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How will the Government deliver on its freight strategy?

March 15, 2018

Last week in Sydney, more than 280 industry leaders, policy-makers and professionals representing all sections of the nation’s freight and logistics supply chain attended the ALC (Australian Logistics Council) 2018 Forum.

Attendees witnessed the first public speech by new Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, who also holds the Infrastructure and Transport portfolio, taking over the reins from Barnaby Joyce.

The audience heard also from the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, Anthony Albanese MP; and the NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey MP. Attendees were also given first-hand insights from three members of the expert panel advising the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities.

The Inquiry will inform the development of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, which will determine how to best lift the productivity and efficiency of Australia’s freight supply chain. The inquiry is being led by the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities assisted by Infrastructure Australia and the expert panel appointed.

Last year in May, the Department released the Discussion Paper for the inquiry, and called on interested parties to make submissions, which closed at the end of July. The Department is now analysing the responses, together with comments received from meetings with key stakeholders, and the strategy is due for release in November this year.

Core challenge

The ALC reported that a clear outcome of this year’s Forum was that the core challenge for industry is to move beyond examining what the Strategy needs to contain, and consider the more complex issue of how to ensure it delivers the right outcomes for our industry and economy.

Over the two-day event, Forum delegates identified several opportunities to ensure the ultimate effectiveness of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy. These included:

Removing legislative and regulatory barriers that needlessly prevent opportunities for data-sharing that can enhance the efficiency, safety and visibility of our supply chains, while still protecting commercial and user privacy;

Promoting far greater use of technology to improve safety and efficiency across all modes of freight transport;

Continuing to encourage governments at all levels to ensure planning systems properly account for freight movement, particularly in CBD and inner-urban areas;

Encouraging the collection of more and better data about freight movement, to help guide investment decisions about freight infrastructure and more effectively measure the performance of our freight networks;

Ensuring regulatory frameworks are being prepared now to account for technological evolution, including the introduction of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) and more widespread use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) within the industry; and

Continuing consultation

Recognising that the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy can only succeed with active cooperation from industry and all tiers of government, which will require continuing industry consultation and involvement in its ongoing development.

ALC says it will use the priorities identified above as the basis of its advocacy program over the months ahead, and continue working with industry, regulators and governments at all levels to ensure the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy delivers the policy reforms needed to enhance supply chain efficiency and safety.

The best way to check on the progress of National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy and other important industry-specific developments is by subscribing to the CoR Adviser.

Chain of Responsibility (CoR) affects all parties in the heavy vehicle transport supply chain and not knowing your responsibilities within your own company and to others in the supply chain can end in heavy financial penalties.

Don’t be left in the dark, especially as significant changes to CoR laws will be taking place in the second half of this year.

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