers and freight onto properly planned and funded rail solutions, integrated with other transport modes.”
The ARA’s five priorities are:

  1. Making cities liveable: the Australian government must continue to increase funding of urban passenger and freight rail projects which are essential to reduce road congestion, improve quality of life and increase productivity.

“With increasing support from both main political parties for passenger and freight rail projects, we look forward to this continuing and urge against stop start approaches to rail infrastructure funding.”

  1. Connecting our regions: the Australian government must plan and resource inter-regional fast rail projects and east coast high speed rail through a national planning agency.

“Pleasingly, both major political parties now support the establishment of a national planning agency to underpin their respective visions for inter-city rail connectivity, examine funding options and acquire the sought-after corridors.”

  1. Supporting employment: Skilled labour shortages threaten the delivery and cost effectiveness of new and existing rail infrastructure projects. The Australian government needs to lead the response to critical rail skills shortages by formalising a high level taskforce to lead reforms, build partnerships and implement expert recommendations to deliver fit-for-purpose education and training.

“If we are to reap the benefits of rail, industry and government need to make the necessary reforms together and increase investment in fit-for-purpose education and training.”

  1. Strengthening our economy: We need safer, more sustainable and efficient ways to move freight by rail. The Australian government needs to implement the national freight and supply chain strategy and incentivise jurisdictions to support its delivery. The ARA urges continued funding and political support of the Inland Rail project to ensure its timely delivery.

“The government also needs to level the playing field between road and rail. We need independent price regulation of heavy vehicles and mode neutral policies. Freight rail operators, charged at full market rates to access infrastructure have endeavoured to compete with heavy vehicles that access publicly subsidised roads.”

  1. National coordination to support industry: Rail contributes $26 billion to the national economy, while employing thousands of Australians in many small to medium size enterprises. However, its efforts are dissipated by fragmented approaches to investment, procurement, construction and regulation across eight different jurisdictions.

“Strong industries don’t develop by chance. The Australian government must lead the development of a national rail industry plan to achieve a coherent national approach to rail, covering procurement, local content, manufacturing, innovation and research, and harmonisation of standards.”
“We look forward to working with government to realise the full national benefits of these rail policies,” Mr Broad concluded.

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