Budget must focus on Freight

Rudd Government’s first budget must focus on fixing our freight supply chains, says Ivan Backman, Chairman of the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) on behalf of our Transport and Logistics Industry.

“Free flowing freight connections are vital,” Backman says.

“Keeping Australia moving must be central to Tuesday’s budget.”

“The Transport and Logistics industry is encouraged by suggestions the mooted Building Australia Fund will be a centrepiece of the first Rudd/Swan Budget and waits expectantly to discover if this unprecedented potential is fulfilled.”

“Building Australia Fund is a positive idea that will invest in our nation for present and future generations,” he says.

“It is understood the proposed Building Australia Fund could devote anticipated budget surplus moneys into future infrastructure upgrades, including our roads, railways, ports, airports and intermodal facilities.”

“It is vital, however, that these funds, if delivered, are in addition to transport infrastructure funds already committed under AusLink 1 & 2 and that they focus on freeing up our freight links, both in urban and regional Australia,” Backman says.

“The Rudd Government has already made very positive moves on transport infrastructure, such as the establishment of Infrastructure Australia and the coordination of a National Transport Reform Agenda, which importantly includes bringing the states on board.”

“These moves have been strongly welcomed by Australia’s Transport and Logistics industries.”

“We now look forward to this being followed through in this week’s crucial budget with the funds necessary to underpin the transformation of our national freight links.”

“This budget must deliver for our freight supply chains, road, rail, air, shipping and intermodal, if this government is to be truly nation building in character,” Backman says.

“The ALC recently released a list of the Top 24 Supply Chain Blockages that are key to our future and must be addressed.

“I strongly encourage Mr Swan and Mr Rudd to act on these as the focus of their transport plan.”

ALC has worked with the broad spectrum of industry to identify these priorities, covering every aspect of the Supply Chain.

They fall within three broad categories of infrastructure upgrades, regulatory reforms or improved planning processes.

“There has never been a better time for action than with the current political alignment.”


  1. Resources Rail Network — Develop the rail network that is needed to serve a rapidly growing resources sector
  2. North-South Rail Network — Improve the service standards on the main North-South rail corridor to permit rail to a level at which rail will become the predominant mode for Melbourne—Brisbane traffic
  3. East—West Rail Network — Expand the capacity of the East—West rail network to ensure that future growth can be accommodated without a deterioration of service standards.
  4. Grain Networks — Clearly define the role of rail in the future carriage of grain exports and upgrade grain networks to ensure that this role can be performed efficiently.
  5. Shipping Channels — Ensure that shipping channels serving all major ports are capable of serving the vessels of the size needed to carry our international trade efficiently
  6. Short Haul Rail — Develop short haul rail routes linking urban IMTs and container ports to allow efficient rail operation, including where possible freight only tracks and provision for double-stacking.
  7. Rest Areas — Provide sufficient rest areas on all major highways to allow effective fatigue management while minimising any impact on the productivity of road haulage operations.
  8. B-Double & B-Triple Networks — Accelerate the definition and implementation of a national B-Triple network and ensure that the B-Double network is extended to allow access from all significant production facilities to major freight routes.


  1. Concessional Limits – Implement a programme of concessional limits for heavy road vehicles serving intermodal terminals to encourage the complementary use of road and rail modes.
  2. Open Access Regimes — Ensure that, wherever practical, all significant new transport infrastructure is subject to an open access regime, and develop improved regulatory processes to reduce the delays and costs to both access seekers and access providers.
  3. Streamline PPP Approvals — Develop streamlined PPP approval processes to facilitate private investment in transport infrastructure.
  4. Uniform Rail Standards — Implement nationally uniform technical and safety standards for rail operations.
  5. Road Pricing — Reform road pricing to facilitate the efficient use of road vehicles and appropriate allocation of the freight task between road and rail.
  6. High Productivity Vehicles — Reduce the regulatory barriers to the introduction of innovative high productivity vehicles.
  7. Over-dimension Vehicles — Adopt nationally consistent and less burdensome regulation to reduce the costs associated with the movement of over-dimension vehicles.
  8. Harmonise Fatigue Management — Harmonise legislative processes and regulatory arrangements associated with the implementation of the national fatigue management system.


  1. Identify IMT Sites — Identify the sites for strategic IMT development in all major cities and ensure that these sites are protected for future development.
  2. Protect Access Corridors — Define and protect the road and rail access corridors to all significant ports and strategic IMTs.
  3. Transport Plan — Build on and integrate the AusLink corridor strategies to provide a clear and comprehensive plan for transport infrastructure of national importance, including port access links. 4. Develop Comprehensive Strategies —
  4. Develop comprehensive freight and logistics strategies covering both rural and urban freight movements in all states.
  5. Fast Track Planning — Effectively implement in each State fast-track planning processes for transport infrastructure of strategic economic significance.
  6. Climate Change — Undertake a comprehensive national assessment of the effect of climate change on transport infrastructure and develop strategies for managing this effect to minimise the impact on infrastructure cost and reliability.
  7. Coastal Shipping— Develop coastal shipping plans to accommodate growth and efficiency
  8. Real Time Information — Capture accurate real time information for infrastructure and planning use

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